DIY Tips for ART-ful Presentation!

DIY Tips for ART-ful Presentation!

Yesterday I walked you through the latest progress in Kaleigh’s room…

And today I’m sharing some of the tips and strategies for how we arrived at the photo arrangement on the feature wall behind her bed.

Once again, here is the ‘before’ photo of the wall space.

And another photo illustrating how we had to shift the bed over to be positioned more effectively on that wall.

The window and the mirror act as frames for the wall space. So for the bed placement to make sense, it needed to be more centered between the two. And the point of the feature wall was to backdrop the bed in the sense of a headboard. So they needed to feel connected.

Once the bed was moved, we were able to get a better feel for how all this might work. We already had the photo frames, and they’re all the same size, but the photos are not! So this was definitely a point to keep in mind.

The bed isn’t perfectly centered because at its foot is a sofa that also had to work with the overall balance of the space.

We measured the rough area of wall space we had to work with, and then started to try different layouts on the floor.

We set the photos on top of the unwrapped frames to figure out what order to put them in. Then we started to play with placement.


When figuring out order placement in groupings, the subject should always be looking toward the center of the group, not away from it. That pulls the eye in rather than away from the grouping as a whole.

Also, balance the weight of each image. Notice the top photograph. It’s the only one in portrait format, but because the subject is a collection of skyscrapers, it would be out of place if it was placed on the bottom or in the centre of this grouping.

Did you notice there are only 6 photos now instead of 7? Kaleigh did not want a symmetrical layout, and in order for this random approach to work using these frames, the 7th photo had to go. We could have teamed up 2 photos in the center and worked out from there, but Kaleigh didn’t want that. If we kept 7 photos, it meant there was always one photo floating too far away from the overall grouping, or there were always two photos too close together compared to the rest.

Once we established the presentation of the grouping, I quickly sketched the layout and took some key measurements.

And then we double-checked the outside dimensions of the arrangement with the wall space so we could determine actual placement on the wall.

The painters tape is a guide for where the bottom of the lowest frame will land. Kaleigh didn’t want the grouping too low because she likes to lean against the wall when she’s sitting in bed.

We also marked the horizontal center.

Next, prepping the frames for the artwork – this is not my favorite part!

I bought two cases of these frames at a closing out sale a few years ago, and some of them were scratched when we went to use them.


I used a black Sharpie to touch up where there were scratches and marks. Great way to quickly camouflage minor imperfections, and pretty tough to see the evidence unless you’re up close and personal to it!

Finally, let the hanging begin!

Notice, we also marked the top of the of the grouping area with painters tape.

I started with the very center piece so I could work my way out from there. Because this presentation is more random and abstract, there is a little more flexibility than with a symmetrical grouping.


If you’re hanging a grouping where the frames must line up on the outside edges, then it’s a good idea to outline your whole area with painter’s tape.

Next I placed the  piece that would sit on the farthest outside edge on the left. I did this because there is less room on the left than the right, so it was critical that this piece follow the plan we drafted up.

After that I hung the piece that would sit at the farthest outside edge on the right.  Now I had all my border reference points including the painters tape.

You will see the very top piece has been left to last.


Notice the level sitting on top of the center photo? This is a very handy tool to have when you’re working with groupings.

So here’s the tip for why I left the very top photo to last.


Do you see the shadows between the frames? Remember to account for the shadows, because they will alter the balance of the overall presentation.

By placing the very top piece last, I was able to shift it slightly left or right, up or down, so it finished off the grouping both in relation to placement of the other frames, but also how the shadows factored in.

Do see what a difference the shadows make?

It’s easier to appreciate the presentation with the neat and tidy ‘After’ shot…

Do you notice how your eye is drawn to the bottom left photograph? That’s because it’s sitting slightly out of the grouping compared to the rest, and because it is highlighted by a shadow that demands your attention. It also has more white in the background, which will always attract your eye.

Do you remember where in the sequence of hanging the photos that the bottom left one was put up?

It was the 5th piece, so 2nd from the last to go up. And it was placed with intention. It was deliberately shifted just enough that it would grab your eye. The intention is to draw your eye down and back into the room, rather than up and to the ceiling.

So that’s another tip for you.


Place your art with intention. Even if that means breaking the rules!

When you have a plan, your presentation will reflect that. So even with random placement, you should always work with a basic plan in mind. In the end go by your gut. You will know your placement is right when it feels right…

And finally…

It’s important with groupings that each piece is hanging straight. I mentioned earlier that a mini level is your best friend for this task. The other tip is to secure the bottom corners of each frame so the frame can’t move.


To see how I ensure my artwork hangs straight, click here.

As for the overall presentation and how we came up with that layout. We factored in the height of the ceiling – it’s a 9′ ceiling. We looked at the thickness of the trim, and the placement of windows and doors. We paid attention to the pieces of furniture in the room. We took all pieces going up on the walls in the room into consideration. And we factored in function – Kaleigh leaning against the wall. And we went from there.

Final TIP:

Always make sure your artwork connects with the furniture around it. So for example, the general rule for artwork over a sofa is approximately 6″-8″ above it, or the width of a hand spread wide open.

But always remember that rules are guidelines. They are there to help you, not to dictate to you. In the end let your room, your pieces and your gut be your guide. Because in the end, presentation is a very personal preference.

Did you find these tips useful? Do you have a tip to share?

It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

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7 thoughts on “DIY Tips for ART-ful Presentation!”

  • I’m going to have bookmark this for when I’m ready to finalize the wall in our living room. Your mock-up drawing is amazing. Thanks for the tips. And I gave you a shout out today 🙂

    • Wow, thank you so much Holly!
      That’s such a huge compliment, and I sincerely appreciate the shout-out.
      You asked the other day about window treatments… Kaleigh is set on wanting black-out black! I’m hoping to find a black something that has a subtle bit of gold in it or trimmed with, maybe even a very subtle hint of turquoise, but she’s pretty adamant! And for style we’re leaning to floor-to-ceiling pinch pleated panels with black or gold ring clips…

  • Isn’t it crazy how much work is involved in hanging photos?? I see art galleries all the time and admire them but forget just how long it probably took for getting it that way. The room is looking fantastic. Kaliegh’s room is looking great.

    • Thanks Carol!
      You are so right! When you say it quick, it doesn’t sound like there’s that much involved, but once you get going it’s all the little things that take the time. The worst part for me, always, is cleaning the glass! Don’t love that part at all!

  • What a wonderful article, packed full of useful information! Well written, including all the detailed information that you need to know, and lots of hints along the way. I’m going through this struggle on my bedroom wall and never thought about using painters tape to help outline the area. Thanks so much!
    Great job Sheila!

  • As often happens on the Internet, I ended up here by pure serendipity. However, since I’m both into (artistically-oriented) design as well as neuroscience, I became interested on two levels. I’ve enjoyed hearing about interior design–especially “green” type design (my mother used to replace the elastic in underpants–not because we were so poor as that she strongly believed in conservation on all levels). My paternal grandfather and paternal grandmother’s cousin were geneologists, giving me an interest in the past and so appreciate your efforts to enable it to live in the present through your work. The academic part of me wonders why certain designs tend to resonate w/ people while others don’t. Since all perception stems from the brain, there must be some common elements. (I’m an educational neuropsychologist). Sure you can see how this interest would be piqued regarding interior design and the placement of objects. Anyway, just thought I’d leave a note to let you know that I’m glad I ran across you! Oh, one other thing. I also appreciate the way you’ve blended the person with the professional. Enhances both!

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