How High to Hang Pictures, Take Away All The Guess Work

Do you find the blank wall daunting so much so that you leave your pictures propped against the wall for months before hanging them? Me too! There is a formula for how to make sure your art looks like it’s in the right place. Generally, the midpoint should be 60 inches, but there’s a little more to it.

I always find that pictures and art are the last thing that I get around to. But it turns out that’s not a bad thing according to the experts. Art and pictures should be the final step when you decorate a room. All of the furniture, lighting and window treatments should be in place first.

Let’s assume you are at the point where you have guests coming and you’re GOING to get something on the wall. I’ll take you through the best practices room by room.

What’s the Formula For Hanging Pictures?

Here’s the short answer for how high to hang a picture: at eye level. BUT does that mean the middle is at eye level, the bottom or the top? Whose eye level is that? What if you are only 5 feet tall. Not everyone has the same eye level.

Optimal height for hanging art

The formula for how high to hang your pictures is that the middle of the artwork or picture should be 60 inches from the ground. This is the rule for a single piece of art that is not hung above a piece of furniture. Sometimes we are tempted to hang a picture a little too high, so don’t streay too far from this height.

There are different rules if you’re hanging a group of pictures or a gallery on a wall and if you’re art is directly above a piece of furniture.

Should All Pictures Be Hung At The Same Height?

Let’s take it a step further and assume you have more than one picture to hang. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

1.) If you are hanging pictures that are the same size next to each other, hang them at the same height. Here’s an example. The distance between then should be 3-5 inches. The bigger the pictures are the more space you should leave between them.

Hanging art at the same height

2.) If you want to hang two pictures vertically, pretend the two pieces are one large piece. Use the same basic rule, the middle should be around 60 inches from the floor. If the pieces are large use a lower mid-point. In this example below, the art would be bumping into the ceiling because each picture is fairly large if the middle were at 60 inches.

Vertical pictures

3.) Pictures hanging above furniture are a bit different. Try to get the bottom of the frame 5-6″ above the furniture. Here’s an example of art placed 5 inches above a couch.

living room couch

Here’s a picture hanging at the right height above a dresser. The furniture anchors the pictures.

art hung above a dresser

SIZE MATTERS. If the piece of art is very small, you will need to move it up OR group it with another piece. Here’s an example of pieces that look too small and they are hanging too far apart. If you are hanging multiple pictures together they should be closer to 3-5 inches apart.

Smaller pictures should hung more closely together.

What is small you ask? You’ll know when you see. Hang it up, holes are easy to patch and often you don’t even have to patch them if the picture covers up the hole.

In the example below you can see what you shouldn’t do with multiple pictures. The art in this photo looks like it’s floating randomly, scattered throughout the room. The height of the largest picture feels right, but they would look better in a grouping or “gallery” arrangement. Read more about how to set up a gallery wall.

Should Pictures Hang Higher If I Have High Ceilings?

Ceilings are moving up from eight feet as standard in older homes to ten feet and higher. The optimal height you should hang your pictures doesn’t move up relative to your ceiling height. If it feels low with the mid-point at 60 inches, try 62 but the center shouldn’t be far from eye level.

If you have a room with very high ceilings, consider using LARGER art which takes up more visual space. If the picture feels too low, it might be that it’s really too small.

Don’t Be Afraid To Move Your Art

Your eye is better at seeing what feels right than you know. If you hang the art and it doesn’t feel right, move it. I’m not suggesting this for something heavy that requires drill in sheetrock anchors, but things that hang on a simple picture hanger can be easily moved.

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4 Comments

  1. We recently (before your visit) moved most of our artwork around, and we are so much happier with it. Fortunately I don’t have to worry about how to hang it or how high to hang it. My husband is the official picture hanger in our family! He even had time to hang several pieces for our daughter this past weekend to get her settled in her new place!

  2. I so hope that tumor is benign, beautiful doggie, my prayers are with you I know the wait is terrible p🤞

  3. Thanks, Andrea, I really needed this post! I am not the best at figuring out where and how to hang things. I’m bookmarking this to save!

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