Apartment Therapy commenters can be an opinionated bunch, not hesitant to call homeowners out on perceived infractions. One of the worst offenses? Being a 'high hanger' — that is, mounting all your art so high on the wall that a person of normal height would have to crane their neck to look at it. But what about being a low hanger? Lately I've spotted quite a few rooms with art displayed just a few feet off the floor.
In the room above (from House to Home), two pieces of art rest on a low ledge below a fireplace, with the wall above left completely bare. Except for the oversized floor lamps, everything in the room hugs the floor. Even though there's a lot going on, the overall effect is very peaceful, almost minimal, thanks to the expanse of white wall. It's like in graphic design, where judicious use of negative space can make the rest of the elements on the page really pop. The empty space in the room provides a place for the eye to rest, and the overall effect is very pleasing and balanced.
Here's another interior (from Expressen, via Design Attractor) with a similar look. This works best with a long, low console or ledge — as you might be able to imagine, hanging multiple pieces of art two feet above the floor could look kind of silly. The advantage of having pieces resting on furniture, and not actually hung on the wall, is that you can switch them out whenever you like.
In Vanessa Bruno's Paris home, spotted on The Style Files, a long ledge hung close to the ground holds photos, frames and curious. A single picture protrudes above to break up negative space, but other than that the rest of the furnishings hang low, contributing to a feeling of spaciousness.
And just as strong vertical elements can make a room seem taller, strong horizonal elements (like the wall-mounted console in this room from Artilleriet, via A Merry Mishap) can make a room seem wider. So there's a double advantage to the low-slung art — the extra negative space gives the eye a room to rest, while the console or ledge that the art rests upon makes the room seem bigger. I'd love to see this applied in a small space. It's a win-win.
(Images: as linked above)