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Arranging Pictures: How To Display Photos & Prints Effectively

arranging pictures

Arranging pictures can be quite an infuriating business. Endless little tweaks and experiments sometimes amount to countless different ways of getting it wrong!

It's difficult to know how something will look until you see it in place. But whilst a lot does rest on the surrounding room, light and features, there are some general tips and principles worth keeping in mind when positioning your photography art.


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Having taken - or found - a picture that you love it's worth finding the best spot for it to be seen. Sometimes an image can quickly lose its impact, by shrinking against a nearby large item of furniture, for instance. The size and shape of thewall, the size of the room, surrounding colours - they're all important when considering how to display photos.

There are no hard and fast rules. It's fun to experiment, whether decorating living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, or wherever. Different styles suit different locations.

Find some inspiration by looking at examples: flick through magazines, notice how cafes, shops or restaurants display their photography art, browse the web and have a look at what your friends are doing.

To get the ball rolling for you, below are some of my thoughts and tips on how to display photos. To the right is my suggestion on a book that's packed with creative ideas for arranging pictures: At Home With Pictures.

How To Display Photos Based On Location

minimalist room

One big distinction to be made when thinking about how to display photos is between work/public and home environments. At home, you're free to express your own ideas and tastes in exactly the way you want to.

It's good to try new arrangements and blend the pictures in with the feel of your home. For instance, when decorating living rooms, I like to make use of wall space creatively and informally, allowing pictures to be part of the 'lived-in' environment.

But it's not good when things become messy and random! This is especially true when arranging pictures in a work or public environment. Usually for these locations a clean and uncluttered style is the name of the game.

The style of mounting and framing is also really important for arranging pictures. With stretched canvases, the surrounding colours - especially that of the wall - become a really crucial consideration. When hanging a group of pictures you need to think about how they are visually bound together, which often involves the framing.

What's the best height to display photography art? Well, art galleries use a very precise measurement and there are other rules of thumb too.


Find Inspiration!

Stuck for ideas? These magazines will fill your head with plans for framing and arranging pictures!

House Beautiful

Country Living



2. Tips for hanging photos in groups

Pictures look great displayed in groups. But it's important they don't appear as disparate items awkwardly clustered together. They need to have a strong visual unity. The style of mounting and framing can often provide this effectively. As can the subject of the pictures themselves.

Also, the arrangement you choose is really important in bringing together a group of photos as a single coherent display. Sometimes, often when an even number of pictures are used, they can appear very clean, calm and organised.

Groups of three or five often draw the eye towards the focal point of the middle picture. Larger groups look great too. It's fun to be bold when hanging a group of pictures - perhaps even covering an entire wall! They could be neatly and symmetrically arranged or placed totally at random for a really informal look. Here for some tips on hanging photos in groups.


I hope some of these tips have been useful. The best way to find inspiration for arranging pictures is to look at magazines like House and Garden.

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