Wednesday, May 21, 2014

{need help hanging art?}

How many of you have a thousand nail holes all over your house from hanging art in the wrong place? Even an inch can throw things off. Currently the wall leading to our basement is covered with spots of nail filler that have been sanded, I just haven't gotten the paint out to cover all the hideous spots from my wall collage that used to reside there. Procrastination at it's finest. 

Before I start, I want to say that ultimately, you should hang art where you want to hang it. If you find a height that is pleasing to the adults in your home {kids don't care} then go with it even if it goes against this post. The general guidelines I follow appeal to my eye, they may not appeal to yours. Many designers say there are no rules when it comes to this so if you agree with that, you can stop reading or you can keep reading while mocking me..I'll never know! :) I hope to help those of you that really have no idea and would like some advice. And note that I used images I found online because I wasn't willing to make more holes in my own walls as I recently added a fresh coat of paint to my living room. 

Galleries and museums generally hang art so that the center of the piece is 57" from the floor which is the average human eye level height. I have never measured a piece exactly to make sure I follow this guideline but I almost always hang things at eye level, keeping in mind that my husband is about 8 inches taller than me. If a piece is too high, especially above furniture like a bed or couch, it can look like it's awkwardly floating somewhere in wall space. It can also give you an ache in your neck from straining to look at it. We don't want this. There are, I believe, some exceptions to this rule and I will talk about that in a minute. Right now I want to show you some examples of things hung too high. 

You'll notice on the left, they used a piece that is not only way too high, but it's also not the right scale. It's much too small. The picture on the right shows the right scale and height.

{click on pictures to enlarge}

Here is another example of art hung way too high. See how it's floating? There is far too much room between the top of the couch and the art. The general rule is 5-9" above large pieces of furniture or above the objects on a table or desk. 

This next picture is much better. The art is at the right height and you can see how it's a much better height than the picture above. Your furniture and art should look like one cohesive piece. Too high and it looks really disconnected. Get it?

Again, the piece above this bed is way too high. It's floating and looks so disconnected from the bed. 

Here are a couple of examples where this rule, to me, doesn't always apply. Hanging a piece {at the right scale} above a desk is one of them. This wouldn't work as well with a large desk. However, if you have a smaller, more dainty desk a picture at a lower height, maybe next to a lamp, could look quite charming. Like this:  

Isn't that cute? This also takes me back to my previous post about balance. I think this height works because the lamp balances it. If the lamp wasn't there, it would still look good but not as complete. 

Another exception would be hanging art next to a bed, above a nightstand. I think that can be a really great look and add some character to your side table. Hanging something like that at eye level could look really odd and not work with the headboard and any possible art you have above the bed. So, low works. Here's an example:

So there you have it, I hope this post is helpful! Comment below with any questions you may have!

Happy Decorating!

 photo Untitled1111_zpsb3c7f4e9.png


  1. Yes. This is such a clear explanation and I like the visuals. I am so glad you are writing this blog!

    1. Thanks! And thanks for the comment! They really do make me happy:) First one on this post :)