If You’re Feeling Stuck in an Artwork Rut, Try Hanging Your Artwork This Way

updated Mar 31, 2023
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Displaying artwork that’s one-of-a-kind or specific to your style is a great way to make any house become a home — in other words, to make a space feel lived-in, character-filled, and yours. Selecting pieces that look good together and with your furniture is a (fun) challenge in itself, but then comes the issue of actually arranging the art on the wall.

Gallery walls are eternally popular and create an eclectic, collected look, but it’s also possible to create the same quirky, character-filled, and layered appearance with just one piece of art. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at Charleston-based painter Laura Dargan’s art-filled home, which she owns with her husband, Timothy.

The couple’s living room does feature a gallery wall filled with original works (as pictured above), which Dargan says are her biggest indulgence in the house. The artwork hanging across the room though? It’s also a painting by Dargan — a massive 60-inch by 72-inch lavender, blue, and mint acrylic and ink work titled “Perfect Illusion,” hung so that it extends down about a foot beneath the console table it’s placed behind. The perfect one-and-done, large-scale complement to said gallery wall arrangement, the way this painting is hung, as shown directly below, is almost as striking as the piece itself.

The piece’s unique composition plays with proportions and the notion of hanging things at eye level, almost making the silhouette of the console part of the artwork itself. “For this particular painting, I wanted the scale of the piece to catch your eye but not feel overwhelming for the space,” Dargan says. “Placing the painting lower than the table allows both pieces to melt together as if they were one.”

According to Dargan, there are no hard and fast rules for hanging art, but “it should make sense to the eyes.” In this room, which has elongated walls and tall ceilings, “leaving the space above the large painting blank was not an option,” she says. “It felt like wasted space and made that side of the room feel small.” Dargan didn’t want to overload the space, so she chose to pair “Perfect Illusion” with a smaller painting that has a more minimal palette (also her work) and hung it just about as close to the ceiling as possible. This brings the eyes up without commanding attention away from the larger painting. 

So, when it comes to hanging art, don’t be afraid to go high or low, and don’t feel like you have to play by the rules when it comes to height, eye level, and proportions to add a bit more visual interest your space. For even more art hanging inspiration, check out the rest of Laura Dargan’s eclectic home.