hanging artwork

Liven up an empty wall by hanging artwork in an asymmetrical group of three. (Getty Images)

Bare walls got you down? It’s time to stop ignoring that accumulating art collection and start flaunting it. But when it comes to displaying and hanging artwork, you don’t have to default to the traditional framed, mounted print on the wall above your sofa, bed or mantel — or even the ubiquitous gallery wall, which can be tricky to pull off in a NYC rental, where you may want to avoid riddling your walls with tiny holes. So put away the hammer and nails and check out our favorite out-of-the-box ways to show off your art. (Good news: These methods of hanging artwork don’t just look great — they happen to be easy, too.)

1. Stick to the Rule of Three

When it comes to design, remember that in general, odd numbers of grouped objects tend to look better. So when considering groupings of art, stick to odd numbers and feel free to keep the arrangement asymmetrical. As long as you have one unifying element, whether it’s the frame material or a common color, your pieces will work together.

2. Prop It on Shelves

Instead of hanging, try propping your framed artwork on wall-mounted shelves. You can either line up symmetrical pieces for a more orderly look, or you can go eclectic, mixing up and layering different heights and widths. We especially love the look of propping artwork on a shelf that matches the color of your wall for a floating effect.


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3. Hang It on a Bookcase

Hanging art on a bookshelf is not only an unexpected way to show off a treasured print, it also makes your shelves look impossibly chic. Just make sure you bear weight limits in mind, and don’t hang anything directly in front of any books to which you frequently refer. 

hanging artwork

Rather than hanging artwork traditionally, try leaning it up against the wall from the floor, as displayed in 25 Murray St. #3H in Tribeca.

4. Floor It

Leaning works of art against the wall on the floor looks effortlessly cool. Plus, it gives you flexibility so you can easily alter your arrangement whenever you want, swapping in new pieces and changing things up. 

5. Use a Prop

For a more casual, quirky look, display your favorite pieces on a cool, rustic ladder, or even on an easel. You can also mix it up, combining framed prints and canvases with stacks of books, small sculptures and even plants.

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6. Create an Inspiration Wall

This one’s especially good for office nooks, but really, it can work anywhere: A series of clipboards mounted on the wall creates a blank canvas for pinning up pieces that inspire and excite you. It’s a fun alternative to the standard cork bulletin board, and it saves you the hassle and expense of frames and matting. 

7. Go Wall-Out

Instead of hanging a typical gallery wall, why not really go for it and cover the entire wall in a single bold pattern or print? Temporary wallpaper murals makes it easy to create accent walls that double as oversize art. In a living room, bedroom or even bathroom, channel an old English manor or a swank midcentury bungalow. We’re big fans of Minted’s wall murals.

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