Ever found yourself scratching your head over the height to hang pictures or all those family photos you’ve been collecting? We’ve all been there!  It’s time to put all that to rest and more and learn how to nail the perfect art placement. Get ready for a friendly chat about the dos and don’ts of hanging artwork.

​We will cover…

  • How to hang that large eye-catching picture at the perfect height
  • The best way to arrange your artwork or photos in a gallery
  • How to decide where each piece belongs on your walls
  • How to hang artwork to complement your furniture

Fear not! We’re diving into all those questions and more, sharing tips that’ll have you arranging artwork like a pro. But first, let’s talk about some key cues that can help guide your placement decisions. If you want to hang your artwork and photographs so that they blend flawlessly with your space, creating a room that makes your heart sing, remember to consider:

  • The top of the furniture – the trusty anchor for your art.
  • The pitch of your ceiling – a cue for creating a harmonious arrangement.
  • The size of the artwork itself – because size and proportion matter.
  • The size and shape of your blank wall – think of it as your blank canvas.
  • The shape and dimensions of your furniture – let it be your artistic companion.

And oh, a little secret to share: Avoid the classic artwork vs. lamp showdown. We get it, adding the art is exciting, but hold off until your lamps find their home. No one wants their masterpieces to play hide-and-seek with lamps and accessories, right?

Feeling intrigued? Don’t worry, the confusion ends here.  If you’re ready to conquer the art of hanging art, let’s get started! 

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drawing of a living room with artwork ove4r it

How to Arrange Wall Art

Achieving the perfect arrangement of wall art is like putting together a special meal. You have your main dish, your sides, and your desserts that all taste and look appealing together.  Let’s break down the steps to ensure your art display whets your appetite:

Balance and Visual Appeal 

Picture your wall space as your plate, and your artwork as the food. The secret sauce? Balance. It’s the art of distributing visual weight to create visual balance. Think about arranging pieces so that no area feels too crowded or neglected and that everything on the plate (your wall) looks good together.

Symmetry vs. Asymmetry: You can go for a symmetrical look with identical pieces on either side of a focal point, like a mantel. This will create a formal, balanced look to the room. Think of this as a mirror image of the left and right sides of an arrangement.

On the flip side, embrace asymmetry for a more casual and unexpected vibe. You still need visual balance and can achieve this by adjusting the sizes and spacing of your artwork and swapping out an exact object for something similar in size and visual weight.

symmetry vs asymmetry

Focal Points: Every great composition has a focal point, and your photo or art arrangement is no different. Choose a large piece or a standout piece to draw your eyes in, and then build around it with more artwork or accessories of smaller size or less prominent appeal.

Give people a focal point that will immediately grab their attention then kind of a web-and-flow around the room to the next focal point. Everything should work together and be something you love…just not grab your attention all at the same time.

Themes, Colors, and Styles

Your home’s decor tells a story, and your art is some of the chapters. Here’s how to use themes, colors, and styles to tell your story through your artwork.

Themes: Create mini exhibitions by arranging art around a central theme. It could be nature-inspired, travel-focused, or even a collection of family portraits. Themes add depth and connection to your display.

Colors: Use the color palette of your room to guide your art choices. Or, if you are starting a room redo, use your favorite art piece to guide the colors of the rest of the room.

Complementary colors can create a harmonious look while contrasting colors add excitement. Consider the mood you want to evoke; serene blues or vibrant reds.


You might like this…

If you want to learn more about how color can affect you and your room, read my post “Room Color Psychology

Styles: Art comes in a myriad of styles – from classic to contemporary, minimalistic to eclectic. Mix and match styles that resonate with you while considering your home’s overall aesthetic. Eclectic pairings can add an intriguing twist!

Mixing Sizes and Shapes

The beauty of art lies in its diversity, and that includes sizes and shapes. Embrace variety to keep your arrangement fresh and exciting:

Size Matters: Combining various sizes adds visual interest. Start with a single piece of art and build around it with smaller pictures. This layering effect creates depth and dimension.

Shapes in Harmony: Play with the shape of the picture to create movement and flow. Round mirrors alongside square frames? Absolutely!

