Displaying art at home has been a growing trend globally, and this includes Singapore. The appreciation for art and the desire to create personalized and aesthetically pleasing living spaces have led many homeowners to invest in and display artwork in their homes.
Singapore, in particular, has an increasingly vibrant arts and culture scene, and there is a growing appreciation for local and international artists.
That has made the integration of art into interior design has become a popular trend. While some homeowners display art at home as a means to express their personality and individual style, some homeowners view art as an investment and choose to collect pieces that may appreciate in value over time.
Hanging Art on Walls at Home
Hanging art specifically refers to mounting or suspending artworks on walls. It typically involves using picture hooks, nails, or other wall-mounting hardware to affix the artwork to the wall.
This method is commonly used for framed paintings, prints, photographs, and other wall-mounted art pieces.
There are some factors to consider when hanging art, especially when there are pieces of furniture around it.
1. Weight of the Art & Frame
When displaying a particularly heavy piece of artwork that has been framed, double-check that the nails or wall hooks you’re using can take the load. You do not want an expensive painting to come crashing down on the floor.
Hire a professional art hanger
Alternatively, hire a professional art hanger who knows the best materials and methods for hanging art based on its size and weight – a worthy investment if the artwork is expensive.
2. Art creates a focal point
When positioned over a sofa or bed, a large painting can frame the furniture beautifully, pulling together the look and creating a focal point. Elsewhere, its statement-making power jazzes up empty walls.
3. Keep art away from sunlight
If preserving the artwork is a priority, keep it away from direct sunlight. Constant exposure can fade the pigments over time. For added protection, consider investing in a frame with museum glass that filters out UV rays.
Do not hang art near the aircon
It is best to avoid hanging artworks under air-conditioning units, which may leak and cause serious damage!
4. Hang art above sofa
For art hung above your sofa, make sure that the artwork “easily clears the heads of those seated, so guests will feel comfortable enough to lean back and relax without fear of hitting the frame,” says Alexandra Mytton-Mills, the creative director of frame shop The Frame Society.
5. Hang art around 1.65 metres from floor
She adds: “Artworks are usually hung at eye level, which is between 1.6m and 1.65m from the floor to the middle of the artwork. This increases the maximum visual enjoyment you get from the piece, without having to tilt your head to look up at it.
6. Hang art at eye level
“[Your artwork’s hanging height], however, can be adjusted if you want to create a more intimate area with lower seating, for example, so that the art really becomes part of the space.”
According to art collector and interior designer Alvin Kwan of Homme Space, the centre of the artwork should be at eye level and working out where to place the hook requires some calculations.
How to calculate hanging painting height
Measure the painting’s height and divide it by two. Add this to the height of your eye level (about 150cm to 160cm) to know where the top of the frame should be.
Next, pull the wire at the back of the painting taut and measure the distance from the wire to the top of the painting. Subtract that from the point of the top of the frame and mark it on the wall to place the hook.
7. Hooks for hanging art
You can use hammer-in picture hooks or temporary stick-on hooks (works best on non-porous and smooth walls) for lightweight and inexpensive paintings, but more substantial art should be secured well.
“The most commonly used method to hang heavy frames on concrete walls is the drill-and-screw method,” says Magnum Choy, creative director of Talent Arts Gallery & Frame Makers.
“This method can hold more than 20kg.” For gypsum walls, he suggests using butterfly hooks. These are designed to “open up” within the partition wall to add more surface-area support. You could engage framing specialists to install the art piece for you as well.
Displaying Art at Home
When it comes to displaying art, some rules are timeless. Artworks should relate to wall size and furniture size and not overwhelm the room.
Choose a wall where the piece(s) will have maximum impact – over a sofa or bed, along a hallway, above a sideboard and so on. But do not overlook other less obvious locations.
Art collector and interior designer Alvin Kwan of Homme Space has so much art, he had to be creative when looking for wall space. “I hang my artworks under the stairs, on the ceiling and in the kitchen.”
