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Design Mistake #3

How to Hang Art Correctly

Design Mistakes_Art hung the wrong way_header pink

Art hung the wrong way on a wall is like a character in a movie wearing a really bad wig. It’s just kinda hard NOT to see it, and you wish so bad you could just rip it off, knowing that everything would be so much better without it. It doesn’t ruin your experience, but it’s just terribly distracting.

Whenever I walk into a persons home, whom I don’t know too well, they always ask me, nervously, ‘Do you instantly start analyzing the design and pick it apart?’ I typically say some sort of generic, ‘Oh no! I just shut it off – when I’m not at work I’m not at work!’ The truth is, yeah, I totally do. It’s like a chef noticing how food tastes at a neighborhood bbq, or a fashion designer noticing a good dress on a stranger. You just do whether you want to or not. Do I stare and judge and care? Not at all. But I am aware and often I see the same easy mistakes over and over and over again. So often that I’m just dying to give unsolicited advise to fix them – which is why we started this series.

Besides ‘The Bad/Generic Sofa‘ and ‘The Too-Small Rug‘, I constantly notice art hung all wrong – mostly too high and too small.

Growing up our art was always crazy high – it always took up the top 1/4 of the wall and you practically had to crane your neck to see it. This trend is still happening. Here are some general tips:

1. Yes, it should be ‘eye level’, but not if your ceilings are really low (typical is 8 – 9 feet) and not if you are really tall. If the wall were cut up vertically into four sections (going from bottom to top) then think of the art being in the third quadrant (counting from the floor).

2. If it’s a collection of art then you need to treat the whole collection as one piece, and start and stop it where it makes the most sense, as if it were one.

3. Engage as much as the wall as possible and orient the collection in the shape of the wall. The two photos above could be fine if you just tweaked them. The one one on the left just needs a piece added underneath it, and the one on the right needs those pieces to be in a grid that forms the shape of a square, properly proportioned to the wall. Those pieces are far too small to be hanging out on their own up there in a tiny little line.

Design Mistakes_Art too high for space 4

It hurts my soul to see these things. I mean, the room on the right doesn’t really have a chance, but the room on the left (above) could be fine/cute if they just moved that whole collection down 6″. Although they are suffering from the ‘rug too small‘ disease as well.

Speaking of too small, the second thing that I notice constantly is art that is just too small for the space.

Design Mistakes_Art too small for space 3

Both of these are cute photos with good art, but the space that the art is trying to fill is just way bigger than the pieces can handle. Generally the piece of art or the collection should be in the same shape and orientation of the wall that it is trying to fill. I get it, big art can be expensive, but you have more options these days – check out my epic online art roundup post here.

Design Mistakes_Art too small for space

You know these people. Now let’s save them from themselves.

While the situation is rather nuanced we tried to come up with some general rules for how high or how big the art should be. Remember, if your walls are really tall then you can go higher and if your piece of furniture is really low then consider going lower to help engage that whole space. But generally try to fill as much space on the wall as you can, allowing for a space around the pieces so they aren’t crammed towards the furniture, wall or moulding. How to properly hang your art_with blue text

I like art to be around 8″ above a piece of furniture, give or take. I’ve done it closer (like in Orlando’s place below/right), and that one did always look a bit crammed to me. You don’t want it to hit your head so typically 6 – 10″ gives you enough clearance to do that.

Everyone’s ‘eye level’ is different because we are all different heights, so that rule doesn’t really apply too much anymore. I’m sure that galleries have a rule about the middle of the piece being at eye level or something and often that does work, but if there is no piece of furniture below it then it might need to come down. Don’t be afraid of going lower. Consider the space you need to fill (from above a credenza to the ceiling) then place it 6 – 8″ above the piece of furniture (if its big enough) and see how it looks. The artwork and the piece of furniture should relate to each other and live near enough to each other that they collectively engage the whole wall together as a unit. Often, if there is a huge gap in between it will look disjointed.

Design Mistakes_Art hung the right height_credenza living room

I think these two photos (above) could have their collection or that piece of art start a bit higher, but scale-wise its awesome.