Remember, there are no strict rules – it’s your personal gallery, after all. Let your intuition guide you as you experiment with balance, themes, colors, and shapes. The key is to enjoy the creative journey and let your personality shine through each art piece.

Ready to turn your walls into a captivating canvas of expression? Let’s dive into the next chapter: Finding the Right Height for Your Artwork!

The best height to hang pictures

Artwork placement isn’t just about where it’s hung; it’s also about how high it’s hung. Let’s explore the age-old question “How high to hang artwork?”

The “Eye Level Rule” or “57-inch rule”

Ever heard of the “eye level rule”? It’s like the golden ticket to art placement. The idea is simple yet effective: Hang your artwork at the average eye level. This way, your art is right in the sweet spot where it’s easy to appreciate.

But here’s the fun part: “eye level” can vary! If you’re hanging art in a family space, consider the eye level of, well, your family members. If it’s a kid’s room, the average eye height will be lower. The same goes for art in a hallway – aim for eye level as you stroll by.

In a dining room, the eye level will also be lower because you are typically viewing the artwork from a seated position.

The 57-inch rule is supposedly the ideal height for the center of your picture or the center of your gallery.  Of course, this rule works best on a blank wall without furniture.  Because we want to adjust the height of the art according to the height of the furniture. More about that ahead.

hanging art at eye-level

Quick Trick for Consistency

Let’s spill a secret: When you’re hanging multiple, different-sized or shaped pieces together, create cardboard or paper templates for each frame by simply tracing them. Play around with their arrangements on the floor, or tape them to the wall, before committing to any nail holes. This way, you can experiment with spacing and composition to find your ideal arrangement.

If you don’t feel confident doing this yourself, you can also purchase gallery wall mockups where you can get templates for a perfect gallery wall arrangement.

You can also use painter’s tape to mark out your photos or pieces of art.  Just measure the size of the art and mark it out on the wall where you want it to go. Then you can stand back and see if you like the placement.

Once you’re satisfied, use the templates as your guide on the wall, starting with the center of the artwork, or using your anchor piece in a grouping. Don’t forget to mark where the picture hanger will go on your template so you can add your picture hooks in the right spot. It’s like a dress rehearsal for your art display.

Remember, the height of the artwork isn’t set in stone. It’s an art form in itself, influenced by your unique space, style, and even your personality. So, whether you’re decorating a cozy corner or transforming a grand foyer, let your art take center stage at just the right height for you.

Below are some great picture-hanging tools that will make marking and hanging your artwork a breeze.

How to hang artwork with 10′ ceilings

Ah, the allure of tall ceilings – they add a touch of grandeur to any space. But when it comes to hanging artwork on those towering 10-foot walls, it’s a whole new canvas to explore. Let’s tackle this challenge and make your walls a sight to behold!

When you’re faced with ceilings that seem to reach for the sky, filling that vertical space becomes a puzzle. The goal is to create a connection between your art and the room, so it doesn’t feel lost in the vastness.  

But, I would still arrange the artwork to relate to whatever is below it.  For instance over a mantle or above a console. But if you’re arranging artwork on a very tall empty wall I would make sure you put something below it to anchor it in the room or the art will appear to be floating on the wall…not good. Unless of course, the artwork takes up most of the wall.

Vertical Gallery Walls: Create a vertical gallery wall that stretches up and captures attention. Mix various-sized artworks – some big, some small – to guide the eye upward.  Start with your anchor piece or statement single picture and work out from there.  This is also a great way to be able to add to the gallery without starting all over again with the arrangement.

Oversized Artwork: Sometimes, less is more. An oversized piece can command attention in a room with high ceilings. It becomes the anchor, giving the space a focal point that embraces the height. Don’t float the piece too high without relating it to a piece of furniture.  Otherwise, make sure the total height relates to the height of the wall.

using oversized art in your room

Rules for Hanging Picture Groups

Art galleries or picture groups – a canvas where individual artworks come together to form a harmonious masterpiece. Let’s explore the general guidelines that turn your walls into visual focal points.

A lot of what we talked about above directly relates to picture groups or galleries. Picture this: A collection of small pictures that, when hung together, tell a collective story. The key to success? Cohesion. Let’s reiterate some of those rules here:

Color Palette: Choose a color palette that ties your artwork together. This doesn’t mean they all need to be the same color, but a common thread weaves the story beautifully.

