We all know the importance of art therapy when it comes to improving mental health. From life drawing in your local gallery on a Thursday night, to the massive growth of adult colouring books, the art therapy market is booming. But did you know simply displaying art in your own home can be good for your mental health too?
In fact, there is a lot of research to back this claim up. Professor Semir Zeki — a neurobiologist at UCL, discovered during his study that the simple act of viewing art releases a slingshot of dopamine into the part of the brain that registers romantic love. Other studies also reveal that viewing art can improve critical thinking, enhance empathy, and increase tolerance to other people.
Knowing this, hanging art in your home seems like a no-brainer. But how to get it right? Hanging art in the wrong place could end up causing you more problems than it’s worth — judgy neighbours, clashing colours. But follow this easy guide, and all the positive benefits of having art at home will be with you before you know it.
It is time to fall in love every day. Here’s how to hang your art at home…
How to position art on your walls
Walk into a friend's house and it’s hard not to judge how the art someone owns reflects the person themselves. We all have our own unique taste in art, and most of us respect that — it’s what makes us individuals after all. But one of the biggest mistakes in people who display art at home is the way they choose to hang it.
All too often you find yourself craning your neck upwards (most commonly) or downwards trying to appreciate the art on display. Positioning is important. If you’ve ever been to a behemoth of a classical art gallery — with hundreds of paintings crammed into one room — you’ll know what we mean. The masterpiece displayed two metres high near the ceiling. Want to take in the technique? No chance. The same applies in your home.
Whilst none of us are the same height (unless your life is a Philip K. Dick style nightmare), it is still possible to hang your art in the right place on the walls. It happens to be really simple to get right too. The middle of the painting should be directly in line with your eyesight. Your basketball player friend might not get the same perspective as you, but they’re more likely to get a chance to appreciate your ‘self portrait with melon’ if you hang it properly.
Don’t hang expensive works above your fireplace
How many people do you know who hang their expensive originals above the fireplace? Most likely, they are slowly ruining their beloved work of art.
Unless the work has been expertly prepared and framed, the heat from the fire can melt and damage the canvas, and the frame. The same applies for hanging art above a radiator too. Whilst it is obviously tempting to make your favourite work the centrepiece of your living space, it really should be avoided at all costs — unless, of course, you’re not too fussed about ruining your masterpiece.
Using blank space to your advantage
It’s so tempting to feel like you should cover every bit of wall space with something. But in fact, using plenty of white space between works can enhance the impact they can have.
Giving paintings space to breathe gives them more life. Consider small, independent contemporary art galleries. Most of them use white space extensively. The same should apply at home.
Leaving space between works allows your, and other’s brains to understand the context between the works on display. Whether you go for visual links between paintings, or choose to display your artworks in sharp contrast to each other, white space is important.
As you move from one piece to another, your inner curator will shine through to everyone who enters your pad. As they understand the context, they understand you. And as you change from month to month, you can change the art around too. Just give the paintings space to breathe, and the positive mental health affects that art has will seep into your life.
Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder
If something looks right, it is right. Right? Well, no. Not always. Especially when it comes to hanging art in your home. To ensure that your art is hung symmetrically, and exactly where you want it to be, it is important to use a tape measure and a spirit level. Even if you’re going for a highly creative asymmetrical display, you’ll want to get the spacing spot on.
Don’t worry too much
Art is love, but like all loving relationships, it sometimes takes time to get it right. Hanging art in your home is the same. But don’t get too hung up. There are some practical tips to turn your living space into a design classic — the ones in this guide for example. But if you don’t have the time, the act of hanging art in your home itself will have a huge positive impact on your life.
Unlike love, there is a textbook to hanging art in your own home, and you’ve just read it. Now it is time to get collecting…
Looking for some art to lighten up your living space? Check out the best emerging art in the Artpiq collection.