Design Mistakes_Art hung the right height_credenza living room 2 Design Mistakes_Art hung the right height_credenza living room 1

Slightly too big art is always better than too small. So if you have to choose, go bigger.

Here are a collection of spaces that I’ve styled with art – showing a variety of what works.

How to properly hang your art_roundup

Framebridge Gallery Wall | Mid-Century Credenza | Guest Bedroom Makeover | Family Circle Gallery Wall | Cup of Joe’s Bedroom | Cup of Joe’s Living Room

To see some of my favorite projects where we incorporated art, check out these different spaces: Oh Joy’s Studio, Mid-Century Eclectic Artist, LA Bungalow Makeover, Oprah Weekend Makeover. And if you are looking for good/affordable art check out my roundup of Best Online Art Resources. 

I know its kinda a complicated situation (for instance, I put the big photo of the face at least 12″ above the piece, breaking my own rule). Here’s a good trick I do ALL THE TIME: Put up the piece of art then stand back and take a photo of it. Pretend its not your house and that you have no emotional connection to it. Look at that photo and ask yourself ‘if I passed this picture in a magazine would I think that art it too low or high?’

This is a tricky one, so any questions?

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  1. Hi Emily, very helpful! When you say 57″ from the floor do you mean the center or bottom around 57″ from the floor?

  2. I love this advice, but I need more help! What to do if your ceilings are really, really tall (like, 14′ plus)? At a certain point do you just give up trying to engage the whole wall? Thanks!

    1. My question as well! We need to know! 🙂

    2. Then you just buy tons more art!

      (That’s probably not helpful… I’m just jealous because I have limited wall space and an addiction to art.)

  3. I love your tips! Question: is there a rule about collage frames? I’ve been collecting various pretty good picture frames for above my sofa. I hope that not a design No-No?

  4. I always LOVE how you style art, Emily! I have just about every one of your gallery walls on my Pinterest board. One thing I’ve struggled with is hanging art above a couch (or any climbable surface) when you’ve got a toddler around. My 2 year old likes to knock everything askew and pull frames off the wall. Any tips…besides teaching him some manners 😉 …???!

    1. Another blogger I read has the same 2yr old factor. She put those command picture hanging strips on the bottom of the frames, so if the child does try to move them, they won’t budge! Or, if they do, those strips are like velcro for your wall and easy to re-attatch.

      1. That’s what I did too for the big expensive art that my toddler always wanted to swing! I love those Command velcro strips. I use them to hang everything now!

      2. OOH that is smart. We don’t have that issue yet because nothing is above our sofa in the family room (because I have commitment issues) but that is smart.

    2. What if you pulled the couch away from the wall? Then if he’s standing on the couch and reaches back, he won’t be able to touch anything.

    3. So…*cough, cough*… I think two of the pictures (the one w the arrow on the wall, and the one next to it w the palm) look cool. I wouldn’t change a thing. Don’t you think there’s a sort of anti-fashion fashion … or anti-design design at work in those photos? It’s an aesthetic that is different from yours. I prefer this sorta “unfinished” look myself. But I’m always interested in what you have to say, dear Emily <3

      1. You expressed what I was thinking about those two photos! There’s a quirky edginess to them that I kind of admire although I don’t have the confidence to pull it off myself. I hope Emily comments too!

      2. I wonder what Emily thinks about it, but I feel like any time you want to break a rule, you have to be VERY careful about everything else.
        I’m all for “unfinished” look, but then the balance with colors/negative space/light/arrangement of objects on the side table/what-have-you must be perfect. When done well, it looks edgy and cool, but most times it just looks awkward-bad. And if awkward-bad is your aesthetic (which sounds super-judgy, but I don’t know how better to phrase it, so my apologies) then great, but I learned in my job that anything effortless actually takes longer to do.
        My team can spend almost an hour arranging confetti to look effortlessly thrown for a photo shoot, and don’t even get me started on making a toss pattern to look good.