1. Choose your art frame
Ready-made frames of standard sizes are inexpensive, but don’t preserve artwork as they are not airtight. Chances are that they come with an MDF backing board, which can leech acids into your artwork.
Custom made art frames
Custom framing allows you to choose the style, colour and thickness of the frame, and preserves the art much longer. Within the frame is the matboard, a coloured cardboard bordering the art.
It prevents buckling caused by the weight of the artwork, and it keeps the glass away from the artwork’s surface. This prevents condensation from damaging the artwork.
UV Plexiglass for art frames
You can choose UV-filtering plexiglass to prevent UV-rays from destroying ink pigments.
2. Hang art against white or grey walls
According to Dr Pwee Keng Hock of Utterly Art, and John Erdos of John Erdos Gallery, neutral wall colours such as white and grey are safe choices to display your pieces on. Bold colours such as black, red or blue can create an interesting contrasts for wall art, too.
3. Art spotlights
Use a spotlight with a dimmer to light the canvases. It’s not necessary to flood the whole piece with light; focussing on just one part of the work can create an artistic approach.
Choose halogen bulbs for art lights
Fluorescent lighting is even, but appears cold. Opt for halogen bulbs, which project a warmer light tone – especially when lighting photographs.
4. Traditional photo frames arrangement
If you’ve got a collection of family photos, prints and art in different sizes, an assortment of frames and the big challenge of organising it all. So, how do you make sure visual chaos doesn’t ensue?
For thick and thin wooden art or photo frames of different sizes, arrange them on the wall in an unrestricted and free format. This freestyle format of arranging photo frames or art frames is commonly found in family homes – and you have space and format to allow your collection to grow.
You can use frames with different designs, as long as they are somewhat similar (same profiles, shape, colour tones etc.).
5. Contemporary art frames arrangement
For a modern and much more contemporary look and feel, stick to a structured grid arrangement, with matching frames. Further unify them with photos, art works, or poster and prints of the same size, and even same colour.
7. Eclectic art frame wall arrangement
For an impactful wall full of family photos, art, posters, or print, go for a fusion photos, paintings, and graphics to create an intriguing and eclectic look and feel. You can even try hanging them up in a random pattern with various frames.
Just remember to balance the overall wall’s size and scale.
8. Maximalist art display
There are two main camps when it comes to displaying art in the home: minimalist and maximalist.
Homeowners and avid art collectors, Vishrut and Priya Jain, belong to the latter camp of maximalist art display and collectors. Their Balinese-style double storey house is the antithesis of white cubes of space. In fact, there are very few white walls – most are either panelled, painted, or cement-screed.
As avid art collectors for the past 15 years, the couple has amassed an impressive and eclectic collection of “antique as well as contemporary or cutting-edge art.”
A massive Turkish textile more than a 100 years old and an even older Romanian prayer rug share the space comfortably with abstract work by Balinese and Indian artists.
Colour group your artworks at home
“We placed our collection around key sitting areas in a way that the colours and stories of a group of artwork and furniture are seamlessly harmonised,” says Vishrut.
Place sculptures on pedestals
Place sculptures, religious objects, and 3D art on pedestals where it can be seen from all sides to enhance the piece’s spatial presence.
9. Display art on wall ledge
A great way to display a mixture of prints and photographs, put up a shallow wall shelf to line up paintings and framed photographs.
You don’t have to commit to one fixed composition and your walls will be unscarred as well (if you just mount the wall shelf on with 3M tapes!).
10. Display art in dining room
Dining rooms are a different ball game, as most artwork is viewed from a sitting position. Take measurements so that the pieces can be viewed comfortably when people are seated around the dining table.
11. Display art in kids’ bedroom
The fridge is not the default gallery space for your children’s artworks! Give your little artist some wall space in her own room.
Find creative ways to display their masterpieces! If you don’t want to frame them up, clip them to a cable mount to so you can change them about easily.
12. Display art along the staircase
The stairwell makes for an effective gallery as the increasing height of the walls lends this space well to diagonal displays and multiple paintings. You can even display art in frames of varying sizes.