How High: Tips for Hanging Artwork

As a designer, I have learned to embrace all types of design. It actually stresses me out when someone asks me what my personal style is because most of the time, I just can’t choose! Personally, I don’t like to limit myself to one style or another. As I see it, no two clients or spaces are the same, so its essential I go into each project with an open mind and willingness to listen and learn before jumping ahead to a design solution. That said, I do my best to check all judgement at the door prior to entering any new space. Still, there are certain pet peeves I just cannot ignore… one of the biggest being artwork that is hung too high or too low.

I just can’t help it; it truly hurts my heart when I see the most gorgeous piece of artwork hung at the wrong height. It may sound dramatic, but in my opinion it can really make or break the cohesiveness of a space. So how can you avoid making this mistake in your own home?

When it comes to hanging artwork, it is safe to say that one ‘height’ doesn’t fit all. Many times, the perfect placement comes down to a judgement call. Unfortunately, there is no set calculation for making the right judgement call. So for those of you who don’t have an eye for this sort of thing, here are some general rules I like to live by.

Ceiling Heights

Different ceiling heights can impact the best height for hanging artwork. Typical ceilings range anywhere from 7ft – 9ft (9ft being pretty generous). For people with ceiling heights in this range, when hanging artwork that is typically viewed from a standing position, you want the center of the artwork to be 57″ – 59″ above the floor. See below.

ARTWORK TYPICAL CEILING HEIGHT

For those of you whose ceilings are a bit more generous, artwork that is typically viewed from a standing position, should be hung so that the center hangs 60″ – 66″ above the floor. See below.

ARTWORK HIGH CEILING HEIGHT

Above Furniture

For artwork that is being hung above a piece of furniture (like a sofa for example) I typically recomend that the artwork is at least 2/3  the length of the piece of furniture it is hanging over. As for how high it is hung… the bottom of the artwork should hang anywhere from 7″ – 10″ from the top of the furniture piece below it (sometimes even an inch or two lower). I’ll be honest, this too can often come down to a judgement call, but this is generally a safe range to stick to.

ARTWORK ABOVE SOFA 1

The 2 /3 rule remains true whether you are hanging one big picture, two side by side, or going for more of a gallery wall effect. If you are hanging multiple pieces of artwork, I recommend spacing them anywhere from 2″ – 5″ apart. Again, this may come down to another judgement call, so my best piece of advise here is make sure you are always consistent! See below.

ARTWORK ABOVE SOFA 2

ARTWORK ABOVE SOFA 3

Final Tips

  1. More times than not, people hang artwork too high… so when in doubt, go lower!
  2. Pick art that is a little on the bigger side… too small can often leave a room feeling unfinished. I know bigger pieces of art can be an expensive investment, but there are plenty of affordable retailers out there that can help you capture the look you’re going for without breaking the bank!
  3. Treat multiple pieces of art you want to hang together as one whole unit. Collections of art should feel connected and related to one another. Also try to engage the wall you’re working with as much as possible.
  4. Forget hanging art at “eye level.” I’m 4’11” and my boyfriend is 5’9″ … needless to say we don’t have the same eye level!
  5. For lower ceilings with crown molding, don’t let the top of your art cover it up. Leave some space between the top of the piece of art and the molding… this way you’ll avoid your wall appearing too crowded.
  6. Spend the time to figure out where you want something hung before taking out a hammer! Sometimes I even make myself a template by cutting a piece of paper to the exact size of the art and hang it on the wall with painters tape so I can play around with how high or low I want the piece hung. Trust me, its worth it to get it right!
  7. Remember, all rules are meant to be broken, so don’t be afraid to go with your gut! 🙂

Have artwork you are struggling to hang? Comment below and I’ll share my thoughts!

xx Linnie

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