Let’s talk about how high to hang pictures! This guide will give you an easy formula for every situation so you can find the perfect height. Learn how high to hang pictures above the fireplace, a couch, a bed, in a gallery wall, and more!
It’s time! You’ve searched for and purchased the perfect picture. Now comes the big question…how high should you hang it?
Well, the answer depends on things like where you hang it, how tall your ceilings are, if you’re hanging a single picture or multiples, whether it’s on an empty wall, and more.
Hanging pictures at the right height is one of the few design rules that should never be broken. If they’re hung too low they’re awkward to look at, and hung too high and they can feel disconnected from the rest of the room.
This guide will give you all of the information you need to find the perfect height the first time. Yes, there’s an easy formula for each situation! Use the Table of Contents below to jump to what you need.
How High to Hang Pictures on an Empty Wall
When you’re ready to hang artwork, many people will tell you to follow the eye-level rule. But that’s a problem because eye level is different for every person! We aren’t all the same height, after all!
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a formula…
A good general rule of thumb is to hang the center of the artwork at 57″ from the ground. The 57-inch rule represents the eye level of an average person. You can use this as a guide whether you’re hanging a single piece of art, a series, or even a gallery wall. In the case of a gallery wall, the center of the grouping would be hung at 57″ (see more on that below).
Keep in mind that this measurement is for the CENTER of the picture frame, not the top of the frame or bottom. So, find the center of your picture first, and then place that at 57″ off the ground.
Now, every person and every home is individual, so you can adjust anywhere from 57″ to 60″ depending on the art and what looks best to you. But always start at 57″!
Keep in mind that this rule is for hanging art on a bare wall. You’ll need to read below if you plan to hang your picture above a couch, console, or other piece of furniture.
What about High Ceilings?
While a standard ceiling is typically 8 feet high, many newer homes have 9ft and 10ft ceilings, or even taller. In these cases, the standard 57-inch rule might look too low. If you have higher ceilings, adjust up to 63″. Avoid going any tall so that your art doesn’t feel disconnected from your furnishings.
As a guideline, for 9ft ceilings try hanging the CENTER of your art at 60″. For 10ft ceilings, try 62″. For anything taller, try 63″ but again, don’t hang too high or your art will feel like it’s floating above the furnishings.
Hanging art above a couch or console table?
For a couch, console, or other similar furniture piece, you want your art to feel connected to it as if it’s part of the grouping. Generally, 8″ is the sweet spot, but it can be anywhere from 6″-10″ from the furniture to the bottom of the frame. There’s a range because sometimes with low furniture, you want your art just a bit higher to create more overall height.
Look at the picture above, the table is low and the ceiling is tall, so the art is hung on the higher side. Note that the accessories on the table are tall to fill in the gap.
Conversely, with a taller piece of furniture, you might hang your picture at 6″ to keep your art from being too high on the wall.
Where to Hang Art above a Fireplace mantel
Fireplace mantels are generally on the tall side. That being said, aim to place the BOTTOM of your art around 6″ above the top of the mantel. This way, the art will still feel connected without being too high up on the wall.
If your mantel is low, you can adjust up to 8″. If your mantel is particularly tall, try adjusting your picture down to 4″. The goal is to create one focal point where the picture and the mantel feel connected as one.
You can also check out my Guide to Styling the Perfect Mantel
how high to hang a picture above a bed
When it comes to hanging a picture above the bed…well, it gets a bit tricky. The height at which you hang art above a bed depends on:
- Whether you have a headboard
- How tall your headboard is
- What you have on your nightstands
Generally speaking, you can follow the same guidelines as provided above for a sofa and aim for the bottom of your picture to be 4″-10″ above the headboard.
There are times when it’s okay to leave the space above the bed blank, though! Instead, you might hang something over your nightstands. Or if your headboard is tall and your ceilings are short, skip hanging something over the bed to avoid it feeling cramped!
Learn more about When to Decorate Above Your Bed
Where to Use Small Pictures
As you might know, I love decorating with small art. Pictures and frames are expensive so sometimes, you end up with a smaller piece of art than you might want! And that’s okay!
Small art is perfect for small slivers of wall, like the bathroom below or in between two doors. The goal is to ensure that the art is proportionate to the wall it’s on.
You can also use multiple small pictures to create one larger grouping to fill a larger space as shown above.
Or, you can use small art like I do!
How Much Spacing Between Pictures
The amount of spacing you have depends on:
- What size are your pictures?
- How big is the space you need to fill?
- Is it a symmetrical or curated grouping?
How to hang multiple pictures
When you’re hanging two or more pieces together as a grouping, whether horizontally or vertically, you need to consider them as one large piece. This also applies to gallery walls.
With multiple pictures hung vertically:
- Determine the spacing between each picture frame.
- Add up the vertical height, including the spacing, and find the center of that large group.
- Hang the center of your grouping at 57″.
Again, you can adjust up as necessary depending on your personal eye-level and ceiling height. The key, though, is to consider your multiple pictures as one large piece of art.
For a symmetrical gallery wall, the vertical and horizontal spacing should be the same. This can range from 1″-3″. Smaller pictures look best closer to 1″ and larger closer to 3″.
A curated art gallery can be so much fun to create! It’s a collection of things you love. You can follow my 10 easy tips to create a beautiful gallery wall. And where you’re ready, here are my easy picture hanging tips.
If you have a curated gallery wall, still aim for 1″-3″ between the frames, but your spacing doesn’t need to be equal in all directions for all frames. Instead, work to create a grouping that feels balanced.
Interested in creating your own gallery wall? I’ve compiled some art from Carl Holsoe that you can download for free as a subscriber. Not a subscriber yet? Sign up here.
Can You Lean Art?
Do you have to even hang your art? No! Personally, I love to lean art! It’s casual and allows you to layer pieces for a unique look.
Want to learn more? Check out my guide: How to Lean and Layer Art
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