So you’ve done the legwork, you’ve trawled the galleries, show rooms and art fairs to find that perfect statement piece or cluster of images. The initial high can quickly be quashed when it comes to hanging. Something seemingly so easy can host a whole conundrum of quandaries: How high shall I hang? Shall I arrange it with other pieces or separately? How can I fix it to the wall securely?


To ease your worries we’ve asked Gallery Technician and hanger extraordinaire Molly Hughes-Hallett to give some industry insights to help you hang like a pro. Molly has completed a BA in Art History and a B.F.A in painting and sculpture at Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Qualifications aside, she has also hung for the Saatchi Gallery, the Royal Academy, Marylebone Hotel, countless art fairs, and in both the Soho-based galleries she works at. We couldn’t think of someone more qualified to help your turn your own home into a beautifully curated gallery!



If you have more than one piece you want to hang, or a collective, how do you even start?

The first thing you do is lay them out on the floor in front of you; you then survey the space and work out how many you want and can then work out the space between them.

You can also view how they will interact with each other. If you have 2 portraits you can think how they will interact with each other and you should also take into account the frame.

Do you want them to have a certain dialogue or relationship or do you want to hang them separately? Even by placing them separately you have created interaction that way Molly Hughes-Hallett




What about if all my pieces are very different?

So you have to think about style, colour and theme. Then think about what you want to say by putting them together – if it’s a cluster. For instance – we had a very modern exhibition that all had identical frames and they were all exactly the same creating a strip around the room. So we had this continuation of the same uniform pieces which worked.

Verses a salon hang; which would be lots of paintings clustered – like those busy rooms at the RA summer exhibitions rooms. A salon hang is an overload of images and if you have loads of bitty art with different styles it can look quite good.



Do you have any generic guidelines you stick to?

Centre line is the Centre of the painting – that roughly works out the middle of your eyeline. It also applies for when you’re painting a painting you should always have your vision smack in the middle because then you aren’t looking at your painting at an angle so your painting isn’t going to be compromised.

In most galleries in the UK, they hang at the centre point of 160 – that’s quite high because my boss is quite tall. In American galleries they stick to a more 150 centre point Molly Hughes-Hallett

If it’s just one picture on the wall it’s fine, but then you have to consider – are you putting it above the fireplace? Are you putting it with another painting below it? Where does the centre line have to be on that?

Any simple tips people tend to fall short on?

When hanging in a bathroom or kitchen. Don’t hang a bare painting above, say, the sink. Always have something which is glazed; a piece of Perspex of piece of glass. Easier if you never hang in a bathroom – you never know what moisture will do to a work.

Even if you think you’re not splashing it the moisture will get under the glass and affect the paper. It tends to be the same with the kitchen, just have a glazed picture.

Never put watercolours, photographs or any works on paper in direct sunlight because the sunlight will fade the work and yellow it Molly Hughes-Hallett


Do you have a particular technique or tools you use?

It depends on the weight and it depends on the type of wall – so if it’s a permanent concrete wall it might be harder to hammer into. If it’s a dry wall it’s easy, but then if it’s a heavy piece it could potentially tear the dry wall, it’s not really an issue as much.

It also all depends on the weight. If it’s something small just use a pin to hammer it in. There are these white plastic j-hooks with a small pin – those are ok – for something really light. It’s better to use the brass ones that comes in packs of two or four. There’s the one pin ones, two pin and three pins – they go in at an angle off the wall – they holds it really well and they never break. I reuse mine over and over again.



What is the most memorable thing you’ve ever hung?

I once hung a giant tardis on the wall at Art14 – a giant 3D Perspex box like a foot deep – it was so heavy we had to work out how to attach it to the wall. We thought the wall was going to collapse! Molly Hughes-Hallett

I also hung an entire room – a sole exhibition of papier mache animal heads – 25 animal heads. That was one of my favourites.

 Now you have the tips and inside tricks, you can now hang art like a pro!

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