Part Three of my “Must-Have Measurements for the Home” Guide is all about Artwork…if you’re not sure how high to hang art on your walls, these tips will help guide you to find the perfect placement! ⟹
In addition to blogging, I also sometimes stage homes getting them ready for sale. And one of the most often made decorating mistakes I notice in people’s homes is the artwork is almost always hung way too high!
As someone who fiddles and futzes with things until they look just right, this really bothers me more than it should. Ask my husband how many holes I’ve made in a wall to hang a picture in the past before I felt like it was in the right place.
I could have saved many of those holes if I’d only known a few of these general guidelines in advance! (And if I would measure more often instead of eyeballing…I still struggle with that.)
So in Part Three of my “Must-Have Measurements for the Home” guide, I’m sharing the perfect placement for artwork. I’ve broken it down into four categories to make it easier to find what you are looking for and at the bottom of this post you can find the links to the other three parts…guidelines for placing lighting, bathroom fixtures, and furniture. I’ve even included a cheat sheet with all of the basic numbers from each post that you can print and keep on file!
As with the rest of the guide, keep in mind this is just a placement guide to get you started. There are always exceptions depending on the artwork, the wall space, what you are hanging above, and what kind of design statement you want to make.
So let’s talk about artwork by the numbers!
Part 3: Where to hang artwork
Artwork on a blank wall.
The standard rule is that a single piece of artwork should be hung with the center of the artwork 57-60″ from the floor. This puts the artwork at eye level for the average person. I think people go astray by trying to eyeball and guess what the average eye level is based on the height of their view.
So the formula is: 57″-60″ + 1/2 the height of the artwork – the allowance for how far down the hanger or wire is on the back = where you will put your nail or picture hanger.
On a wall with tall or soaring ceilings, the rule is still the same…you will still hang the artwork with the center at 57-60″ from the floor, but you will want to choose larger scale pieces. No dinky 8×10 pictures for large or tall walls.
When hanging a grouping or gallery, treat the entire group as a single piece of artwork. So once again the rule is the same: the center of the entire grouping should be 57-60″ from the floor.
Long Vertical art: In these cases, sometimes the 57″-60″ rule doesn’t work because the middle point becomes too high. For pieces that are much taller than they are wide, you may want to hang the artwork so the top third of the picture is near eye level but the height of the artwork will determine the exact placement. Have someone hold it up while you decide where it looks best.
Artwork above furniture.
The artwork should always relate to the piece of furniture that is below it.
How high above furniture: 6-8″ from the furniture top to the bottom of the artwork.
How wide above furniture: The general rule is that artwork should be about 50-75% the width of the piece of furniture below it. Going a little wider is okay but a single piece of artwork or a grouping should never be wider than the furniture it is hanging above.
If this tv above my dresser was a painting, the width would be appropriate for the dresser and so would the height it is hung above:
Artwork above fireplaces.
The artwork or grouping should be about the same width as the opening of the fireplace or about 2/3 of the size of the fireplace surround.
Artwork gallery or grouping spacing.
Generally, artwork hung in a gallery or grouping should all be equally spaced at 3-6 inches. For smaller artwork, tighter spacing of 3″ should be used and large artwork should have 5″-6″ between. It is recommended never to go above 6″ apart for a grouping of artwork. If the gallery is hanging above furniture, a mantle, stick with the rule of having the bottom pieces at 6-8″ above the furniture.
While we are talking about numbers and artwork, let’s not forget about size. This is common sense when you think about it, but so often done wrong. On a large wall, please, please don’t hang small pictures! You know when it doesn’t look right, as much as you wanted to hang that special piece there.
Tips for hanging artwork.
- A fun trick for knowing where to place the nails for artwork with fixed hangers is to use toothpaste! Dab a bit of toothpaste onto the nail hooks or holes on the back of the picture frame. Place a level on top of the frame and press the artwork to the wall where you want to hang it while the toothpaste is still wet. When you pull it away, the toothpaste will be left on the wall so that you know exactly where to put your nails and you can easily clean it off!
- If you need help planning out a gallery of artwork, trace your artwork pieces onto kraft or wrapping paper and cut out templates for each frame. Hang them on your wall with painter’s tape and move them around as much as you want to find the perfect placement before you ever hammer a nail!
I hope this guide helps you make your artwork look its best! Don’t ever be afraid to move artwork that just doesn’t look right to you. Holes are easy to fill with a little spackle and a dab of paint.
Pin this for reference later:
In case you missed the other parts of my “Must-Have Measurements for the Home”, Part 1 was all about Lighting…where to hang it and what size to choose:
And Part 4 was about where to put Furniture and Area Rugs and includes a free printable of the basic numbers from all four parts!
And don’t forget the free printable of the basic numbers from all four parts is in the subscriber only library in the footer menu. If you’re not already a subscriber, I hope that you’ll sign up so we don’t lose touch. I have lots of fun freebies in the library you may be interested in!
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