        1. Keep in mind that while those photos do look cool, they are images shot from very specific angles showing just a fraction of the space. What works in a tiny vignette image may look ridiculous if viewed in the context of the whole room. Design “rules” can absolutely be broken but I think Emily’s are good general guidelines that speak to balance and proportion in a space.

  5. Helpful! My husband and I are tal and we sort of like our art higher, so I’ve been wondering if we were secretly breaking that rule all this time. But none of our high art is as egregious as your examples, yay!

    Based on your influence I’ve started going bigger and bigger with art around our home; now *I* secretly judge spaces with too-small art. Way too common. Thanks Em!

  6. My husband is very tall and insists on hanging the art at his eye level no matter how much I protest. When he goes on business trips I rehang everything 6 inches lower. He has never noticed!

    But I do have the same issue as one of your other readers. We have vaulted ceilings up to 16 feet tall. Do I need to engage the entire space above a sofa? Also any tips for how to arrange collages of art on walls that are angled ceilings? We have very few walls in our house with a completely horizontal ceiling at the top of a wall.

    Thanks!

    1. We currently have a 38″ W X 28″ H tapestry on a blank wall with no furniture under it in our breakfast room. We are replacing it with three pictures. We want to have one 11X14 vertical and two 8X10 horizontal pictures in it’s place. Would it be okay to put the two 8 X10’s one below the other and the vertical 11X14 picture. on the left or the right side of them? If so, should the 11 X14 picture be centered so it’s in the middle of both horizontals or should it be level with them on the top or bottom? Also how much space should be between the pictures.
      Thank you,

  7. Hi Emily! How would you deal with hanging art on a curved wall? I’m struggling with this one. I have art on it (nice art), but it’s a row of small, releated pieces. I’d like to break it up and have a group that varies in size, but the curve of the wall makes hanging large art (which is what the space really demands) impossible, because it would “bridge the curve,” so to speak. Advice would be welcome.

    1. maybe your large art needs to be flexible so it can follow the curve, but still have an art like presence–such as a beautiful tapestry or quilt. You might have to customize a way to hang it, but it wouldn’t bridge your curve.

  8. You said “unless you have really low ceilings.” so, what would you suggest for low ceilings? my ceilings are an unfortunate, cavelike 7.5 feet. and due to lack of picture windows we have 4 distinct wall spaces in the living room that need art (probably 4″ high by anywhere from 8-12″ long), but without much height to work with, anything vertical looks disproportionate.

    1. I am in the same situation you are. A little bit taller- 8′ ceilings, but NO windows. It’s like a cave.

      Emily, help!

      Thedandyliar.com

  9. Emily, I love this post! This may be a dumb question… but do the same rules go for mirrors?

  10. How about blank walls? We have a few weird wall spaces anywhere from 2 to 5 feet wide (between a window and a wall, between a door and a wall, etc.) where there isn’t really room for a furniture piece, but art always seems sort of oddly placed. I’ve thought about a gallery wall on the wider spaces–are there “rules” for such a thing?!

  11. I loved all these tips! We’re in the process of redecorating our living room, and there are a few things I need to change after reading this that I think will really help the room out!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  12. Love this! You really do share the secrets Emily. And I luv ya for it!

    1. What about hanging prints and oils in the same space?

  13. Any tips on art above dining tables? We have a small dining room, so the long, largest wall has no furniture except for the dining table floating 2 feet in front of it. Right now I have floating shelves with frames leaning on them starting about 1 foot above the tops of the chairs, so people don’t hit their heads on them when they scoot their chairs back.
    Too high? Do I need to ditch the floating shelves in there? Just buy a bigger house? 🙂

  14. I’ve always had a pretty good eye for hanging things, even if I never do it, but these guidelines definitely take out a lot of the guess work.

    And can we talk about how lust worthy all these rooms are? Especially that grid wall with the art above the bed, #swoon.

    Josh | The Kentucky Gent
    http://thekentuckygent.com

  15. This post came just in time for me. I just purchased a framed diptych (24 x 38 ea) at auction (so no returns!) for a 6 foot wide wall. I’ve been a little nervous that they will arrive and be too big. But now I am 100% confident that it will be perfect.

