This could be a very complicated subject, but let’s make it easy and take it down to simply hanging a painting on a wall. What painting and in what location?
A general rule of thumb is that framed prints and original watercolors should not be in a location where they will receive direct sunlight. Even if the windows have 99 percent UV protection, I would be very careful. And even if the print is colorfast ink — same care.
If you have a watercolor or print and want it in a sunlit or fluorescent light location, there is a solution.
Go to a reputable framer and have it framed with museum-quality UV protection glass. This is very expensive and would be cost prohibitive for framing a cheap print, unless you don’t mind paying $500 to frame a $20 poster.
Another rule of thumb is don’t hang a $1,000 piece of art in the middle of or near pinned-up calendars and sports schedules. Sounds obvious, but it is another way to say, “be aware of subject.”
If you are hanging a nice, large painting, give it some breathing room, and never get too close to a corner or wall edge. That would create a bit of anxiety for the viewer.
As far as the height, that may vary according to purpose, intent or size.
Small paintings need to be hung where they can be seen, not so far away or high that one cannot recognize content. Small works can be hung in groupings, but again, “be aware of subject.” Three circus subject paintings and one framed print of a bowl of fruit wouldn’t go well together.
Let’s pretend a significant painting had been selected for a specific wall. How do you decide how high to hang the painting?
In an ideal world, one rule of thumb is eye level to the center of the painting and then a tad higher.
Contemporary housing these days really has a lot of art-exhibiting opportunities, despite mass dominating windows. And this area is lucky to have a bounty of traditional and older homes. Art adds “life to our living.”
Heavy paintings require special devices or a stud. If you are using a single nail, always be sure to slant the nail.
This is important. Hang the painting on the nail or hanging device. Don’t just move the painting base to make it level, but take your finger and place it at the bottom of the painting, right in the middle.
Pull the painting out maybe 2 inches and let it fall back against the wall. The painting is establishing its axis, creating proper balance.
Final point: It is mobile. Want change? Hang the painting someplace else or hang a different painting.