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How High To Hang Pictures: Advice From an Interior Designer

Ever wondered if there’s a standard height for hanging your art? There is — sort of. Learn how to hang pictures like a pro with easy tips and tricks.

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There’s nothing more off-putting than a picture hung slightly askew or a smidge too high or too low than it should be. Even though you know that it looks “off,” you might not know precisely how to fix it. That’s where the design team at Spoak comes in! 

We consulted our favorite interior designers to get the scoop on the perfect picture placement for every type of hanging art. Whether it’s a gallery wall you’re curating or a single piece of art, we’ll tell you how high it should be from the floor or from a piece of furniture beneath it and ensure it’s just right.

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Which Hangers Work Best?

Before we begin, a note about picture hangers. No one really considers adding an additional hole a big deal until it’s time to move or rearrange the room. Holes that no longer serve a purpose have to be filled and repainted. While it’s a simple step, it can also be a tedious one depending on how many uh-ohs have been made.

Make sure the picture hangers you use are the smallest option possible for the weight and size of the art. Then, measure twice before you hammer to save yourself from filling in as many holes later. 


What Is the Eye Level Rule?

Once you begin reading about how to hang a picture, you’ll almost immediately run across the eye-level rule. You can use this general rule of picture hanging to dictate that the proper height for wall art is approximately “eye level.” Makes sense, right? Well, there’s just one problem with this: not everyone’s eye level is the same. 

To simplify this rule of thumb, experts agree that the standard for hanging pictures at eye level is approximately 57” from the center of the picture to the floor. At this level, the picture height is generally within the eye level range of the average person — perfect for everyone to admire your artwork. 

Where Should Pictures Go Around Furniture?

The eye-level rule still applies when hanging a piece of artwork over a piece of furniture, like a sofa or chair. The difference will be that you don’t want to leave a lot of wall space between the top of the furniture and the bottom of the frame of the picture. 

The right height for artwork hung over a piece of furniture is about three to six inches from the top of the furniture to the bottom of the picture frame. If you leave more room between the picture and the furniture, the focal point will become the wall space left between the artwork and the furniture. 

It’s important to remember to consider items sitting on furniture when you hang your pictures. For instance, a coffee table with a tall vase, a sculpture, or a lamp could cover up your picture if you hang it too low. For furniture with other objects on top, measure three to six inches from the top for ideal picture placement. 


How To Create a Gallery Wall

A gallery wall is a great way to showcase your collection of treasures; this can be anything from different pieces of art, family photos, or other beloved items that can be hung. Get your gallery wall placement right, and it can become an eclectic masterpiece. Get it wrong, and it will look like the hallway of virtually every suburban home in the 1980s. Spoiler: we want to avoid the latter at all costs.

Hanging a gallery wall is a snap with a few tips:

1. Collect your art. Before you begin hammering nails and poking holes in your walls, use craft paper to create a template, tracing the shape of each piece of artwork and cutting it out.

2. Use painter’s tape to arrange the craft paper on the wall, allowing you to rearrange the items until you have them positioned exactly where you want them. 

3. Start by hanging your largest piece at eye level (57”). Arrange the other pieces around the largest piece. If you have high ceilings, you can opt for larger pieces of art to fill your space instead of simply hanging your pictures higher. 

4. The spaces between the pictures should be even to ensure the art gallery looks cohesive and aesthetically pleasing. We’ll use the three to six-inch rule to accomplish this: Check that there are no less than three inches and no more than six inches between each piece of art or picture. 

5. Mark off the center point. To ensure your gallery wall doesn’t wind up askew over a piece of furniture or off-center on a wall (unless that’s the vibe you’re going for), mark off your center point and keep your pieces spaced evenly around it. If you’re working with a large piece, remember to balance it with several smaller pieces. 

Pro-Tip: To bypass steps one to three (because who has that much free time?), use the Spoak design suite to bring your vision to life. Inside our suite of design tools, you can access the gallery wall planner. You give us what you’ve got, and we’ll map it out on your wall and help you design the perfect way to bring life to an empty wall. It’s as simple as that!

A gallery wall designed in Spoak by Miranda Rodgers

How To Incorporate Pictures in Bedroom Decor

Hanging a too-small picture over your bed’s headboard is a home decor faux pas that’s easy to fix. Unlike hanging wall art in your living room or dining room, where you’ll want to stick to the three to six-inch rule, hang your pictures between seven to eight inches above your headboard. 

The distance between the ceiling and the top of the picture frame should be at least seven to eight inches. The exact measurement may vary depending on your ceiling height, but any distance less than seven inches means the picture should be placed elsewhere. 

A note about width: Avoid hanging a picture over your bed that is wider than your headboard. Instead, opt for a picture about two-thirds the headboard's width.


Where To Put Small Pictures

Everyone has them: Polaroids, small photographs that become too pixelated when you attempt to enlarge them, or small pieces of artwork that you own simply because miniature things are adorable. Instead of trying to force these pictures onto a large wall where they’ll get lost, consider placing them in unexpected places. 

  • Between cabinetry. The kitchen often has small wall spaces that lie between cabinets, pantries, or appliances that may offer a home to small artwork or photographs. 
  • Bathrooms. Often overlooked are spaces in the bathroom where smaller pictures would be a welcome addition. 
  • Doorways. In some homes, there are small slivers of wall space between the door and the adjoining wall where a smaller picture would fit nicely. 

Remember that not every wall has to have art. Leaving some walls bare may make a more artistic statement than filling them with meaningless hangings you don’t particularly like. Luckily, most artwork is easy enough to move around as you see fit (just in case you do change your mind)!

This mini-gallery wall lives in a hallway tucked behind a sofa; designed in Spoak by Joanna Neu

Hang It Up

Even the most design inspired among us struggle with hanging pictures and artwork — and that’s okay. Whether you’re designing a welcoming entryway or creating a fully curated gallery wall, Spoak can help. We give you the tools you need to become your own interior designer. 

When you’re ready to create a wall hanging you love, check out the Spoak discovery feed. Here, you’ll find inspiration from like-minded creators and learn about new home decor items to help you create your favorite decorative style.

Spoak can inspire more than your next home renovation project too. Maybe it’ll kickstart an interior design career or take your existing business to the next level! 

Sources:

How to Hang Artwork Perfectly Every Time Using the 57 Inches Rule | The Spruce

When and How to Remove Painter's Tape | The Spruce

How to Hang a Picture: 5 Tips for Hanging Photos on the Wall | Architectural Digest

How to Fix Nail Holes - The Right Way - DIY Guide | Bob Vila

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Date Posted
March 15, 2023
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