How to Hang Art via the Salon Style Method?

So you want to style your home decor with panache, and you’ve decided the best route to dazzle friends and family is by using the salon-style hang. The method, derived from salons in the 19th century, certainly appears easy to apply, with all artworks collected and displayed together in one large space. 


But the truth is it doesn’t take much to get the style, which boils down to hanging and displaying a crowd of paintings in such a way that they complement and juxtapose each other. A number of different factors need to be considered when setting up such a display, like composition, the style of frames, spacing, colors, and the proportions involved. But we’re here to help you along the way, with this salon-style home gallery guide that will ensure your salon-style hang comes together in the proper way and without a huge expense.

Framing Your Salon-Style Art

When it comes to framing, it’s best to go with thin frames in a few varying finishes to create a more streamlined effect. You can also place paintings without frames side-by-side with framed photos or prints and still create the right artistic impact. For additional variety, have mat boards with different margins. 

If your art is geared towards a more classic feel with ornate and vintage frames, you’ll want to space the pieces out in various, dispersed locations so there isn’t a clustered result as these items often have thick frames. This method is also best considered for dark-colored walls. 

Where To Hang Pictures

The first thing to consider when going about your salon-style hanging of wall art is exactly where your display is going to go. You need to find the right place and the right wall. So let’s start with the place.

A salon-style art display can accentuate any space, whether you have a bold vision for your living room, a motivating message in your home office, or just an empty space that could use some attention. But where you place the display should also influence exactly what you decide to hang as well, especially if you have great expectations from your salon gallery wall.

Quality over quantity is preferred in the bedroom, which is a place to relax. You might give your pieces of art a good deal of space to create an open look. If you’re planning on setting up in the kitchen, avoid any areas where water can splash or heat can emanate. Then there’s the living room, which can be used to emphasize the importance of family with photos or perhaps your children’s artwork. 

Choosing the Right Spot

Salon-style art hanging is about choosing the wall that you want to make the focal point of the room. If the space you’re planning to decorate is small or angular, you might want to fill it entirely (from floor to ceiling) with the artwork. You don’t have to make it crowded with items, however. Instead, space them out in a meticulous and even fashion. But if it’s a large open wall, such as one in a living room wall or loft space, you need not take up the entire area. Instead, cluster your art above furniture, be it a headboard in a bedroom or a couch in the living room. Usually, you’ll want to place the artwork just over the edge of the furniture.

The Key Notions of the Salon-Style Hang

If you already have your collection of hangable items on hand, the next step is deciding in what configuration you want to place them. We recommend laying the artwork on the floor to help you visualize your end result, and give you a complete picture of how the items will come together.

But if you’re in the process of adding items to your collection, your salon-style wall may form slowly, piece-by-piece. In that event, we have a few suggestions on how to approach the task. First off, basing your salon-style hang on a theme can be helpful, whether it’s coordinated with a subject or aesthetic. There are a number of potential options, such as monochrome. 

The idea here is to display works that share the same color, one that hopefully compliments your space. Then add some pieces that have neutral colors such as gray or cream, so that the display won’t be stark in viewing. Instead, there will be some bursts of color that you have carefully thought over for your overall color scheme. 

But if you want to simplify your arrangement and ensure a balanced look, you could also go the black-and-white route. Consider using items with various mediums and textures, but all of them are colored black-and-white. It’s a worthwhile option if your home is similarly colored in general, or is minimalist in style.

A third option is decorating landscapes and portraits painted in oil, which were commonly used in 19th-century salons. Contemporary portraiture can often be purchased in limited edition prints, which are usually more cost-effective than paintings. They can also frequently be rolled when shipped, which saves on shipping fees

How to Arrange Wall Art

Now it can get a little tricky to ensure your salon-style hang hits that right aesthetic note and does not give off a chaotic, hectic vibe. You’ll want an assortment of visuals that are appealing to the eye and not one that looks sloppy, messy, and random. While there are no guarantees, one approach that can help map your layout involves the use of brown paper. 

Take a large roll, and using a pencil, trace your artwork onto it. Then after cutting out the traced figures, tape them to the wall so you can get a preview of your finalized project. You’ll also want to label the templates to keep track of which work of art it represents. Then begin arranging from the bottom and middle of your space, working up and out. 

If your display is above furniture, you’ll want to place the bottom edge of the frame about 8 inches above the back of the chair, couch, or whatever you’re using. Then place your art on either side of the first piece, but with their bottom edges staying in line with the furniture’s bottom. Also, it’s a good idea to leave at some space between the items so that each piece stands out on its own. 

Another option for previewing your arrangement is the use of a spirit level and a pencil to mark the wall before you drill any holes. 

In any event, you may decide to use your intuition at times when deciding what will look best. But there are a few ideas to keep in mind with arranging your art. For example, it’s generally recommended to keep the largest pieces away from the outer edges of the overall artwork, but at the same time, ensure they’re not directly in the center as well. Such positioning can draw focus to the display’s asymmetry in a negative way.

A new salon-style hang can certainly be a tricky proposition, and you may have to follow your instincts at times, but we hope this how-to-guide will give your home a colorful boost with its new salon-style hang!