Top 5 Design Questions – Wall Art Size and Placement Guide
Welcome to our 3rd installment in a 5-part series where we answer your questions about the right way to hang art.
Who doesn’t love art? Art is probably one of the most personal parts of your home and a perfect avenue of self-expression. Whether you are hanging a grouping of art or one statement piece this guide will help you learn how to hang wall art- plus a few extra tricks of the trade!
We often find that people have a tendency to hang artwork too high. Why do they do this?!! Tip–Always hang your artwork at 57″ on center. What do we mean by “on center” you ask? On center, meaning that the center of the overall height of the artwork is always at 57″ above the floor. This is just a tool for overall hanging height of the artwork-obviously, the hook will be higher. Where did we get 57 inches? The 57″ standard represents the average human eye-height or eye-level.
57″ on center is a very pleasing height for the eye. This tends to be a lot lower than most people naturally hang their artwork. It also means that your artwork is going to hang in closer proximity to the other elements in your home, such as furniture, rugs, lighting, etc. and will therefore “speak the same language” as everything else in the space, which is a GOOD THING.
So, here’s what to do.
1. Measure and lightly mark 57″ from the floor with a pencil on the wall
2. Measure the height of the artwork and divide by 2 (this gives you the center)
3. Measure the top of your art to the tightened wire
4. Subtract the “tight wire” amount from the 1/2 height amount for the hook height. This will tell you how far above 57″ your hook should go.
5. Lightly mark the hook height with a pencil on the wall
1. Art is 20″ tall
2. Middle is at 10″ (this mid point should rest at 57″ above the floor)
3. Tightened wire comes to 2″ below the top
4. 10″ – 2″ = 8″
5. Lightly mark 8″ above your first mark OR 65″ from the floor
This may seem complicated, but it’s actually quite simple. Always remember that the CENTER of all of your art should be hanging at 57″, and you are just figuring out where the hook needs to go above that mark.
This 57″ principle also applies to groups of art. Think of a group as ONE picture. After you arrange how you want them all to hang, start with the center picture or pictures and get them at 57″ on center. Then surround them with the rest of the group. Tip-Lay all of the pieces out on the floor first to figure out how you’d like to arrange them. Trust us it makes it SO much easier!
Above a Sofa or Console Table
When you are hanging artwork above a sofa, leave at least 6-8 inches between the top of the sofa and the bottom of the piece of art. This also applies when hanging artwork above a console table, sideboard, dresser-basically any kind of table. However, there is a little wiggle room here depending on ceiling height. If your ceiling height is higher than 8 feet, you can get away with hanging your artwork 10 inches above a table. A statement piece of art can sometimes look amazing, simply sitting on top of a console table!
Another common mistake we see is the scale of the art not making sense with the furniture piece it’s hanging above. Having pieces that are too small or too large will make the whole arrangement look odd and out of place. Make sure artwork is at least 2/3 the length of the sofa or sideboard. For example, a sofa that is 9 feet long should have a 6 foot wide expanse of art above it.
The ever-popular gallery arrangement is an easy solution for blank walls. Start by defining the dimensions of your display. Position the most prominent piece at eye level-57″ above the floor-in the center and work outward. If you’re going with different frames, spread them out a bit to give a little breathing room between each piece. For added interest, throw in something a little different such as a sculptural piece, plates or anything that speaks to you.
We hope this post has covered all of your basic questions on how to hang art – now get to hanging!
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Rebecca Gardner says
It was helpful when you explained that art hanging above a sofa or sideboard should be at least 2/3 of its width. My husband and I want to have some custom canvas prints made of our family portraits to decorate the living room of our new single-family home in the city. Thanks for sharing these tips we can keep in mind about the size and scale of the art to ensure it’ll look great when finished!
Sarah Dooley, Associate ASID says
We’re so happy this was helpful to you, good luck with your decorating!
Eileen Benson says
Thanks for the tip to leave at least six inches of space when hanging art above a couch. I want to get a few contemporary art paintings to hang in my new apartment in the city when I move in next month. I’m glad I read your article and learned how to hang them in a way that’ll look stylish when finished!