Originating in 17th century France, the Salon-style hang quickly became a way of bringing art to the masses and breaking down the cultural walls of the elite classes. It’s a trend that has transcended the worlds of art and interiors, especially popular today as a means of displaying even the most eclectic of collections. Gallery or Salon-style hangs offer an affordable way to transform a room and create a dramatic feature, while flaunting your favourite works in the process; you’ll be surprised at how much cohesion the juxtaposition of artworks in every medium can bring to a space.
Hanging art with total freedom may seem like a daunting task, even for the most experienced hangers and collectors amongst us, but just remember that the gallery wall is all about expressing your personal taste, so be fearless and follow our simple steps, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving the look in your home.
1 Choose Your Space
First things first, pick your location. Whether you wish to stagger your staircase with wonderful works, create a statement in the living room, add inspiration to your home study, or draw attention to an overlooked corner, a salon wall will make a feature out of any space.
Once you’ve selected your room of choice, consider the atmosphere you’re looking to create with your art. The bedroom is a space to unwind, so try to consider quality over quantity and allow plenty of space between your works to let them breathe. If you’re adorning your kitchen with a salon wall, be wary not to place works in any ‘splash zones’ or near sources of heat or humidity, and mix up your mediums - a decorative or sculptural approach won’t go amiss here. If you’re enlivening your living room, why not keep it close to home by mixing your artworks with family photos, film posters, artist postcards, children’s drawings or illustrations.
2 Show Your Personality
A gallery wall should offer a window onto your personality and your taste in art. Layer your works to emphasise a theme and be bold with your framing. If you’re hanging a series of works from one artist, be uniform with your approach and use identical frames for each, perhaps even hanging in a grid-style. Or, if you’re displaying a diverse array of works - from original paintings all the way to postcards - try sourcing reclaimed, vintage or second hand frames to emphasise the eclectic nature of your installation.
3 Lay it Out
So you’ve chosen your space, and your artworks, and the next logical step is to measure your space. A risk free way to plan and envision your final hang is to lay all of your framed works on the floor and play with the arrangement to scale. If you want to be really sure, you can even cut out newspaper to the size of each piece, tack it to the wall and take a step back to double check.
Top tip: Always make sure to get a second opinion! Find your spouse or your housemates and get their input, you’ll be surprised at how helpful another pair of eyes can be.
4 Start Big
Don’t know where to begin? Create a focal point by starting with the largest item first. This will ensure a viewer’s eye travels in a circular motion, spanning the entire space. Spreading striking or highlight colours throughout your hang will also help to lengthen or heighten your feature and ensure the space looks edited, tying the works together. Balance and symmetry (or even asymmetry!) are key elements to consider, so let this guide your arrangement by maintaining equal spacing between pieces, and working from the centre outwards.
5 Hang With Precision
You’ve laid out your works and you’re ready to add energy and pizzazz to that blank wall. Your personality should shine through, and each space is different, so feel free to adapt our advice to suit, but here are some helpful tips and general rules to consider:
- Space your artworks at least 3 centimetres (1¼ inches) apart to ensure each piece stands out alone
- Follow the gallery golden-rule and hang your focal artwork with the centre of the piece at 150 centimetres (59 inches) from the floor to catch eye level
- Use a spirit level and mark the wall with pencil before you drill any holes
- Consider using D-rings rather than wire or string when hanging art, to avoid a crooked hang - simply remove the wire and insert screws in the wall to fit inside each D-ring
- Double, triple check your measurements
- Get hanging!
For more expert advice on hanging each piece, check out curator & gallery owner Daniel Rolnik’s piece on 5 Tips for Hanging Art With Confidence
Ellie Vandoorne is an incredibly talented artist who combines hand-drawn illustrations with digital graphic design elements, for a clever, contemporary take on collage. She creates enchanting works inspired by vintage styles and classical characters, and previously collaborated with designer Matthew Williamson, bringing together both their signature uses of colour to create stunning artwork for his print publications. She is one of our Head Curator Rebecca Gordon’s firm favourites, and she has several works by Ellie as part of her own collection. We sat down with the London-based illustrator to discover more about her work, techniques and greatest influences.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I can barely remember a time when I didn’t want to be an artist. I think I wanted to be an artist as soon as I could hold a pencil!
What was the first artwork you ever made? Can you remember?
I can’t remember the first one I made but I certainly remember the first one I was proud of. I was about 14 years old and it was a drawing of Van Dyck’s The Five Eldest Children of Charles I. My art teacher and fellow students were impressed, and it was then that I realised that I didn’t just enjoy art but was actually quite good at it.
Do you have a favourite or most meaningful piece?
I will always have a soft spot for Flower Girl. She was the first of my ‘girls’ and I always refer back to her when creating new ones. That said, I have always had an obsession with Ophelia, and I could spend hours looking at Ophelia ‘Crownet Weeds’. The background of this piece was created using layer upon layer of trees, riverbanks and flowers. Ophelia is overwhelmingly haunting in this picture which is very much a step away from my usual pieces.
