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L.Srikumar Pai
B.Sc( Engg.), MIE, MIWWA, MICI
Civil Engineer & CAD Specialist
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Tips on hanging artworks in your house

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THE question of where to hang a painting, print or photograph always arises when a new piece of art is purchased or when a home is redecorated.


Over the sofa or next to the bookshelf? With other prints or on the large wall in the hallway? There are a few tips to follow to ensure that the piece looks good in the space whether it’s a child’s scribbles, a photograph, the work of a known artist or a print of a famous painting. Decorators advise paying close attention to lighting conditions and the humidity and heat in the room.

Determining the height at which a print, painting or photo should be hung is done by orientating on the focal point of the image, decorators say. The artwork should be hung so that the focal point is approximately at eye level. However, this height is not the same in every room, said Margarete Kolb, an interior decorator in Germany.

A picture hung in an entrance hallway, where people tend to stand, should be placed higher than a picture hung in a living room, where people tend to sit, said Kolb. The same is true of the dining room and the bedroom. Kolb said people often hang pictures too high.

The placement of small pictures on a large wall is always one of the biggest challenges when decorating a room. They should be grouped together rather than hung on their own.

“It makes sense to find a line of reference,” Kolb advises. This could be a door frame, a windowsill or the edge of a piece of furniture. The pictures are then arranged at the height of this line of reference so that either their tops or bottoms align along it.

Klaus Gerrit Friese, chairman of a German association for galleries and prints, said the amount of light in a room is also an important consideration when hanging a picture.

“Sunlight is poison for every picture,” said Friese, including graphic works, watercolour paintings and photographs.

Make sure the artwork is not hung in direct sunlight, he advises. “Otherwise, you will have only a few years to enjoy the piece.” The warmth of the sunlight and UV rays are what damage the image.

“This energy can cause a chemical reaction and speed up the aging process,” said restorer Anne Levin. The result is the image can yellow, bleach out or become brittle — damage that cannot be reversed. When artwork is hung near a window, Levin recommends putting UV protection on the glass to block out the damaging light.

There also is protective glass that can be used in the picture’s frame.

Artificial light also can damage artwork. Levin said it is therefore important that the light in a room and any light that shines directly on a picture is evenly distributed. She advises against using spotlights because they cause the area they strike on the image to fade faster than the rest of the piece. — dpa



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