How High Should I Hang A Picture: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet

How high to hang pictures? Wall art placement tips

How high to hang pictures? Should they be at eye level? Does that mean my eye level or the eye level of the average person? What if I have very high ceilings? What about those gallery walls everyone is posting Pinterest pictures of? It's a lot to think about, right? Sometimes it seems as if there are as many answers to this question as there are different kinds of houses. This quick cheat sheet is designed to help you make this decision based on your own interior, and find the perfect height to hang pictures in your home. 

Should I hang this picture at eye level?

At first glance, eye level may seem like a good idea. However, "eye level" means something different for each individual. Especially if you're very tall or short, hanging at your eye level can be problematic. Instead of hanging pictures at your subjective eye level, follow the hanging guidelines in this article evenly throughout your interior. That way your paintings will look good, no matter whose eyes are beholding.

How High Should I Hang A Picture: Hallway or Entryway

How high to hang pictures in a hallway or entryway?

As a rule of thumb, it's best to hang your picture at least 60 inches from the ground in places where they will be viewed from a standing position, such as in a hallway. For smaller pictures, you can hang them a little higher, about 65 inches. This height is the most comfortable for people of all sizes.

If you're putting in a gallery wall that will be viewed from a standing position, the bottom edge of it should be at least 60 inches from the floor. The gallery wall can go up as high as you want but make sure you leave a gap of at least one foot between the highest point of the gallery wall and the ceiling.

How High Should I Hang A Picture: Above the Sofa

How do I hang pictures above a sofa?

Whether it's one large work of art or a grouping of several, there are a couple of rules to hanging pictures over a sofa.

The first is that you should hang any pictures at least 8 inches from the back of the sofa. The second is that width of the work, or works of art, should take up about 2/3 the width of the sofa. If you have a small interior, use a mix of small and medium sized pictures to fill up that space. If you have a lot of wall space to fill or a large sofa, go for bigger pictures.

These rules also work if you are hanging pictures above a console or hallway table.

How do I hang pictures along staircases?

Staircases are good places to put gallery walls. Groupings of smaller pictures should go along the staircase diagonally, at least 60 inches from the bottom of each stair. Because of the height differences between stairs, this is not the place for large pictures. Leave those for spaces with even elevation.

Also, just as in other spaces, you don't want to hang all the way up to the ceiling. Leave a gap of at least one foot from the top of the picture and the ceiling. It's okay if it's not perfectly measured out. You have some wiggle room here to arrange the pictures in the way that looks best.

How High Should I Hang A Picture: In a room with high ceilings

What about in rooms with high ceilings?

Unless you live at Downton Abbey, your pictures should not be hung floor to ceiling or "salon style." This preferred picture hanging style of the old European aristocracy just doesn't look good in modern interiors. Even the oldest museums don't hang this way anymore!

If you don't want your high-ceilinged living room to look like Hogwarts, leave the top third to a half of your wall space free. How much space you leave depends on how high your ceilings are. If you have a two story high great room or entry foyer, keep pictures in the bottom half. If your have high ceilings don't reach two stories, hang in the bottom two thirds.

Also, when you have a lot of wall space, it's better to hang up one large picture instead of many small ones.

How High Should I Hang A Picture: Above the Fireplace

The right height for wall art above a fireplace?

The best thing to hang above a fireplace is a mirror. Why? Because the heat and dryness of the fire will slowly damage any work of art you put above it. But hanging a work of art is fine if you don't light the fire that often or if the fire isn't real (and therefore, doesn't get too hot). That said, the rules for hanging mirrors in your home are the same as for hanging pictures.

Hang the mirror at least eight inches from the mantelpiece. The mirror (and it should be only one large mirror) should measure about 2/3 of the width of the mantelpiece.

 Art is a crucial ingredient to making your house feel like a home. Using the tricks in this cheat sheet, you will be able to hang your favorite pictures in a balanced way that compliments the rest of your interior. These simple tricks also work in any room. So whether you're hanging pictures of the kids in the den or framing up some seashells in your coastal bathroom, your pictures will always look perfect!

We've talked about art in the home, now let's discuss lighting! Here are a few tricks on how to achieve a Scandinavian feel using lights.

Scandinavian lighting tips

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bakelite on Mar 13, 2008:

You need an electricaly driven pully system to alter the eye level automatically. That would be cool :-)

jasimar on Mar 09, 2007:

Well, that's a pretty good idea but I'm 59" so eye level would be like.. midwall for me.  I say balance your arrangement nicely at least a third above the floor.  I'd -hate- to dust pictures going down to the baseboard

Lumenvista on Mar 04, 2007:

In the case of my apartment.  The women who had the place remodeled designed it like her house and had all the light switches, including the termastat placed at thigh level.  That way all her artwork does not have the distraction of ugly switches.  I will be in trouble if she ever came in to see how I have hung artwork on the walls!  I am sure none of my laserprinter masterpieces are centered at 52 inches height.

Senseless on Jan 08, 2007:

I think pictures should be randomly dispersed unless the furniture of the room is very linear plus it saves you worrying if they are all hanging at the same hieght.

dmittleman on Dec 28, 2006:

Dear DIY Maven,

Perhaps you should find art where he loves the top half and you love the bottom half.

dmittleman on Dec 28, 2006:

Um, doesn't it depend on how high the ceiling is? 

I try to hang my paintings in a variety of ways...

1. On an open wall (I have a gallery wall in my foyer) I hang them so the vertical center is at my eye hight (about 66").

2. Over my protruding fire place I hang them to horizontal center (leaving four or so inches on each side (depending on frame size) and then leave an equal amount of space below to the fire place.

3. If I have furniture below (for example, I have a painting on exposed brick over a wine cabinet), I raise the painting well above eye height to provide a vertical balance between furniture and ceiling.

So the answer is not a simple 52" measure. IMHO

benmoore on Dec 28, 2006:

I like "flying pictures".  I'll be sure to use that one.

DIY Maven on Dec 28, 2006:

The problem with hanging art at eye level in my house is my man is a foot taller than I am ;)

designbyphoto on Dec 27, 2006:

I think paintings should be hung at eye level to how you view them.  In a living room you are most likely sitting, so try to hang the painting centered on your eye when seated.  In a hall or gallery you would hang them centered with your eye when standing.  You will feel like you are hanging things very low but the room will look much better.

The term we use in the industry for how most paintings are typically hung is "flying pictues" (because most people hang them too high).  Personally I like painting groups that go down to the base board.

Good question,





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