3 Simple Measurements to Help Hang Artwork with Bliss

Buying the artwork is the easy part; hanging the artwork – this is where things become more complicated. People often hang artwork, mirrors, and wall decor too high or randomly all over the place. I have 3 simple measurements to simplify hanging all of these for you. If you follow these 3 important rules, you really can’t go wrong!

3 Simple Measurements for Hanging Artwork

57″ – 60″

The Ideal Height for Art on a Wall

3″ – 6″

The Ideal Distance Between Pieces of Art

6″ – 8″

The Ideal Distance Between the Bottom Edge of Art

and the Top Edge of Furniture

The first rule is to hang your artwork 57”-60” ON THE CENTER. 

This is the most important measurement of all. It doesn’t matter if you are 5’6” and your husband is 6’4”, and it doesn’t matter if you have cathedral height ceilings. You still hang artwork, mirrors and wall décor 57”-60” on the center.

Even with their 2 different sizes, this black & white photograph and the wreath are hung at the proper height, creating a perfect mid-line for the eye.

What does this mean you ask? “On the center” means that the middle of the artwork is 57”-60” from the ground. It doesn’t matter where the hook is or how large or small the piece is, the middle should be at 57”-60”. For me personally, I choose 60” as my center. Firstly, because this is an even number and easy to remember and, secondly, my husband and I are both tall and 60” feels “right” for us.

Experiment with the range of 57”-60” in your home, and see which number you prefer. Once you choose one – stick with it. One measurement creates a nice harmony around your home as all the wall art and décor will share the same midline. And, having to remember only one number makes your life simpler! Finally, if you have a cluster of photos and artwork such as a wall gallery, then the grouping as a whole should be placed ON THE CENTER as if it were one big piece of art.

Here are the step by step directions for hanging artwork ON THE CENTER.

  1. Measure artwork and divide by 2. (This gives you the center.)
  2. Measure the distance between the hook/wire and the top of the frame.
  3. Measure 60 inches up on the wall, add the measurement of half the art’s height, and subtract the distance between the wire and the top of the frame. Put the nail here.

The second rule when hanging artwork is to space pieces in a group 3″ to 6″ apart.

Regardless of whether you simply have a pair of frames being hung together, or entire gallery wall filled with a dozen pieces of art, the measurement stays the same. Any less, and the arrangement becomes too crowded. Too much space and the frames lose their relationship to each other and appear to “float” on the wall, which isn’t visually pleasing.

Also, when hanging several pieces of art together, do your best to keep this number consistent (whether it be 3” or 6” for example). If your arrangement is symmetrical then by all means the distance between frames should be exact. If you are making an asymmetrical gallery wall, it could vary some from piece to piece, but try to keep the negative space between pieces looking consistent.

This wall gallery has perfect spacing between all the objects (even the lamp), creating a balanced, cohesive look.

The third rule when hanging artwork is to limit space between the bottom of wall decor and top of any underlying furniture to 6″ – 8″. 

When hanging art over furniture, such as a headboard, sofa, or credenza, it is important to keep the art anchored to your furniture. Hanging the artwork low to the furniture accomplishes this.

Hanging the wall decor just a few inches from the top of the headboard creates a cohesive, grounded look. Photo courtesy of Crate & Barrel

Sometimes, this measurement might come into odds with the first rule (hanging 57″-60″ on center), especially if you have very low profile furniture. In that case, I would suggest that you find a happy balance, bringing the center height of the art down a bit to sit closer to the top of the underlying furniture. Of course, you need to be practical as well. Obviously, you don’t want to lean back on your sofa and bonk your head on a frame, so in this case it could go a little higher.

If putting your artwork this close to the furniture is not practical, one real home trick is to use a tall accessory, like a lamp or a vase, to bridge the empty space between the furniture the bottom of the art. The goal is simply for your eye to “read” the wall of furniture and any artwork above it as one arrangement.

Step Back and Enjoy

Yes, hanging art can be tedious, but trust me, your time and patience will pay off! Once you master these 3 rules, any artwork you add to your home will look like it truly belongs in your space. Then, you are left to sit back and enjoy the bliss!

Questions? Not sure how to apply these rules to a tricky decorating dilemma in your real home? Post your question and a photo in the comments section and maybe we can help.


Leave a Reply