Themes and Styles: Similar themes or styles create a visual thread that connects your pieces. It could be a series of botanical prints, black and white family photos, or a mix of vintage photographs. The cohesiveness is in the narrative.

Choose a Star: Every Room needs a focal point, and a picture group is no different. Enter the “centerpiece method”: Select a standout piece to be the anchor of your arrangement. This piece will be the center of attention, guiding the viewer’s eye. Make sure it relates to the room and the rest of the artwork.

Build Around It: Arrange the rest of your artwork around this centerpiece. The surrounding pieces complement and enhance the star, creating a visually pleasing focal point.

Varied Sizes: A mix of sizes keeps the eye engaged and the arrangement dynamic. Play with large and small art pieces to create visual interest.

Shapes in Harmony: Different shapes can add intrigue. Pair rectangular frames with circular ones for a captivating contrast. Balance angular pieces with curvy ones for a harmonious composition.

Symmetry and Asymmetry: These elements also work with galleries just like smaller arrangements.  A symmetrical arrangement exudes elegance, with identical or similarly sized pieces on either side of a central point. Asymmetry, on the other hand, offers a more contemporary and dynamic vibe.

Picture-Perfect Inspiration: Imagine walking into a living room adorned with a picture group that seamlessly blends family photos, vintage posters, and abstract paintings. The color palette ties everything together, while the centerpiece – a captivating landscape artwork – draws the eye and sparks conversations.

And then there’s that charming dining room with an eclectic arrangement of differently shaped frames. The mixture of sizes, shapes, and styles adds an element of surprise, making every glance a delightful discovery.

Just remember, whether you’re aiming for a sophisticated symmetrical display or a spirited asymmetrical arrangement, it’s your unique touch that transforms a cluster of frames into a captivating visual tale.

example of rules for hanging artwork

Where to Hang Artwork on the Wall

As we journey deeper into the world of wall art, let’s explore the art of choosing the perfect spots for your masterpieces. From cozy corners to unexpected nooks, we’re about to map out a creative roadmap for your art placements.

While the “eye level rule” is a fantastic starting point, it’s important to adapt to different spaces and functions. Here’s how:

If your art is going above a console table or other furniture piece, a general rule of thumb is to keep the bottom of the frame around 4 inches above the furniture. This way, the art and furniture create a cohesive unit.

Above Sofas: This is your chance to create a focal point in your living room. The space above the back of the sofa calls for a sizable piece or a well-arranged gallery that captures attention as soon as someone enters the room.  

If you have a standard height wall, you will want to hang your artwork centered between the sofa back and the ceiling.  Just make sure that the artwork or gallery takes up about 2/3rds of the wall space or your artwork will be too small for the space. If you don’t have a large enough piece of artwork to center it that way, or you have very tall ceilings, then hang it about 4-6 inches above the back of the sofa.

artwork above a sofa

Above Beds: The bedroom is your sanctuary, and your art should reflect that. Consider hanging artwork directly above the bed for a serene and personalized touch. Choose pieces that complement your bedding and decor and again use up about 2/3rds of the wall space above the bed.

hanging artwork above a bed

Over Mantels: The fireplace mantel is a classic spot for art. A large statement piece or a symmetrical arrangement can frame the mantel beautifully and add depth to the room’s centerpiece.  You can hang the artwork about 4 inches off the top of the mantle or even lean the artwork on the mantel top.

Hallways: Turn your hallways into mini galleries! A series of smaller artworks can turn a narrow space into a captivating visual journey.  Hallways have much space to work with so make sure you start with a statement piece in the middle of the wall at the proper height and work out from there. You can also consider using picture ledges in this area and gathering artwork in layers along it.

Kitchen Walls: Yes, even the kitchen deserves a touch of art. Hang culinary-inspired pieces in the heart of your home to infuse creativity into your cooking space.

hanging artwork in a kitchen

Bathroom Charm: Elevate your bathroom experience with art that resonates with your style. Think about serene landscapes, quirky prints, or even typography art that adds a touch of inspiration.  Hang over the tub or toilet, or even lean some artwork on a shelf.