    Right now the art in this space is 36″ wide, but only about 24″ tall. Although the color is perfect, the span is pretty good, and it is hung at the right level, it still feels just a tad anemic. Now I understand that it feels like it’s floating because are no furnishings to anchor it, i.e., it is in fact too small for the space.

  16. Hi there – I live in a condo with one very long wall. Is it ok to break up the wall into 2 halves, with a gallery wall on the left and a large scale piece of art next to it?

    thanks!
    Lisa

  17. Hi Emily!

    I would love to know how you go about hanging art in rooms that serve multiple functions. For ex. I live in NYC, and along one wall we have (from left to right), a small desk, a couch, and a bar cart. I have a painting above the couch and a 3 small pieces of art above the bar cart. Individually they look good but as a collective wall, I don’t think it’s ideal. How do you figure out how to style an entire wall, taking into account all the different “areas” of the space?

  18. Hi Emily!

    I would love to know how you go about hanging art in rooms that serve multiple functions. For example, I live in NYC in a small apartment, and along one wall we have (from left to right), a small desk, a couch, and a bar cart. I have a painting above the couch and a 3 small pieces of art above the bar cart. Individually they look good but as a collective wall, I don’t think it’s ideal. How do you figure out how to style an entire wall, taking into account all the different “areas” of the space? I already have a gallery wall on the opposite wall so I realize that this side shouldn’t be too overdone. Still, without the art above the bar cart the wall looks a bit empty. Would you recommend one very large piece of art above the sofa?

    1. Sorry for the double (now triple) post!

  19. Thank you so much! Perfect timing as I’m about to change out photos on wall shelves to a gallery wall. Your samples of what works are amazing.

  20. love this post, thank you! i have come to terms tho, some folks’ spaces are just a lost cause haha

  21. Emily, what are your thoughts on a quirky wall FULL of pictures and photos? As we added on to our entry gallery wall, we thought it would be neat to fill the wall from floor to ceiling with different framed prints, photos and artwork, but paint all thrifted frames the same exact color. Interested on your take!

    Thanks in advance!

  22. Again, can’t say enough how great this advice is. Any suggestions for stairway artwork?

  23. any advice on how to present to real oil on canvas work? We have about 15-20 pieces. Should we frame them? Hang them all together? I kind of like the unframed look so you can see the paint on the edges and see it’s a real painting- but I don’t want it to look like we left it that way bc we couldn’t afford to have it framed or bc it was unplanned. Should we mix and match them on a gallery wall with other kinds of artwork? Help!

  24. I have a large, long (14′), blank wall in my living room that I want to make a gallery wall. The ceilings are about 7.5′. There is no furniture on the wall. I have a mixture of art in terms of size and shape, including a small quilt (about 2.5’x3′) that I’m in the process of creating. My plan is (once it’s finished) to put the quilt slightly off-center and then place everything else on either side of the quilt. Since there is no furniture on the wall to engage, how close to the floor can things go without looking odd?

  25. Great post. It takes a steady eye to discern the correct placement for art. I have this problem at my home. The prints are too high (I’m over 6 feet tall).

    My wife and our friends are always craning their necks to see the pieces; I’ll share this with her and give her a free “I told you so!”

    Great blog, Emily.

  26. Agreed. Thank you, it’s one of those things I want to give unsolicited advice about too. So I’ll add another, to prevent gallery walls from jarring the senses, make either the top along the ceiling or bottom row of the different pictures line up. The distances between artwork should be balanced but doesn’t need to be even or matching. But when the bottom row of mismatched sized pictures goes along a line about 6-8 inches above the sofa, ahhhh so much better…

  27. Hey Emily! Love your blog. I think this is actually design mistake #4! Design mistake #3 was painting a dark room white (loved that post by the way!).

  28. Where is that plaid rug in the first photo from? So pretty! ????

  29. That’s why you are the designer/stylist and get paid the big bucks. You just know how to do it right. The others are just off. (Some obviously WAY off…..)

