Fantastic Tips for Perfectly Placed Art

Man hanging pictures

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If you're not sure how high to hang art on your walls, you're not alone. 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. This tip sounds easy enough until you consider that eye level for you may not be eye level for other people in your household. It also doesn't take into consideration gallery walls, pieces of art hung above furniture, or frames in especially large or small sizes. The advice to hang pictures at eye level for the average person, or between 60 and 65 inches from the floor, is a good guideline, but by no means is it a hard-and-fast rule.

Consider How Art Relates to Everything Around It

A better approach is to weigh a few different factors to determine the proper height to hang pictures. Think of the artwork you're hanging and its relationship to its surroundings. Whether you hang a framed picture over a sofa, on a stairway wall, or in the entryway, each of these spaces has unique elements to consider.

Here are more tips on hanging art in your home:

Hallways and entryways: Will you mostly be standing in the room? 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.

Rooms with seats: 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.

Consider size: A large framed piece over a sofa or sideboard relates more easily when hung so the bottom of the frame is positioned six-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.

Gallery walls: 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.

Vertical art: 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 the top third 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 so you can see what looks best.

Small pictures: 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.

Use templates: 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.

Rather than only going by the eye level rule, always view artwork in relation to a room’s furnishings. Take the time to try out various heights and locations before you punch holes in the wall for picture hooks.