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5 Tips for a
salon hang

Wondering how to create an installation worthy of a gallery? Step this way!

What is a salon hang, and why is it so called? The salon hang as a name is taken from the time during 17th century France when the French Royal Academy put on their ‘salon’ exhibition.


The technique was widely used to maximise space - et voilà, a style tradition was born! Floor to ceiling or somewhere in between, the hallmarks of a salon (or gallery) hang are many art pieces, carefully curated and displayed close together to create an installation. Beautiful.

Tip One

Location is key, practically as well as aesthetically. Does it have natural light that might be too strong for the art chosen; do you have a flat wall, is there an issue with getting the fixings in, is it too irregular to support the art you have in mind…All worth keeping in mind. If it’s an irregular size, you may need to fill it and in that case – do you have enough art to include? If not, maybe investing in a few special prints might help.

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Tip Two


Consider where you want the focus to be. Dodgy sofa with cat scratches? Don’t highlight with a fabulous artwork right beside it. Pesky plastic conduit to hide wires in your rental? Same. You’ll need to align your art with the static elements in your space too – make sure things are straight otherwise it’ll be hard to live with.

Tip Three

Placement. You could just ‘go by eye’ and hope for the best…or do it carefully and methodically by using paper cut into the shapes of the frames you’ve chosen. Start on the floor whichever way you choose – laying them all flat to do the groundwork in selecting what should go where. Above all, be creative and trust your own judgement. It’s you who has to live with it, so you’re in charge! Things to consider are spacing between pieces, variety of each work, shapes and size of frame, and not forgetting composition – oils, watercolours, modern or contemporary. Do they flow? How do they relate to each other in the space you’ve chosen? It doesn’t just have to be pictures – consider using objects or other types of art like textiles to create texture depth and interest.

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Tip Four

Colours…this is important. The location of the hang will inform this, as will the scheme of décor already in place. Do you want it to be the focus of the room, the colours to clash or harmonise, monochrome or muted or vibrant. It’s all up to you – but have an idea in place beforehand to avoid disappointment.

Tip Five

Sizes. Are there any larger works on the outsides of the installation? This is a bit of a ‘no’ as it’ll unbalance your creation when it’s on the wall. Keep larger pictures and items in the interior of the hang to maintain balance. If you have a lot of little ones, cluster them together around larger items and consider the space between them; it might be that the space inside needs to differ to make it look right. The space in between each bit is part of the installation itself, don’t neglect it. When you’ve considered all of these things, you’re ready to go! Pop the pieces of paper on the wall (if using) to make sure you’re content with the composition in a vertical state, and happy hanging!

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