  30. Hi Emily,

    I don’t have a question, this is just a comment of appreciation. Your posts are always very well written and substantial and I just want to thank you for taking your time in writing this blog. I would much rather read fewer posts that really have something to say, rather than the daily grind posters that just try to spit something out because they have to. So thank you.

    Robin

  31. Just an FYI, I believe the “eye level” gallery standard is to hang artwork 60″ on center. A small museum in Sun City (no longer open) used to hang art at 56″ on center to be more “bi-focal friendly.” Thanks for the great blog post– I am bothered by a lot of the same things … scale and how the piece/pieces relate to the rest of the wall and surrounding furnishings are so important!

  32. Too-small art drives me nuts. I love art and have so much of it I have to store it under my bed and rotate it, but… None of it is BIG enough. I dunno if it’s just that the young silkscreen artists whose work I buy can’t afford to make bigger prints, but they never sell it in sizes that are appropriate for hanging over a sofa or a mantel. So my whole house is a series of gallery walls…

  33. Yes, I have a question/ dilemma:
    I have a painting by a well known artist that I inherited . Its probably the most expensive thing I own, and I love it. The problem is that its really tiny, about 6×10 inches. Because its so special I don’t want it to get lost as part of a gallery wall, but it just looks properly silly by itself. So… What would Emily do?

    1. Could you maybe frame the piece with a nice, wide mat so that it has more of a presence? Then maybe it wouldn’t look weird on it’s own!

  34. Awesome tips! I’ll have to use these ideas next time I buy pictures for my home.
    http://www.lovelysharice.com

  35. Thank you so much for posting this. I just moved into my new home that we’ve been building for the last year and we’re finally getting into the interior and exterior decorating, so this is juts perfect timing! Very helpful.

    http://www.lioninthewild.com

  36. What do you do when you are 4’11” and your husband is 6’5″?

    And don’t say get a new husband lol!

  37. i shared this on my facebook because i see PLENTY of people sharing their tacky rooms with pictures jammed right up there at the crown molding. what are you going to do? paint some giant mural that spans the length on your walls or hang some epically huge piece of art? what are you saving all that space for? so bad.

    i’m truly lovely the series! 🙂

  38. Such great tips! It seems like you almost always can do bigger art work than you might think at first. I love all your examples, too… stunning rooms.

  39. Ha! I’m 5’4″ and my husband is 6’1.” Eye level is definitely subjective!

  40. What about big walls that go on forever and vaulted ceilings?! Most of the photos I see with great art collections are, at the most 10′ ceilings. I have yet to see an designer to a piece on walls that are 14′ plus…..

  41. Great tips! I just need a good handyman now!

    http://www.bazaarliving.com

  42. When I walked into the recently remodeled teacher’s lounge at my school, the first thing I noticed was the single (too small) piece of artwork hung too high. Of course, I blurted out, “that picture is hung too high!” and everyone looked at me like I was crazy. I can’t help it; it offends my sense of aesthetics. It’s still hung that way two years later, and it bugs me every time. Love your blog, Emily!

  43. When hanging art above a credenza, dresser, etc. should you take into consideration the placement of lamps or other tall accessories? Currently, we have two large scale botanicals hanging above our dresser, but they’re shifted a bit to the right in order to accommodate the lamp we have sitting on the left side of the piece. Should we have just centered the art and had the lamp covering up a portion of it?

    1. Should artwork always be centered above furniture? Large canvas artwork to go above my dresser. (it’s too big to go above my bed). The wall the dresser is against shorter than the facing wall that my bed is against – so dresser is at the foot of my bed and the two are off center.
      The dresser is centered on the wall, but I have a 45″ TV on the dresser (pushed to the left side). If I center the canvas art above the dresser, the TV hides some of it and it doesn’t look nice.
      If I center the TV, it would hide most of the art. If I place the art off to the right side of the wall, I have this blank space to the left above the TV, but then the art is almost centered with the bed.

  44. Thanks for posting the article. There’s a hole science behind this =P

  45. What do you do when you mess it up and there are a bunch of holes now showing above your art? Do you just suck it up and patch and paint it? Any good tips for avoiding this–I’ve tried measuring but I still screw it up. Thanks!

