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Pictures Aren't Soldiers - They Don't Have To Be In A Straight Line

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When faced with a wall, a number of pictures to hang on it, and an anxious client, there is one conversation we’re bound to have. And that’s whether we’re going to hang all the pictures with the top level.

Now, some time ago, we watched an episode of ‘The Renovators’ reality TV show. In it, the contestants had to hang several differently sized pictures on a wall, and the winning criteria were that they were all perfectly level on the top, and equidistant apart.

Wrong, wrong, wrong! In our humble (but expert) opinion the result looked truly dismal.

Pictures aren’t soldiers on parade, they have personalities and looks all their own. Forcing them to abide by a rigid rule just doesn’t work.

So what does?

  • Well, if you have a set that’s been created as a single picture (ie a diptych or triptych) it’s a no-brainer: hang them level. Just check they’re the same size first – it’s not always guaranteed. You might need a bit of rule-breaking here.
  • If you have independent pieces, which are the same size, have a common theme, and the same framing, i.e. they’re a set - hang them level.

But…if you have a mixed bag of pictures, they can go up and down! Here are some tips:

  • As a very general rule of thumb, find the centre of each, and line up the centres. There are exceptions to this, but we’re talking about pictures roughly the same size here, not a metre high picture alongside a 20cm one!
  • When pictures are almost-but-not-quite the same height, it’s a bit trickier. When they’re large especially, we do like to match the tops; otherwise, the small difference just looks like someone made a mistake with a calculator.
  • When you have one large and two small pictures, pop the two smalls one above the other, and effectively treat them as one picture beside the larger single.

So that’s a few aspects of the top of the pictures question dealt with. As to the next question of whether we hang those pictures in line with the doorframe, the curtain rod or the bookshelf...the answer to that comprises a whole other topic!

In the meantime, if you’re still unsure how to judge what looks really right, talk to Rob at Right Hook picture hanging.

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Mike McClughan

Right Hook Picture Hanging

Based on the Sunshine Coast, we are picture hanging specialists. But we don't just hang pictures, we can hang almost anything on a wall... rugs, murals, artefacts, sporting memorabilia, mirrors etc. We can do anything from a collection of pictures, to heavy items, to large pieces, to an entire gallery collection. No picture hanging job is too small, or big, so just ask!

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