Stand-Alone Art: For large pictures that stand alone, like a statement piece in a hallway or entryway, follow the eye-level rule or 57-inch rule. This draws attention and creates a connection with viewers. Just keep the center of the picture at eye level and you can’t go wrong.

Clustered Arrangements: In groupings or clusters, aim for consistency. Keep the center of your grouping at eye level. Even if you’re mixing sizes and shapes, this trick ties everything together. And remember that groupings or galleries should be thought of as one unit. Treat your gallery like one large piece of artwork.

Use Furniture as Your Guide

You’ve probably heard this gem before… Let your furniture be your guide. It’s a practical and stylish way to decide where to hang your art:

Mimic Furniture Lines: Imagine an invisible line extending from the top of your furniture. The side edges of your artwork should align with this line. It creates a balanced and visually pleasing connection.  If you’re using a gallery, then the outer edges of the gallery should follow this invisible line as well.

mimic furniture lines with your artwork

Bedroom Harmony: In the bedroom, align the bottom edge of the artwork about 4 inches above the top edge of your headboard. This anchors the art and creates a sense of cohesion.

How far apart to hang pictures

It’s time to talk about a crucial element that can make or break your arrangement: spacing. Let’s dive into the world of gaps and visual rhythm to ensure your art display looks cohesive and like a collective unit.

Spacing isn’t just about keeping a certain distance between artwork; it’s about creating an arrangement that flows seamlessly. Visual spacing guides the viewer’s eye and makes the whole ensemble feel balanced and cohesive.

Think of your artwork as stars in a constellation. Each one has its own brilliance, but the magic happens when they’re positioned just right – with just enough space to breathe, connect, and tell a story.

General Guideline for Spacing

Ah, the golden question: How far apart should your artwork be? While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, here’s a guideline to steer you in the right direction:

Small to Medium Artworks: Aim for around 1-2 inches of space between frames. This provides enough separation to distinguish each piece while maintaining a cohesive look.

Larger Artworks: As artworks get larger, you can increase the spacing to around 2-4 inches. This accommodates their size and creates a balanced arrangement.

Clustered Arrangements: In cluster arrangements, consider the spacing between the edges of the outermost pieces. Aim for a distance of about 6 to 8 inches between each collection for a visually pleasing effect.

how far apart to hang images in a gallery

Experimenting with Gaps

Art is all about experimentation and discovery. And just like all rules in decorating…they are made to be broken. Don’t be afraid to play around with spacing to achieve different visual effects:

Tight Grouping: For a cozy and intimate atmosphere, experiment with a tighter spacing between smaller artworks. This creates a cluster that feels like a unified entity.

Breathing Room: On the flip side, more spacing can lend an airy and open feel. Experiment with larger gaps between artworks for a modern and clean aesthetic.

Mix and Match: In a cluster arrangement, don’t feel confined to a uniform gap. Varying gaps can add intrigue and uniqueness, making each piece stand out.

Just remember to treat each arrangement as a whole so that it doesn’t look cluttered and unrelated in the room.


Let’s recap the treasures we’ve uncovered in this post. We’ve journeyed through the world of hanging artwork with newfound confidence. Here’s a quick recap:

  • We explored the importance of balance, visual appeal, and the magic of arranging art based on themes, colors, and styles.
  • We discussed height and learning to adapt to different spaces and situations while maintaining consistency for a captivating look.
  • We conquered the challenge of 10-foot ceilings, discovering the wonders of vertical gallery walls and oversized artwork.
  • We talked about picture groups, creating a cohesive look, using the “centerpiece method,” and finding balance amidst different sizes and shapes.
  • We mapped out the best places for art in your home, from classic spots like above sofas and beds to unexpected corners like hallways and kitchen walls.
  • We uncovered the secrets of spacing, understanding the art of visual rhythm, and experimenting with gaps for various effects.

Remember, your home is the canvas for all of your decorating, including your artwork. Embrace the joy of experimenting, creating, and transforming your space into a reflection of your personality and style. There are no strict rules – only proven suggestions.

As you embark on your own decorating journey, remember that each piece you hang brings a bit of your spirit into your space. So let your creativity shine.

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