  46. Great tips! Personally I think that artwork on your walls should somehow match the rug, which many call “art for the floor”. And there is a lot to choose from, especially Swedish rugs are really artistic: http://dorisleslieblau.com/vintage-rugs/scandinavian-rugs

  47. Great advice. Did you know Griplock Systems has art hanging cable suspension systems that make it extremely easy to hang any artwork? You can adjust vertically and horizontally without putting a bunch of holes in the wall. Very stylish with fine stainless steel aircraft cable. http://www.griplockart.com

  48. We have high ceilings and my husband’s pretty tall. We had our art at 57″ (from the center of the frame), but it was just too low and looked silly. We brought it up to 63″ and it’s perfect. I think it’s best to go with what feels best and use eye-level as a good starting point!

  49. The recommendation that the art should be half as wide to 2/3 as wide is great, but what about the height? Is there a good ratio guide there to the furniture it’s over?

  50. Hi Emily – Thx, great advice.

    I have 2 long (3′ long by 2′ wide) posters that I want to hang on each side of a doorway. The problem is, one side of the doorway has a wing chair. Could it ever be possible to place these posters, one on each side, above the wing chair’s height? (Maybe the back is 50″ tall?)

    Thx Thx
    June

  51. We just redid our ensuite and wanted to add art to a wall. The wall we were thinking of has a window The space a available is about the size of the window and the piece we have is pretty big too. The glass on the window is translucent. Is it ok to hang the art there? Let me know if you want a picture to better envision it

  52. do the frames need to match in a collection on one wall? I have an industrial office, exposed pine beams, a desk of white oak and black metal legs. I have a few works of are tith simple wood gold family color, more traditional. do I need to change them to black or match other woods in office? also have one modern litho in a red metal frame. should i leave it for fun and hang on separate wall?

  53. have 15 foot ceilinging in my living room. I have an artist I am very fond of and I have seven of her works. I am not sure if should hang them above the “normal” eye height???

  54. Hi Emily,
    I have three brushed nickel flowers to hang in my bathroom. There is a 24″ towel bar to the left of the space and I am really struggling with where to hang them. Can you advise? Oh the flowers have about a 10″ diameter.
    Thanks

  55. Hi Emily! SO helpful! I know this post was a hundred years ago, but was wondering how you feel about the rule I read online that the width of a piece (or series) of art should be a fraction of the width of the furniture beneath it. Is that always true, for example where you have a series of pictures for impact that would take up an entire wall, but would be much wider overall than the console that sits below? Thanks!

    1. To make up for space on either side of the console I have used a tall vase, floor lamp, small chair or narrow bookshelves. I recently decorated a large wall behind my fireplace with a flatscreen TV and I knew I needed to add to both sides of the wall. I put a small chair with a floor lamp on one side and an oversized metal vase on the other so that I could place three pieces of wall art above each side. It looks amazing!

  56. I have 20 foot ceiling in my foyer. From the top of the entry door to the bottom of the window above is 8ft. What size pic would be ideal?

  57. Are there any real “rules” on subject matter? I live in the Northern Midwest, but I am really attracted to southwestern landscapes… is it so wrong? I’m not trying to do anything thematic, just a piece or two from my favorite painter. I’m just afraid of it being cheesy (like a moose painting in Florida house)! Help!

  58. Hi, I really hate to ask, but please do you give personalized advice on how to hang we all art? I hope you do!!! We have 3 framed pieces that make up a group. They really have to go together because they don’t go with any other pieces because of color and theme. They are 3 “new” prints made from the antique plates for some of the Hamilton prints of classical frieze, urns and plates. Two the pieces measure 15″ x 15″ each and the third measures 30″ across and 21″ tall. They are all framed the same.

