Let’s be honest!  Art is the focal point for many rooms and often serves as the inspiration for the overall design.  It takes time to find a piece that speaks to you so you don’t want to mess it up when you attempt to hang it.  After all our years in the business, the question we get asked most often pertains to the proper height when hanging artwork and we’ve seen our fair share of homes that have missed the mark.

Rule #1 – Center At Eye Level

We know what you’re thinking – who’s eye level?  The tallest person or the shortest?  No need to over complicate things.  The center of your picture should hang about eye level, which is 57″ from the floor.  The same applies if you have multiple frames at multiple sizes for a gallery wall.  Cluster them together and determine the middle. That middle spot should be 57″ and the ideal spacing between multiple pieces of art is 3” to 6”.

Always keep in mind that people shouldn’t strain themselves to view the artwork. By placing the center of the artwork at eye level, it ensures the art can be admired comfortably.

  • Begin by measuring 57 inches from the floor and mark it on the wall
  • Next, find the focal point of the artwork by measuring its height and dividing by two (ex. 34” frame divided by 2 = 17”)
  • Measure the top of the artwork to the tightened hanging wire or hook it will hang from. Subtract this number from the focal point number (ex. the hanging wire is 10” inches from the top of the frame, we subtract 10” from 17” to get 7”)
  • Take the new number and measure that distance above the 57-inch mark. This is where the hanger should be placed, so mark this spot (ex. 7” above the 57” mark, meaning the artwork will actually hang 64 inches from the floor.  By doing so, the artwork’s center will be at 57”)

Rule #2 – There Are Always Exceptions

As with anything in life, there are exceptions to the rule!  Large pieces of artwork, galleries or groupings that exceed 48” should be hung so the center is 48” to 57” from the floor.  Why you ask?  Because we say so!  All kidding aside, it looks much better overall and you won’t feel like you’re being engulfed by the enormity of the artwork.  That would be tragic.

Rule #3 – Over A Sofa/Headboard

If your art is going to be hung above a sofa or headboard, leave a gap of 4” to 8.”  You don’t want too much space between the top of your sofa/headboard and the bottom of your picture.  Not only will it look odd, but there will be a visual disconnect between the 2 pieces and you don’t want your artwork to act independently from the furniture.  It’s a cohesive look and well balanced.  They need to get along and place nicely with one another.

While we’re on the subject of artwork above a sofa, a good rule of thumb is to keep the piece approximately 2/3 the width of the sofa so it’s not competing for size.  Again, everyone needs to get along and not be overly competitive.

Rule #4 – Scale and Proportion Matter

Scale and proportion in art are both concerned with size. Scale refers to the size of an object (a whole) in relationship to another object (another whole). In art the size relationship between an object and the human body is significant.  Make sense?  In other words do yourself a favor and don’t place a small piece of art, which has no gumption whatsoever, anywhere near a large oversized piece of furniture.  You get the picture (awkward).

Rule #5 – Fireplace Mantles

If you have a fireplace mantle there should ideally be 3” to 6″ of wall space between the top of the mantle and the bottom of the picture.  The taller the mantle, the less distance needed between top of mantle and bottom of the artwork.  Shorter mantles or hearths without a mantle can accommodate more wall space in between.

Rule #6 – Have Fun And Enjoy

The 57” rule is a good average height, but if your eye level is different, be sure to use that measurement.  As we mentioned before, there are always exceptions to every rule.  We want you to love how your home, enjoy how your artwork is displayed and have fun in the process.


The Divas