Inside: What’s the right height to hang pictures and art on your walls? If you’re not sure, these easy tips will help guide you to find the perfect placement! ➡
In addition to blogging, I also sometimes stage homes getting them ready to sell.
And what is one of the most often made decorating mistakes in people’s homes that annoys my inner perfectionist?
The artwork is almost always hung too high.
As someone who fiddles and futzes with things until they look just right, this really bothers me way more than it should. I used to be guilty of making an embarrassing number of holes in the wall to hang a picture before I was happy with it.
So in Part Three of my “Must-Have Measurements for the Home” guide, I’m sharing my research on the perfect placement for artwork.
The guide is broken down into four categories to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. The other three parts are guidelines for placing:
I’ve even made a cheat sheet with all of the basic numbers from each post that you can print and keep on file. 😊
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Where to hang artwork.
As with the rest of the guide, keep in mind this is just a general rule of thumb 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.
Let’s first talk about artwork according to the kind of space:
Artwork on an empty wall.
So what’s the magic number? The standard rule is that a single piece of artwork should be hung with the center of the artwork 57-60″ from the floor. You’ll sometimes hear this referred to as the 57-inch rule.
This is the best way to place the artwork at eye level for the average height person. I think people go astray by trying to eyeball and guess what the average eye level is based on the height of their individual view.
Formula for How High to Hang Art on a Blank Wall
Divide the total height of the artwork by two
Subtract from that number the distance from the top of the frame to the hanging hardware or pulled up picture wire
Add this number to 57″, 58″, 59″, or 60″
The ending number is the correct height to put your nail or hanger on the wall.
On a wall with tall or soaring ceilings, the rule is the same. You’ll still hang the artwork with the center at 57-60″ from the floor, but you’ll want to choose a large piece for high ceilings. 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 art. So once again the rule is the same: the center of the 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 instead of the center of the picture. But the height of the artwork will determine the exact placement. Have someone hold it up while you decide the ideal height.
Artwork above furniture.
The artwork should always relate to the furniture piece that’s below it, whether it’s the top of the sofa, a console table, or a bed.
How high above furniture: 6-8″ from the top of the furniture to the bottom of the frame.
How wide above furniture: The general rule is that artwork should be about 50-75% of 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 it would also be at the correct height above it:
Artwork above a fireplace mantel.
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, pieces of art 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’s recommended never to go above 6″ apart for a grouping of artwork. If the gallery is hanging above furniture or a mantle, stick with the rule of having the bottom pieces 6-8″ above the furniture.
While we’re 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.
While going small on individual pictures is bad, sometimes going big is good. To up the design drama in a room, interior designers will often use oversized artwork as a focal point.
Tips for hanging artwork.
- An easy trick for knowing where to place the nails for artwork with fixed hangers is to use toothpaste! Dab a bit of toothpaste onto the hangers 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. After putting in the nails, 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.
Hanging that special picture at the proper height will help your carefully selected artwork look its best.
Don’t ever be afraid to move wall art that just doesn’t look right to you. Holes are easy to fill with a little spackle and a dab of paint.
I could have saved many of those holes in the wall if I’d only known a few of these general guidelines before (and if I would measure more often instead of eyeballing – I still struggle with that.)
As always, I appreciate your visit, comments, and shares here on the blog! I’d love it if you also follow along with me on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook so you won’t miss any of my inspiration and ideas.
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:
Part 2 was all about Bathroom Fixtures:
And Part 4 was about where to put Furniture and Area Rugs:
Before you go:
Don’t forget to grab the printable guide.
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 member of the SH&H family, I’d love to have you join me! You’ll not only get email updates, but you’ll have exclusive access to all the bonus materials in my free subscriber-only library, like this one.
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I love your post . Each one is very informative.
where can I find the printable for hanging artwork? I tried finding the library, but no luck.
Thanks for your excellent work.
Thanks so much Diana! If you scroll ALL the way to the bottom of any page on the site, there’s a footer menu and the far left hand category is the “subscriber only library”. Since you’re a subscriber, you have the password at the bottom of every email you get from me, but if you can’t find it let me know and I’ll email it to you!😃
Renae Frey says
Great tips. Are you going to haven this year? I would love to spend some time with you.
Thanks Renae! I’m not planning on going to Haven this year, but I did sign up for the Achieve conference in Waco which is close to me. Are you going to it? You’ll have to fill me in on what I miss at Haven.
OK, here’s a question. We have wainscotting in our dining room and I just bought a new artwork piece for one of the walls. How do you measure for artwork above wainscotting? I just hung it where I thought it looked good.
If you think it looks good you probably picked the best placement! Where to hang pieces in a room with wainscoting can depend on the room, the height of the wainscoting, and the size of the art. Personally I notice I usually like it hung on the wainscoting more if it is anchored above a piece of furniture, but otherwise I usually see pieces that fit above or even sit on the rail.