Once upon a time, there was a rule that we all followed diligently– that art had to be centered on something. Whether it was centered above a piece of furniture or centered based on the wall on which it was hung, centering was very important. But I’m noticing a trend towards more casual, more interesting placement. Deliberately hanging artwork off-center. Justified waaaay to the right or way to the left.
But hanging artwork off center is akin to creating deliberately messy-bedhead-like-waves. It takes a bit of work to get that effortlessly casual look.
Here are a few ways you can use off center artwork to create spaces that are interesting and pleasing to the eye–
1 | Use off center artwork to balance other eye catchers in the room
Bold statement pieces often need another dramatic something to balance them out or your room may feel a bit lopsided. That scene stealing coffee table or pendant needs something to create a bit of harmonious tension, otherwise, he’s like that dinner party guest that just won’t shut up. We liked hearing his stories at first, but someone else, please say something!
2 | Go for the triangle effect
Our eyes like triangles. Triangular compositions help our eyes travel and take in all that we see instead of zeroing in on one element. By hanging artwork off center, you can deliberately create your own triangular composition. So even if that painting is hanging in a place that at first seems off, once your eye takes in all the other elements in the room, it seems just right.
3 | Work your other angles
Angles aren’t just found in the architecture and furnishings surrounding a piece of art, but also in the artwork itself. Don’t forget about the compositional lines and angles in your artwork when thinking about how to hang it. The work should carry on a pleasing conversation with the furnishings around it. Like a first date that’s going really really well.
4 | Rethink centering
Hanging artwork off center doesn’t necessarily have to mean that the artwork isn’t centered on anything. Just maybe think about centering on an unexpected or secondary element in the room, like a chandelier or rug instead of the desk or dining table.
Rules tend to be created to make things easy and orderly. But art is neither of those things, so why should we live with it that way? Don’t be afraid to be a bit off center. Your art is crying out for it!
All image sources are linked above.