'Picture Hanging 101' 

home styling magazine asks for tips

When thinking about where in the house to hang artwork, what are some of the things to consider? 
The first thing we ask a client is, "what are your favourites? What are your non-negotiables". Locating the most loved artworks first, really helps when it comes to making decisions on the remaining collection of items.
The second thing, is to cover off the big items. There will only be a few wall-options in any house for big items, so best not reduce the options by using up big walls with smaller items. We also find that the 'first-thing' & 'second-thing' can in fact get covered off together, as they are often the one and the same.

How does the scale of your wall and the size of your art influence what works where? What are your recommendations for placement of large pieces/small pieces?
Refer to the above paragraph(s).

Any techniques for previewing what might work in a given space? Example: using cardboard cut to the size of the work and blue-tacking to the wall - would you recommend this? 
We don't do this method, due to the simple fact that an artwork's influence or impact can't be measured simply by it's dimensions. We prefer to hold the artwork in place (use two people if it's big, three if it's huge) and then make a decision. You'll know pretty quickly if it works. Or not. If it's not a confident "yeah-baby" then best look for something alternative to go there.

If planning a collage or gallery of smaller works, what are the key considerations? Any tips for getting it right? So we do about 3 of these montages per day (over 20 yrs of hanging, they add up). After the first 2 or 3 thousand, one begins to see what makes for a good montage, & what makes for an epic one, and it's not what people think. In my humble opinion, the two key factors for an epic montage are, 'quantity & scale'. Let me qualify that; By quantity, I don't mean that 'more' is better, I'm meaning the 'right' quantity. We've installed single montages with more than 100 items that don't look as successful as some with only 25 items. So, 'quantity' means the 'right' quantity, with respect to the size of the wall, & the 'space' as a whole.
By 'scale' I'm meaning the scale of pictures (or more specifically, their frames). Their scale is really important. They need to have conspicuous difference. The scale of big ones need to be a lot bigger than the scale of small ones. If their overall difference of scale is only marginal then the end result will look like a messy grid. For example, if you have 15 frames and the biggest ones are A4s and the smallest ones are A5s, then by the laws of repetition, once they are gathered together in close proximity to one another, they will have the appearance of a 'grid-gone-wrong'. Nobody likes a grid gone wrong. The success of the 'grid' is it's exactness, the success of a random looking montage is its randomness, not it's same-sameness.

On an empty wall, is centre always best? What are the options to consider? And what about the height of the picture – is there an optimum? 
This is a complex & multi-faceted question with multiple possible answers. So the quick answer would have to be yes. And no. For us, what is most important is 'context'. The context of the wall with respect to the door? Or the fireplace? Or the standing lamp in the corner, next to the massive couch? All of these factors need to be considered before positioning the artwork. Centering the picture is the right decision much of the time, but not always. Its the same principle regarding heights. We work with many 'interiors' professionals, and they all have their own theories on heights in relation to the centre of the picture. But at the end of the day, the height of the centre of the picture has to be - for example - where the fireplace will allow it to be... and not at eye height.

What is best practice for hooks - two at equidistance from the frame? How do you ensure accuracy with the wire? We don't use wire. Wire or string or chain or cord is not 'best practice'. Twin-pin hanging system is by far the most accurate & efficient way to hang artworks/mirrors. For the best advice on hanging pictures & heavy mirrors, we have "how-to" videos on our website,  www.picturehanging.co.nz 

How do you counter wall studs maybe not being where you need them?
The correct hardware to use when hanging into 'hollow wall' (gibboard walls) when the studs aren't where you need them to be, really depends on what you're trying to hang. The first rule-of-thumb for hanging average sized pictures (anything up to about 9kg or 1000mm by 700mm) is to not use string or chain or wire or cord, but rather the twin-pin hanging system. 
Refer to our website for helpful 'how-to' videos; for items bigger and heavier, then seek out the right hardware for the specific weight.
Or simply seek out a professional. www.picturehanging.co.nz