If you're not sure how high to hang art on your walls, these tips offer helpful ideas and designer secrets for getting the best look when hanging artwork.
Hanging a Picture at Eye Level
You may have heard that you should hang artwork so the center of the picture is at eye level. Right away you may be confused, especially if you’re 5 feet tall and others in the house are over 6 feet tall. Also, does this eye level rule apply to all sizes of art or just large sizes? What about a grouping of several pieces of framed art? What if you are hanging a painting over a sofa–should it be hung at the same level as when the picture is used in a hallway?
How the Artwork Relates to Everything Around It
Ok, so here’s the deal. Approximately 60 to 65 inches from the floor to the center of the art is a place to start. It may be the perfect place to hang your particular piece of artwork, or it could look terrible. How do you know?
Begin to think of the artwork you are hanging as it relates to everything around it. Whether you hang a framed picture over a sofa, on a stairway wall, or in the hall, each of these spaces will have elements to consider.
Here are more tips on hanging art in your home:
- Will you mainly be standing in the room (as in an entryway or hallway)? If so, it may make sense to hang artwork a bit higher than the 60-65 inch center starting point–especially if the ceiling is tall.
- In a room where you generally sit down (a dining room, family room, or office), hang pictures a bit lower, so they can be enjoyed at a lower viewing angle. Sit in a chair and have someone hold the picture against the wall, moving it up and down so you can evaluate the look.
- Do you need to relate artwork to the furniture below it? Absolutely! A large framed piece over a sofa or sideboard relates more easily when hung so the bottom of the frame is positioned 6 to 12 inches above the top of the sofa back or tabletop. This won’t work, however, if your artwork is very small. In that case, consider hanging the piece in a group of other objects such as plates, mirrors, or decorative items.
- When working with a grouping of pictures or objects hung on a wall, think of the grouping as one large picture and relate the bottom of the entire grouping to the furniture underneath it.
- Does the center rule apply if you are hanging a tall vertical picture, panel, or poster? In this case, it may be better to think about placing the art so that the top one-third area of the picture is near eye level. However, the actual height of the piece will determine the best position on the wall. Again, have someone hold it lower and higher as you see what looks best.
- What about hanging small pictures? A small picture hung on a large wall can look out of balance. Look for narrow walls (such as the spaces between two doorways or windows) and consider hanging two or three small pictures in a vertical line. In this case, treat the center picture as the center of the grouping.
- If you’re hanging artwork by yourself, cut paper templates to size for each piece of art and attach the paper cutouts to the wall with painter’s tape. This will give you the option to stand back and see how the artwork’s size relates to your room and your furniture. Move the template up and down to find the perfect spot prior to hanging the picture.
To recap, the eye level rule you’ve heard about is just a general guideline but can be helpful as you begin to look for places to hang your art. Always view artwork in relation to a room’s furnishings and try out various heights before you punch holes in the wall for picture hooks.