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How To Create The Perfect 'Salon-Style' Hang


How To Create The Perfect 'Salon-Style' Hang
Image courtesy of Architectural Digest

Unsure of how to hang your works Salon Style? Whilst it requires careful considerations, hanging art Salon Style need not baffle you and they have the potential to change the interior of your home for the better. The Artling brings you these tips to Salon Style Hang at home. 


What is Salon Style Hanging?

A method of hanging and displaying paintings, the “Salon Style Hang” originated in 1667 and was initiated at the beginning of the annual French Royal Academy salon in Paris. Back then, salons were showcases that sought to exhibit the best works by students at the Royal Academy amongst other masters. Paintings filled the walls from floor to ceiling due to the amount of work produced, including works across an array of sizes and genres.

The Salon Style method of hanging is comprised of creating a “crowd” of paintings, both complimenting and juxtaposing one another. Works are placed in groups of different sizes, next to and above each other. It allows individuals to maximize wall space, additionally constructing the entire wall as a singular piece of art.

Image courtesy of  Evintasarim

Find the right wall

Consider the wall you’re about to hang your works on. If you have an irregular wall, it might be advisable to fill it floor to ceiling. If you’re working on a large wall, consider where you’d like the focal point to be and concentrate that area with your works. Think about where you’d like your eyes to lead to, perhaps aligned to the end of a sofa or bed frame.

Image courtesy of EllaSeal

Start on the floor, not the wall

Assembling your artworks on the floor will allow you to visualize your works before committing to hanging them on the wall. With the art resembling puzzle pieces in front of you, envisioning how they will eventually appear on your wall is of utmost importance. This will allow you to consider factors such as the spacing between them, the compatibility of the works next to each other, if their compositions add up, and so on.

Trust your gut and trust your taste. If you’re stuck for choice, consider adding some inexpensive works such as prints to break up the more intense or simpler works, giving your salon-style wall hang a little more balance and character.

Too many colors?

If your collection consists of too many clashing colors, perhaps consider sticking to black and white works. Mix this up between paintings, prints, watercolor works and so on to create a little more texture across the wall.

Image courtesy of Domain 

Maybe a little more…

If the black and white minimalist trajectory isn't for you, consider adding another color to the mix to create balance and consistency. Choosing one color as the primary focus of your wall has the capacity to create a fluid visual relationship with the rest of your room. if you’re working with a room with earthy tones, perhaps green or terracotta tones might accentuate the room’s visual ambiance.

National Portrait Gallery, London.
Image courtesy of Jonathan Yeo

Modern or Masters?

It’s important to reflect on your taste and the interior design that these works will be curated with. For flatter more contemporary works such as prints, lean towards thin frames across two to three colors. You may vary the margins of these frames so as to create more balanced compositions. You might even consider forgoing a frame altogether as this mode of hanging Salon Style will allow framed and unframed works to be placed side by side without being too awkward.

If you’re after a ‘heavier’ hang for those working with a collection of portraits and landscapes in mediums such as oil, consider distributing ornate frames with simpler ones so as to not crowd the wall.

Image courtesy of The Artling
(Works are not to scale) 

Image courtesy of The Artling

Left & right, up and & down

Now, to configure these works into a coherent manner. A trick that many curators use is to cut up pieces of paper in the dimensions of your framed works and place them onto your wall to try and envision spacing and alignment. Be sure to label each piece of paper as the work that it represents. Are there too many large works beside each other? Are there too many textures that fall into the same corner? This method of cautiously visualizing will allow you to build upon your ‘puzzle’.

The most popular way to Salon Style hang is by aligning your works by row, as seen in the cluster on the left in the image above. Consider keeping your artworks in a square with each other, allowing them to have a certain geometric consistency and coherence.

Another way is to space your works out a little more, as seen in the cluster on the right in the image above. Put smaller works together, and space them out a little more with the larger works. This requires a little more intuition as more space exists between each work. This method, however, has been cited as one that’s harder to execute.

Whilst incredibly subjective, Salon Style hangs can be successfully accomplished by having large works inside, not outside. Larger works should not be placed towards the outside of your hang.

Image courtesy of My Modern House

The last resort 

If you’ve gotten to this point and are still truly stumped, feel free to use a shelf. This immediately helps alignment and it’s low commitment nature allows you to move your works around to your fancy. You might even consider overlapping some works, leaving the larger framed works on the floor for a little more character and balance. With shelves, you could even throw a sculpture or two in the mix!

Click the image above to download The Artling app for iOS 

Struggling to visualize artwork on The Artling that you’re considering? Why not download our app, available on iOS, and our AR feature will place any artwork on your wall!


To view works on The Artling, click here.

Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.

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