How High to Hang Pictures {Top Tips for the Best Placement}

If the dilemma of how high to hang pictures or which pieces to put together has you stumped, you won’t feel that way after reading these tips and tricks for hanging artwork around your home.

Have you ever wondered how high to hang pictures when you’re decorating? If so, you are definitely not alone!

I remember moving into a new house and walking around from room to hall to a different room with a wall-hanging in my hands and wondering where – and how high – to hang it.

How High To Hang Pictures

The advice I always heard was to display art and pictures so that the center of the picture is at eye level to allow for “proper viewing”. But, as many families (including my own) can tell you, what is eye level for one person won’t be eye level for other people.

Later on, I heard that the height to hang pictures should be at 60-65 inches from the floor to be optimal for most people. While that is no hard and fast rule, it probably does work in many cases of hanging single pieces of art.

If you’re hanging one piece above another, hang them so that the center between them is approximately 60 inches from the floor.

Consider Surroundings When Determining How High to Hang Pictures

However, the best thing I have discovered is to hang pictures and other artwork in a way that takes into account its surroundings. Examples of things to consider include a stairway wall, high ceilings, the fireplace mantel, the furniture, the shape of the room and other architectural elements.

Let’s walk through a few examples because how you hang pictures and other artwork varies in each example.

Hanging Pictures in an Entryway or Hallway

When hanging artwork in rooms where people will most likely be standing, it may make sense to opt for hanging your pieces slightly higher than the recommended 60-65 inches. That way you find the sweet spot where both shorter people and taller people can enjoy viewing your pieces.

Hallways are also an ideal area to create and hang a gallery wall of pictures or art!

Hanging Art Above a Couch

This visual from Ballard Designs is a great example of how to hang art above the couch.

When hanging items over the sofa, there are a few things to consider.

  • First, hang your piece(s) so that nothing goes below about 10 inches from the back of the couch.
  • Second, if you have a very large sofa or a large blank wall, try hanging a larger piece there rather than a small piece that will get swallowed up by its surroundings.
  • Next, if you don’t have a large picture to hang over the couch, then you could create a gallery-style wall, grouping several small and medium-sized pictures together.
  • Finally, your picture or gallery should take up approximately ⅔ of the width of the couch. 

All in all, assess the space above the couch and use your best judgment.

Hanging Pictures Above a Bed

When hanging pictures above a bed, they should hang no lower than 5” to 9” from the top of the headboard to the bottom of the frame.

Hanging Artwork Along Staircases

Staircases are prime real estate for gallery walls!

Group smaller pictures diagonally along the staircase with individual pictures hanging no lower than 60 inches from each stair.

Due to the architectural design of staircases, that wall space is not well-suited for hanging large pictures or pieces of art. I recommend saving those pieces of art for wall space that has an even elevation.

Hanging Pictures in Areas With Tall Ceilings

If you don’t want your home to look like something out of Downton Abbey, avoid hanging pictures from floor to ceiling. Instead, leave the top third to half of your wall empty to show off your high ceilings.

Hanging Pictures in Areas With Tall Ceilings

Hanging Pictures in Gallery Walls

When creating a gallery wall, think of the entire grouping as one object and hang them while taking into consideration the furniture, stairs or other surroundings.

Space smaller objects approximately 1” to 1.5” apart, while larger items look better with approximately 1’ to 3” of space between them.

I recently hung this gallery wall (above) in my living room and I love the symmetry of using the same picture frames.

Photo Tip: The trick to using different photos in the same gallery wall hanging is to use the same filter on each photo before you print it!

Single Best Tip For How High to Hang Pictures

With all this information to consider, the very best single tip I can give you if you are wavering on how high to hang your artwork is to create templates of your pictures (pieces of paper cut to the same size as your hangings) and tape them to the wall where you think you want them to hang.

Then step back and evaluate it from a distance.

  • Is it too high?
  • Is it too low?
  • Maybe it needs to move a little to the right or the left?

This allows you to find that perfect placement without hammering a bunch of unnecessary holes into your walls.

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