Should You Hang or Lean Your Art? There Is a Right Answer

A study once found that when people viewed art they loved, their blood flow to the brain area associated with pleasure increased by as much as 10%. That’s roughly the equivalent reaction to what happens when looking at a loved one.

“Art is such a personal choice,” says Camilla Ingall, interior stylist and founder of Sydney interior design and property styling company Unfolded. “My clients tend to steer away from off-the-shelf designs and invest in works that have been mindfully crafted or commissioned to suit their personal values, tastes and interior palette.”

So, when it comes to that art, should you be leaning or hanging it? The short answer is that the two options give off different aesthetics and each has their physical advantages and disadvantages. Ahead, Ingall shares about the two looks that can be achieved when you hang or lean art, and the pros and cons of each.

Leaning Art

One advantage to leaning art instead of hanging it is that you can easily swap pieces around, says Ingall. Another reason you might want to lean art is when your wall is textured and installing a hook or nail isn’t possible.

“Leaning art on TV units, hallway consoles or against mirrors on a bedroom dresser provides a more effortless look,” says Ingall. “Another reason to lean art is that you can layer pieces up, creating a collection of your favourites nested together, forming a personal vignette.”

lean or hang art
Image: Instagram @ashholmesart

You might also want to lean art instead of hang it when you have larger pieces and your home has plasterboard on top of its walls, she says. If this is the case, you usually can’t hang artwork or a mirror that weighs more than 12kgs.

To find out if your wall has plasterboard on it, Ingall suggests you take a push pin and press it into your wall. Does it go in relatively easily? You likely have drywall or gyprock, which doesn’t lend itself to hanging art. If it takes more effort or the pin doesn’t go in at all, your wall is probably plaster, concrete or brick, in which case, it’s fine to hang.

“It’s a fact a lot of people don’t know and get a rude shock when they go to hang pieces in their property,” she says.

Hanging Art

On the flip side, hanging art can be a great option for when you have a dark and narrow entry hallway, says Ingall. Art and mirrors can be key to adding some life to this space, plus don’t take up too much space like a console might.

lean or hang art
Image: Instagram @warranbrooke

“Art that’s hung can also create a sense of seamless interior design,” she says. “It can make the interior design look simple and streamlined, more deliberate and refined. It’s a more efficient use of space and cleaner styling.”

Art should also be hung if you want to create a feature wall with multiple artworks grouped. A feature wall catches the eye immediately when you walk into a room. You might want to hang art too if you have a wall sconce or wallpaper feature.

“In these cases, the wall sconce or wallpaper feature are artworks in themselves, so you may not want to be covering them or adding artwork to detract from them,” she says. “They’re also alternative options to hanging artwork”

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