Art Arrangements That Break All the Rules (But Still Work)

Art Arrangements That Break All the Rules (But Still Work)

Katie Holdefehr
Aug 18, 2016
(Image credit: Dwell)

We're often asked for the design rules of hanging artwork—and "Center 57" is an easy guideline to follow if you want to get it right. It advises hanging art so that the center of each piece is 57 inches from the floor, ensuring that it's about eye-level for most people. However, some design rules are meant to broken. Here are seven spaces with bold arrangements that defy everything you've ever heard about hanging art—yet somehow still get it right.

Now this is a gallery wall. Fill up every inch of space, including around the doorframe, as shown in the image above by Felix Forest, found on Avenue Lifestyle. Neutral colors and simple frames prevent the arrangement from overwhelming the room.

Here at Apartment Therapy, we've covered how to layer a room for maximum style and coziness—but how about layering your art? During a studio tour of Nadia Geller Designs in L.A., we spotted this wall of overlapping art, which turns multiple pieces into a giant curated collage. Try this at home by attaching a length of sturdy cord to each frame and hanging them from a ledge secured to the wall.

Line up the top edges of pieces of varying lengths, as Australian designer Rob Mills did in this room featured on Desire to Inspire.

Tuck an arrangement in an unexpected spot, such as under the stairs. Traditionally, gallery walls form a loose rectangle or a square, but the triangular one above, shot by Yellows Photography for Elle Decoration, matches the shape of the alcove. The takeaway: Don't be afraid to play with the shape of an arrangement to find one that fits your space.

(Image credit: Dwell)

In his 646-square-foot apartment in Berlin featured in Dwell, designer Peter Fehrentz uses a popular small-space trick to maximize his art collection: Make use of vertical space. Start building the arrangement in the center, making sure that your favorite pieces are easily visible at eye level, then build up to the ceiling and down to the floor.

This one's for the more daring home decorators: Take layering to the next level by placing a favorite piece in front of a bookcase or built-in shelves. We spotted this arrangement in a Santa Monica home designed by Carla Lane, featured on My Domaine.

(Image credit: Nate Berkus)

Covering an entire wall in art and layering it behind a couch lets your collection act as wallpaper. The library above was designed by Nate Berkus, but you can try the same look on a smaller scale in your own home. This trick could be used to turn art into a headboard, as well.

In need of some more art to create these stylish arrangements? Visit antique stores and flea markets, and check out our list of Favorite Sources for Affordable Art.

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