How High To Hang Pictures (Guide For The Perfect Height)


I started my Design Mistakes series many years ago. It began as a way to showcase some of the mistakes I made around my own home while helping others learn the dos and don’ts when it comes to home design. Well, it quickly turned into my most popular series here on the blog!

Here are some fan-favorite posts from the series. Or you can peruse them all right here.

Design Mistake – Wall Art Placement

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This is one of the most common design mistakes I see. Most people hang their wall art WAY TOO HIGH. It’s such a bummer because I’ve seen some gorgeous art pieces in homes, but you have to crane your neck to actually see them. I’m all about people displaying their favorite pieces in their homes. Fill up those blank walls, people! Let’s just put those pieces in the right spot so they make your space look better, not worse.

Hopefully, after reading today’s post you’ll have a better understanding of WHERE exactly to hang your wall art. With my tips, you’ll hang all of your pieces of art at the perfect height from here on out!

The Wrong Height

a common home design mistake - hanging art way too high

Many people go by the rule of thumb to hang pieces at “eye level”, but if you’re tall, that may be a bit too high. Also, it doesn’t always make sense to hang art at eye level if you’re placing it over a couch or dresser.

The Right Height

The right way to hang art on your walls

Here are two general guidelines to get your picture frames and art hung at the correct height on your walls.

  • Ditch The Eye-Level Rule: This doesn’t work if you’re tall or you have high ceilings. Instead, think of the wall in 4 sections vertically (from the bottom to the top). Then, place your art in the 3rd section up from the floor. Don’t work in the 2nd or the 4th – that’s when you’ll be in the too-low or too-high territory!
  • 57-60 Inches Often Works: The general rule of thumb is to place the center of your picture about 57″ to 60″ off the ground. This formula doesn’t work for every situation, but it’s a good place to start when hanging your piece. When in doubt, follow the 57-inch rule for your center point.

Hanging Artwork Above Furniture

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If you’re hanging a piece above a sofa, dresser, or bed, you don’t want it to feel like it’s floating up way too high. If you go with the “eye level” rule, then it will feel very disjointed. Instead, I usually go about 4 to 8 inches above the top of the furniture piece. This provides visual balance.

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For example, the console table in our front entryway is pretty low. If I had hung the art at eye level, it would be way too high and far away from the console. Instead, I placed the bottom of the frame about six inches above the console. This is the best way to make this entire area work in harmony.

How High To Hang A Gallery Wall

How high to hang pictures on your walls

If you’re hanging a gallery wall, then you want to think of the entire collection as one piece of art. Therefore, the very top and the very bottom of the grouping shouldn’t be hung too high or too low. Instead, think about the center of the grouping.

Our organic modern living room style

First, figure out the center of the artwork collection and have that be about 57″ off the floor. You then want to space your frames about two to three inches apart. If you spread them out more, the entire grouping will look disjointed.

Exceptions To My Rules

Of course, there are always exceptions to these design rules. For example, in my daughter’s room, I added a chair rail on her walls that covers the bottom portion of the walls.

Our baby girl's nursery

Typically, I would hang this large piece of art lower, above the dresser – about 4-8″ inches from the surface of the dresser. However, using that rule, it would hang right over the chair rail. Here, I decided to hang the bottom of the picture about 2-3″ above the chair rail.

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I chose the same process with her gallery wall. If the chair rail wasn’t there, I would hang the whole grouping lower on the wall. Instead, I decided to go about 2-3″ above the top of the chair rail.

The Wrong Scale

how to master scale when it comes to artwork

So, you now understand how high to hang your pictures. But there’s still another hurdle to overcome. Is your piece too small? I know art and frames can be pricey. And the bigger you go, the bigger the price tag. However, I see too many people hanging small pieces on an empty wall. Unless you’re hanging a gallery wall, let’s ditch the small pictures.

How to master scale and height when it comes to hanging artwork

Scale is so important when it comes to wall art and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Look at how much better the room above looks when the artwork is the right size on that large wall! It’s now the focal point of the space and it’s hung at the ideal height.

How To Master Scale With Artwork

jan's bright bedroom makeover

An easy rule of thumb for hanging art above a bed, or any piece of furniture, is that it should fill at least 1/2 to 2/3 of the space.

For my mom’s bedroom, we needed a big piece to go over her king-sized bed. This oversized artwork worked out beautifully. If you’re going with a single piece of artwork, please make sure it is large enough.

Main bedroom after

In this reader home tour, Lauren and Kam chose three framed prints over their bed. These smaller pieces look fantastic, especially on that dark wall! The three frames act as one unified piece, taking up over two-thirds of the bed. If they had hung only one of these, it would have been the wrong scale. They’re also hung at the best height, a few inches away from the top of the headboard.

Tips To Choose The Correct Scale Of Art

Solar shades in our living room

Here are some general tips when it comes to scale.

  • Over Furniture: Make sure the art (or grouping of art) takes up at least 1/2 – 2/3 the width of the piece of furniture.
  • Fill up the Wall: It’s important to take up as much of the wall space as possible when hanging your pieces.
  • Bigger is Better: When in doubt, try an oversized piece. It will look much better than putting a dinky piece on your wall.
  • Take a Picture: Before you actually hang the piece, I suggest having someone hold it up and take a photo. Then look at the picture with fresh eyes and decide if the piece really works for the space. Make the proper adjustments until it looks perfect! You could also use painter’s tape to see it before you put any holes in your walls.
  • Group Closely: If you are hanging a group of 2-4 symmetrical frames or even a gallery wall, then make sure you hang the pieces closely. A couple of inches between frames will ensure that the grouping looks cohesive.

Hang Your Art With Confidence!

Symmetrical gallery wall in the hallway

These small tweaks will make your walls look so much better. Trust me! You may have to go around your home and make a few adjustments (and fill some nail holes), but I promise you won’t regret hanging your art correctly. 

Ellis' nursery reveal

It doesn’t matter if it’s your bedroom, bathroom, or living room. When you correctly place the frames and art on your walls, those pieces will shine and make your home look much more polished.

Casey

More Wall Art Ideas

Now that you know how to hang art properly, get inspired by these blog posts.


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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