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8 Expert Tips on How High to Hang Pictures

Unbalanced picture frame hanging

There is a lot of varying information about how high to hang your pictures. Some say you should hang them at eye level. However, other experts say that this is not the case. Plus, “eye level” means a lot of different things to different people and you have to consider what the “optimal” eye level height is.

There are many experts out there with varying tips on how to hang pictures. In the end, as long as you get it close to “right,” you’ll be fine.

Here are some of our favorite tips for hanging pictures.

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The 8 Expert Tips on How High to Hang Pictures

1. Consider Using the 57 Rule

When hanging pictures, most people recommend adhering to the 57 rule. This rule states that you should hang your pictures with the center about 57 inches above the ground. You don’t have to be exact, of course. However, this is considered to be the “average” eye-level height of most individuals so if you hang them at this level, you’ll be around most people’s eye level.

However, you can hang pictures up to 60 inches from the floor. If you’re taller and most of your family is taller, hanging it a bit higher may make sense.

picture frame on table
Image Credit: StockSnap, Pixabay

2. Don’t Forget the Size

The size of the picture does matter. If your picture is very large, you may need to place it a bit lower than a smaller picture. Otherwise, the bigger picture may end up far too close to the ceiling (or it may not fit at all). Oversized pictures need to be placed much lower than other pictures, for instance.

Installing oversized paintings, or even those on the larger side requires a bit of finesse and breaking the rules. Otherwise, the look may not be very harmonious.


3. Spacing Between Pictures

Of course, the spacing between different pictures also matters. With medium and large frames, you’ll need to space them between 2–3 inches apart. Smaller pieces can be placed closer together at around 1 inch apart.

When grouping a bunch of images, you’ll likely deal with pictures of different heights and sizes. It works best to think of all smaller the pictures as one oversized picture to find the placement. Once you have the general outline for where you’re placing them, you can work on placing each image individually. It works best to consider how the overall image will look first, however.

For instance, the center point of all the images taken together should be around 57–60 inches high. The center point of each image doesn’t need to be this high, however.

Consider how you’re going to group all of the pictures before you start hanging. If you’re struggling with design layout we recommend getting large pieces of paper the same size as your pictures and using painter’s tape to adhere them to the wall. Then, you can move them around as necessary to get the exact look you’re going for.

Series of frames on a white wall
Image Credit: StockSnap, Pixabay

4. Rules Can be Broken

Don’t consider the above tips to be unbreakable rules. They’re more of a standard and a good place to start. However, if you think something else looks better, then, by all means, change the rules. Sometimes, these standards won’t work in particular spaces.

If you place the image 57 inches from the floor and don’t like how it works, feel free to move it around a little bit. It may feel too high or too low compared to the rest of the room.

Don’t be afraid to change these rules when necessary, and place the pictures somewhere else.


5. Hanging Small Pictures

You shouldn’t hang smaller pictures alone on large walls as the scale won’t be correct. However, you can hang smaller pictures as part of a grouping on a wall. The grouping probably shouldn’t only be smaller pictures.

When hanging a smaller picture by itself, we recommend using a narrow wall or a smaller space. For instance, a bathroom works quite well for smaller pictures, as do most hallways. You can hang smaller pictures next to doors or even alongside windows.

Small picture frame on a large wall
Image Credit: Romka, Pexels

6. Don’t Hang Pictures Everywhere

Pictures can spruce up a room in a way that is difficult to do otherwise. However, you should not hang pictures on every wall in your home. Use blank walls to add some negative space and make the pictures seem a bit more interesting when they do appear. Otherwise, you may make your home feel cluttered.


7. Consider Furniture Height

When hanging artwork above furniture, you may need to break the rules slightly. Preferably, the picture should still be around 57 inches from the floor. However, if this makes it contact the couch or a table, consider placing it higher. It should be anywhere from 4–8 inches above the top of the furniture piece.

For larger pictures or groupings, be sure not to extend the width of the couch or whatever furniture they are hanging over. Preferably, it should be about 2/3rds the width of the furniture or below. This prevents your furniture from looking too small.

Of course, it’s more about the overall scale of the room at this point. It sometimes makes sense to break this rule. For instance, if you have a set of furniture like a small table and chair, you may want to consider the furniture as a set instead of trying to make the picture grouping tiny.

Big picture frame behind large sofa
Image Credit: Hemanth Nirujogi, Pexels

8. Be Careful with Stairs

Stairs are a great place to add photography. However, don’t hang groupings of pictures or oversized pictures over the staircase. The shift in the floor can make oversized pictures look extremely low to the ground or extremely high when placed over a staircase. Instead, this is a good place for smaller pictures.

Otherwise, use the same rules to hang pictures above your staircase. It also helps to use big pieces of paper to figure out where exactly you want to hang your pictures in this case too.

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Conclusion

Hanging pictures may seem a bit complicated. However, the underlying rules are very straightforward. You should try to make your pictures at around eye level. Consider the size of the picture and the scope of the room, as well. Sometimes, it makes sense to move a picture up or down to make it fit better.

Of course, things get a bit more complicated when hanging pictures above furniture or as groupings. However, the same general rules apply.

See also: 6 Expert Tips on How to Hang a Picture


Featured Image Credit: WangMing’Photo, Pexels

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