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How to Display Oil Paintings

The center of the painting should be at eye level.
Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Whether you collect oil paintings or paint your own, the way you display them influences their impact and your home décor. A painting in a crammed space may lose its visual impact, while a properly displayed painting will properly embellish the room. An oil painting should also be displayed in appropriate environmental conditions so the it won't suffer any damage, including a change in the colors over time.

Things You'll Need:

  • Picture Hooks
  • Frame
  • Wire
  • Spotlights (Optional)
  • Screws
  • Thermometer

Select a suitable frame for your painting. While classic paintings work best with intricate frame models or frames with golden leaf applications, modern paintings look best in simple black or white frames.

Choose a location for your painting. Display a large painting on a wall where you have plenty of space, such as over a couch. Don't squeeze in the painting with several other wall hangings because the space will look too busy, won't be visually pleasing and the effect of your painting will be diminished. Display a small painting on a small wall or above larger furniture pieces. Small paintings work with other pieces, but make sure you place them at least three or four inches apart.

Display the painting so that its center is at eye level when you are standing up. This is typically 60 to 66 inches from the floor. Make sure that the frame is parallel to the floor.

Insert two screws on the back of the canvas stretcher, at least three or four inches from the top. Select the size of the screws according to the size of your painting. Cut a piece of wire that is two inches longer than the distance between the screws. This wire is your hanger. Tie each end of the wire around the screws.

Insert two picture hooks in the wall where you will display the painting and hang the painting.

Place some spotlights above and below the painting if you want to draw the attention to it. Don't place the lights directly over the painting, because the heat the lights produce may affect the colors.

Keep the room temperature constant -- between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit in winter and between 70 and 75 degrees during summer. Extreme temperature fluctuations may cause the oil paints to crack. If possible, keep a thermometer near the painting so you can check the temperature.


The recommended room humidity is between 40 and 45 percent during winter and 45 to 55 percent during summer.


  • Don't display oil paintings in direct sunlight, because the light may affect the colors over time. Avoid displaying oil paintings above fireplaces or other heat sources, because the heat damages the colors. Keep the paintings in a room where smoking is not allowed, because the smoke may affect the colors.
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