Tell me a bit about the process you use to create your works, and the concept behind them.
My work is quite varied. I draw a lot of inspiration from literature and nature. Many of my pieces are mixed media, where I begin by drawing figures in pencil and charcoal. I then scan them into photoshop to add colour, texture and collaged photography.
What do you love most about art & making art? What do you hate most about it?
I love that it is mine. My art is so personal to me and represents me. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to express myself on a daily basis by putting my ideas onto paper and experimenting with them. What becomes frustrating is when those ideas don’t seem to be working, you start doubting yourself and wonder whether you should just let go and move onto the next piece - I find this the most challenging.
What has been the greatest impact on you as an artist to date?
Matthew Williamson, the fashion designer, came to my first solo show in October of 2015. He bought a Flower Girl which later led to us collaborating on the cover of his book. This was a big moment for me as an artist, not just from a recognition point of view but from a collaborative point too. Working with Matthew very much felt like a meeting of minds. Our shared love of colour, print and nature made it incredibly easy to work together.
Give us a quick one or line about your studio space - what do you love about it?
My studio backs out onto my garden making it a constant source of inspiration as well as an incredibly peaceful place to work.
What’s playing in your studio right now?
Music, I like to run radios off spotify, that way you’re never quite sure what’s coming next. Right this minute I’m listening to Blood Orange - Sutphin Boulevard.
The Illustrative Collection | Browse the Edit
Our curator's are celebrating the wonderfully creative and free medium of illustration, with a collection of contemporary works combining hand drawings, graphic design, collage and more. Discover the edit and fall in love with these colourful, enchanting pieces.
The 70th anniversary of the prestigious BAFTA ceremony airs this Sunday, and to celebrate we’re thrilled to announce our partnership with the association and bring you an exclusive release of photographs capturing the glitz and the glamour of this long-running event. Go behind the scenes of the BAFTAs and get a rare glimpse backstage with this selection of works from two impressive names in the press photography world. We’re introducing a series of works by Sarah M. Lee and Richard Hardcastle, photographers paramount to the trade, who capture candid portraits of some of the most famous actors and actresses from across the world. Discover more about the artists below, and don’t miss the chance to get your hands on a stunning limited edition print and adorn your walls with the glamour, mystery and art of the film and television worlds.
Introducing Sarah M. Lee
With a photographic career spanning over 15 years, incuding coverage of various events for renowned publications, Sarah M. Lee undoubtedly has an eye for capturing the unseen version celebrities. As official photographer for both The Guardian and The Observer, and having been commissioned by BAFTA to shoot on the red carpet and behind the scenes, she has certainly made a name for herself in the world of press photography. Her candid portrait works capture the undetected, bringing even the most adored celebrities back down to earth in a sophisticated and sentimental way.
Introducing Richard Hardcastle
Richard Hardcastle has cultivated an impressive career, with over 25 years’ experience as an editorial photographer. With works hanging in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery, and commissions for Rolling Stone, Esquire, and Harper’s Bazaar under his belt, he is certainly an artist worth investing in. He says, of his BAFTA experience: “Shooting backstage at the BAFTAs is my favourite job of the year. It combines the two things I love shooting the most, reportage and actors, in one lovely three-hour package.”
Behind the Scenes at BAFTA | Browse the Collection
Browse our complete collection of photographs from the BAFTAs, capturing every corner of this prestigious event in stylish and timeless monochrome. From photographs of the suspenseful auditorium, to exclusive images of some of our favourite actors and celebrities.
From embroiding the front cover of Bradford's 1989 British Telecom telephone directory to his life as a synesthete, we bring you 5 things you didn't know about David Hockney.
Styling with exotic art in your home is a wonderful way to infuse your space with a touch of greenery and achieve the trend of the moment, and we’ve selected some luscious and lively artworks to inspire you to do just that.
Styling with abstract art is a surefire way to add a stylish edge to your home. In our latest article for interior design specialists, Houzz, Rebecca Gordon covers 10 ways to Style With Abstract Art, offering plenty of advice and inspiration.
Nothing says ‘I love you’ quite like giving the unique and unforgettable gift of art. Forget the flowers and discard the chocolates, this year think outside the box and show your nearest and dearest how much you care with art this year. We’ve gathered our top 10 favourite works guaranteed to dazzle your chosen Valentine, and commemorate a timeless and enduring love.
Whether you’re a travel buff, or simply dream of encircling the globe, art can be a way to take a travel adventure without leaving your home. We’ve chosen an array of paintings, drawings and photographs that will pull you to the far corners of the world.
We bring you the latest artist news, exhibition releases and team happenings in the first Rise Art Roundup of 2017.
Genevieve invites us into her beloved studio, and tells us all about the meditative rituals that fuel her energetic works.