The Mistake You’re Making When Displaying Art

5 min read

Art has the power to transform spaces, evoke emotions, and add character to any environment. Whether you’re a seasoned art collector or someone who simply appreciates beauty, displaying art in the right way can make a significant difference in how it is perceived and enjoyed. However, there is a common mistake that many people make when showcasing their art, which can diminish its impact and undermine its true value. In this article, we will explore this mistake and provide valuable insights on how to avoid it.

The Importance of Proper Lighting

When it comes to displaying art, lighting plays a crucial role in enhancing its visual appeal and conveying its intended message. Unfortunately, inadequate lighting is a mistake that is all too common. Insufficient or poorly positioned lighting can result in artworks appearing dull, washed out, or even distorted. On the other hand, proper lighting can bring out the colors, textures, and details of a piece, allowing it to shine in its full glory.

One way to ensure proper lighting is to use track lighting or adjustable spotlights. These fixtures allow you to direct light onto specific areas of the artwork, highlighting its most important features. Additionally, it is recommended to use LED lights with a high color rendering index (CRI) to accurately reproduce the colors of the artwork. This will help maintain the artist’s intended color palette and prevent any color shifts.

Another important consideration is the angle at which the light hits the artwork. Ideally, the light should be directed at a 30 to 45-degree angle from the horizontal plane. This creates a gentle, even illumination that minimizes glare and reflections. Avoid placing lights directly above the artwork, as this can create harsh shadows and obscure details.

The Impact of Framing

Choosing the right frame for your artwork is another critical aspect of effective display. The frame acts as a border, separating the artwork from its surroundings and providing a visual context. However, the wrong frame choice can detract from the artwork’s aesthetic appeal and disrupt its intended message.

When selecting a frame, consider the style, medium, and subject matter of the artwork. Traditional artworks, such as oil paintings or classical drawings, often benefit from ornate, elaborate frames that reflect the time period or artistic movement they belong to. On the other hand, contemporary artworks may be better suited to minimalist frames that emphasize simplicity and allow the artwork to take center stage.

Additionally, the color of the frame should complement the artwork rather than overpower it. Neutral tones like black, white, or natural wood are safe choices that can work well with a variety of artworks. However, don’t be afraid to experiment with bold colors or metallic finishes if they enhance the overall visual impact of the artwork.

The Art of Placement

Where and how you place your artwork can greatly influence its impact on the viewer. Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of placing artworks in random or inconspicuous locations, significantly diminishing their visibility and accessibility.

When choosing a location, consider the size and scale of the artwork. Larger pieces often require more space and a more prominent position to be fully appreciated. A large, empty wall can serve as the perfect backdrop for a statement piece, drawing attention and creating a focal point in the room. On the other hand, smaller artworks can be grouped together to create a gallery wall or displayed on shelves and mantelpieces.

Another important aspect of placement is the eye level. Artworks should ideally be hung at eye level, which is generally considered to be at around 57 to 60 inches from the floor. This ensures that the artwork is easily seen and enjoyed by viewers of average height. However, in spaces with higher ceilings or when dealing with larger artworks, the eye level may need to be adjusted accordingly.

Preserving and Protecting Art

Properly preserving and protecting your art is essential to maintain its value and longevity. Unfortunately, this is another area where many people make mistakes that can lead to irreversible damage over time.

One common mistake is exposing artworks to direct sunlight. Ultraviolet (UV) rays can fade colors, degrade materials, and cause irreversible damage. To protect your art, avoid hanging it in areas where it will be exposed to direct sunlight, or use UV-filtering glass or acrylic to block out harmful rays.

Another mistake is neglecting to protect artworks from environmental factors such as humidity and temperature fluctuations. High humidity can cause mold growth and paper deterioration, while extreme temperatures can lead to warping, cracking, or delamination. It is important to display artworks in climate-controlled environments, away from windows, vents, and sources of moisture.

Lastly, handling art with bare hands can transfer oils, dirt, and moisture onto the surface, leading to stains, discoloration, or even corrosion of certain materials. Always wear clean, lint-free gloves when handling artworks, or use acid-free tissue paper to protect delicate surfaces.


Displaying art is an art form in itself. To truly enhance the visual impact and value of your artworks, it is important to avoid common mistakes that can undermine their beauty and longevity. Proper lighting, thoughtful framing, strategic placement, and diligent preservation are key factors to consider when showcasing your art. By paying attention to these aspects, you can ensure that your artworks are appreciated in their full glory, both now and for generations to come.

FAQs After The Conclusion

1. How can I determine the right amount of lighting for my artwork?

Determining the right amount of lighting for your artwork depends on various factors such as the size of the artwork, the type of lighting fixtures used, and the desired visual effect. It is recommended to consult with a professional lighting designer or art curator who can provide expert advice tailored to your specific needs.

2. Are there any specific guidelines for hanging multiple artworks together?

When hanging multiple artworks together, it is important to consider the overall composition and balance. Start by arranging the artworks on the floor or a large table to experiment with different layouts. You can create a cohesive look by grouping artworks of similar sizes, themes, or colors. Alternatively, you can create an eclectic display by mixing different styles and sizes. Remember to leave enough space between the artworks to allow each piece to be appreciated individually.

3. How often should I clean my artworks?

The frequency of cleaning your artworks depends on various factors such as the medium, the environment in which they are displayed, and the level of dust or dirt accumulation. As a general rule, it is recommended to dust your artworks gently with a soft, lint-free cloth or a clean, natural bristle brush on a regular basis. However, for more delicate or valuable artworks, it is advisable to consult with a professional art conservator to determine the appropriate cleaning methods and schedule.

4. Can I display art in rooms with high humidity, such as bathrooms or kitchens?

Rooms with high humidity, such as bathrooms or kitchens, are generally not recommended for displaying art due to the increased risk of moisture damage and mold growth. However, if you still wish to display art in these areas, it is important to take extra precautions such as using dehumidifiers, ensuring proper ventilation, and regularly monitoring the humidity levels. Additionally, it is advisable to choose artworks that are less susceptible to moisture damage, such as prints or photographs that are properly framed and protected.

5. How can I protect my art from theft or accidental damage?

To protect your art from theft or accidental damage, consider investing in a comprehensive security system that includes surveillance cameras, motion sensors, and alarms. Additionally, you can take measures such as installing secure hanging systems, using protective glass or acrylic, and displaying valuable artworks in locked display cases. It is also advisable to have your artworks insured against theft, damage, or loss through a reputable art insurance provider.


Displaying art is an opportunity to showcase its beauty and convey its intended message. However, many people make the mistake of overlooking key aspects that can greatly impact the visual appeal and longevity of their artworks. By avoiding common mistakes such as inadequate lighting, inappropriate framing, haphazard placement, and neglecting preservation, you can ensure that your art is displayed in its best light. Remember that proper lighting enhances the colors and details of the artwork, thoughtful framing complements its style and subject matter, strategic placement maximizes its impact, and diligent preservation safeguards its value. By paying attention to these crucial elements, you can create a captivating and harmonious display that allows your art to shine.

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