Have you ever plucked your eyebrows and realized you arched one too high and afterwards your face looked cray? Well, hanging art is a lot like that…sans the hair and pain (hopefully). When I walk into a home, the first things I notice are how the furniture is placed and how art is hung. Improperly hung art is probably the most common mistake people make when they decorate, because more people just don’t know how high or how big to go, this is one of the reasons I created my free Dream Homies Facebook Community, it’s a community where people can ask each other for advice, so they don’t make mistakes like this to their homes. Once you read the following tips and guidelines, you can get to work on your own art, and post pictures and ask for advice in the Dream Homies Community before you put any holes in the walls. Pretty great, right homie?
How to hang pictures: Finding the right placement
In my opinion, when it comes to how to hang pictures, this is the most important thing to get right. Hang a photo too high or too low, and your space will feel off. Kinda like that time you over-plucked that eyebrow. So here’s six different situations you’ll want guidelines for How to hang pictures!
1. Hanging art on a bare wall or above furniture shorter than 30 inches
Photo Courtesy of Domino | Photography by Matthew Williams
- The rule of thumb here is hang your picture at eye level; this means the centre of the picture should hang 56 to 60 inches from the floor.
- Always treat a grouping of pictures as one piece, so the centre of the entire grouping should hang 56 to 60 inches from the floor.
- If your ceiling is really low (much lower than 8 feet), then consider dividing the wall into four sections and place art in the third section from the floor.
2. Hanging art above furniture that is 30 inches or higher
Design by Brian Patrick Flynn | Photography by Robert Peterson
- The bottom of the picture should be approximately 4-6 inches from the top of the furniture piece if it’s big enough, if the picture is very small, than you’ll want to hang it higher.
- The artwork and the furniture should relate to each other and together create a vignette on the wall as a unit.
- A large gap between furniture and art will make it feel disjointed.
3. Hanging art above a toilet or near furniture
- Since most toilets are less than 30 inches, the centre of the picture should hang 56 to 60 inches from the floor.
- Hanging art near furniture isn’t like hanging art directly above furniture; in most cases the centre of the picture should still be 56 to 60 inches from the floor.
4. Hanging art above a couch or headboard
Photo Courtesy of Domino | Photography by Brittany Ambridge
- The bottom of the picture should be approximately 4-6 inches from the top of the couch or headboard.
- With a couch you might want to go higher to give enough clearance so people don’t hit their heads!
- Be aware of not going too high, again, this will feel disconnected or like the picture is floating, too close and it will feel crammed.
5. Hanging art above a fireplace mantel
Design by Ariel Ashe | Photography by Brittany Ambridge
- The bottom of the picture should be approximately 3 to 6 inches from the top of the mantel.
- The taller the mantel the less space between, the shorter the mantel you can add a bit more space.
6. Leaning art on furniture, shelf or mantel
Photo Courtesy of Restoration Hardware
- Don’t lean art on surfaces that are too high or unstable, the result will feel awkward (my suggestion is nothing higher than 6 feet).
- To avoid the “she forgot to hang that piece of art” look, cluster it with more than one picture, overlapping (mix up frames, colours and sizes!) or create a vignette by adding a vase (as in image above), a sculpture or a lamp. Again, mix up the sizes, but ensure the scale works with the size of the art.
- Create a gallery wall, by leaning similarly sized art in a row!
- Tip: if you’re worried about art sliding down, roll up a piece of masking tap and stick it to either the top ridge or the bottom ridge of the frame to just add a bit of extra stick, ensure it’s discreet and that you aren’t damaging your furniture.
How to hang pictures: My secret trick!
To find the right height or composition use use the paper insert that comes in the frame.
So maybe this isn’t my secret trick, but when I found about this, my mind blew at how easy and obvious this should have been! So ya. Duh.
Tape the paper insert to your wall to see how high low to go with your art, bunch them all together and create a vignette or gallery wall. If you don’t have the paper insert from the frame anymore, ain’t no thang, just create your own by taping a bunch of paper together if you don’t have paper big enough.
I snapped some photos while I was working on my reading nook, to help you see this in action (end result in the header image). My art was a bit small in relation to the wall, so I did end up going a bit higher than the rule of 6 to 8 inches. I’ve said this a few times, but pretty much every rule has an exception, yes I know that can be confusing, but art is confusing. Whatcha gonna do?
Finding the right size art
- Art hung over furniture should be approximately less than 75 percent of the width of the furniture; for example, a painting over an 84-inch-wide sofa should be approximately 63 inches wide.
- You can also intentionally go wider than your furniture (confusing I know!) but you want to ensure that it doesn’t overpower and feels intentional. This is a bit tougher to do effectively, which is why the 75 percent rule exists.
- Your art or collection of art should be in the same shape and orientation of the wall it’s being placed on.
- Don’t go too big with your art; you want to allow for “breathing” space around the piece from either curtains, furniture, another wall or moulding.
- Follow the rule of three-eighths. When working with an empty wall, choose a piece that will leave empty space in the amount of three-eighths of the width of the painting on each side. This means that you can determine the perfect size painting by multiplying the width of the wall by 0.57; for example, a blank wall that is 120 inches wide requires a painting that is around 68 inches wide.
- Don’t forget to factor in the frame size!
So, I’d love your thoughts, was this helpful? Do you have a guideline for how to hang pictures? Oh, and what do you think of my funky art choice (see header image), I haven’t bought these yet, but I’m digging how ridiculous and awesome they are. I’d love to recreate the look with my own fat cats, but I don’t think I’ll be able to get them to sit still.