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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.

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How High To Hang Pictures

How High to Hang Art

Sources: Art Frames | Console Table | Beachcomber Basket | Lamp | Faux Potted Fittonia Plant | Brass Turtle Trinket Box | Elements of Style Book | Homebody Book | Tracery Book

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.

Art hanging on a fireplace mantle

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.

How high to hang art over a 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 â…” 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.

Pink girl's bedroom with art above bed

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.

Art in a Stairwell
My favorite stairwell gallery wall belongs to Bre from Rooms for Rent. LOVE it!

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.

Gallery Wall in the Living Room

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.

Where Are the Best Places to Find Artwork for Hanging?

Do you cringe at the thought of the expense of buying artwork? Perhaps you hear “art” and think of wealthy collectors purchasing one of a kind items that few people can afford.

Fear not! There are some very affordable places you can find some artwork you’ll love online!

Check out these sites and fill your home with wallet-friendly color and personality. (Click the pink names to go directly to each site.)

Minted

This site allows you to search by color, medium or style to find pieces from independent artists that you’ll treasure. With very reasonable prices (often under $200 for framed medium-sized pieces) and a huge variety ranging from photographs to watercolors, you’re sure to find something for your home.

Etsy

Etsy is a personal favorite when it comes to finding original art. The catch, though, is that you need to do some scrolling (rather than conducting a simple search) to find what you’re looking for.

Lindsay Letters

Affordable. Beautiful. Inspiring. That’s what you’ll find at Lindsay’s Letters.

From lettered art to abstract art and a lot in between, you’ll find something you can’t pass up here.

Feed Your Soul

Feed Your Soul is an art project where artists offer their art for free, and it’s completely legal to print off and use their work. You can find florals, watercolors, abstracts, drawings and more.

Juniper Print Shop

If you’re in the market for larger pieces, you can’t beat the prices at Juniper Print Shop. Purchase a physical print to be delivered directly to your door, or opt for a cheaper digital download of the same print and print it at home or have it printed at Staples, Office Depot, Costco or another local printer.

FREE PRINTABLE

As always, I love a free printable for budget-friendly art. It may be harder to find the perfect piece, but so many creators offer free printable art these days, that you’re sure to find something you love! These free botanical printables are very popular.

How High to Hang Pictures

I hope today’s post helped you gain some confidence in hanging your pictures and artwork around your home. Go grab some art and have fun decorating!

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5 Comments

  1. I love your idea to tape templates to the wall and then evaluate how it looks from a distance. My sister told me she’s looking for a custom framing service for her family pictures but doesn’t know exactly where to hang them when they’re finished. I’m glad I read your article so I can pass along these tips and make it easier for her to plan the best location for the pictures!

  2. Did you have a tip for actually getting that little hook on the nail/hanger? I thought I read something but can’t find it now!
    Thanks

  3. Well said! I can add one little tip to your final tip. I love working with paper templates of my wall art. For years I considered all that tracing and cutting paper a waste of time, but what a difference it makes! Bump that tip up a half notch by taking a picture of the templates on the wall, and evaluating it in picture form. It gives you a bigger perspective!

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