    We have a small space to the right of the living room fireplace that would be perfect for them but it measures only 39″ across. We could maybe move a stacking chest over and steal some more room that way. Here is the question: do we hang them with the two smaller pieces across the top or across the bottom, or one small piece above and one below the larger piece? We’ve tried laying these out on the floor and just can’t seem to “see” them in a way that is pleasing to the eye. They have a “heavy” look to them. Feel free to google them if you’re not sure what they look like.

    Any help you could give would be very much appreciated, thank you in advance!

  59. Hi Emily, love your sense of style. Do you have a source for that black and white cityscape painting in the credenza living room?

    Thank you

  60. Should you place artwork above Windows and doorways?

  61. Very Helpful emily, alot of people get this concept completely wrong. You have great info for all of us.

    http://helpinghandhomehealth.com

  62. Great article!

    I have recently hung a framed art piece opposite 3 large windows. During the day, the light from the windows, reflects off the glass. At night, the chandelier and recessed lights, reflect off the glass. The light source makes it difficult to see the art. Do you have any suggestions on how to reduce the glare? I love the piece and really want to leave it on that wall.

    Thank you in advance for any tips.
    Nicole

  63. At our front entrance above the front doors we have an empty space and then two large windows. Can we hang a large painting on the empty space

  64. Please advise me of the proper way to hang a vertical painting between horizontal paintings above a sofa. Do you align the tops or bottoms of the paintings or do you center the vertical between the two horizontals. The pictures have the same frames and are the same size (16 x 20). Thank you very much.

  65. I have two Tarkays to hang: Suzanne and Outdoor Seaside Cafe. Are they too similar to hang on caddy corner walls in a living room, or should they be separated further apart in the room?

  66. Is there a rule of thumb for best width (length) and height of art work if handing a single piece over a console table? In this case console table is 60″ W x 12″ D x 31″ H. Ceilings are normal not high. And I want to put some decorative items and framed pictures on the console table. Thank you

  67. Would like to send you a photo and get your opinion, is that possible?

  68. Love your eye….and would truly appreciate your advise. I have collection (30ish) bird lithographs i want to put in dining room we are currently building. Have donated a full wall for them…not sure if i should put sconces or just the birds.

  69. How do you handle it when there is a light switch on the wall? Do you work around it, so the switch is among the art? Do you pretend the wall ends before the switch? This drives me crazy!

  70. How do you handle it when there is a light switch on the wall? do you include it among the art? Do you pretend the wall ends before the light switch? This drives me crazy!

  71. Do you have to keep frame styles and colors consistent if hanging a collection of things? Can you mix and match paintings and photographs or should they be consistent?

  72. Hi Emily,
    Great post. The only thing it is missing is that you didn’t cover that there are art hanging systems that can make this job way easier. One of the issues is getting it in the exact right place on the wall with a nail. At MBS we offer very low cost rail systems that look amazing. We even have a site just for these items. I hope it helps some of your readers.
    http://mbs-hanging-systems.com/

  73. I have a very large square 3 1/2 ft all sides pain’t in no frame. It is of 2 bluebirds each on a seperate branch with background of blues grey white muted pink green leaf. What can you suggest I put on each side to accompany the painting? Sconce, small photos, iron bird cages? I’m stumped

  74. How high should I hang something above a breakfast bar? The wall is split where the bar opening is so 57″ rule doesn’t work. Thanks in advance and am a huge fan!

  75. Hi Emily

    Thanks for all this advice. It still hasn’t solved our problem sadly. We have 2 x Peter Max paintings arriving shortly, very large and my hubby wants to place one each side of our 70 inch TV in 1 of our lounges, which is open plan with a large wooden dining table and chairs, fancy fireplace, large clock and I disagree as I think less is more with large paintings and why not spread them out. We have a very large house with a 2nd lounge that is visible from the other lounge with lots of wall space and I think it would be better if we split them up and put 1 in each lounge. Your thoughts please?

  76. I have a 10′ wide fireplace mantle that is relatively high, leaving me a short & wide wall space between the mantle and the ceiling to display art. I have a small collection of black and white art (all original paintings or sketches) of various sizes that I had intended to display on this wall that is a great dusty light. There are not enough pieces yet to fill this space. I love the B&W collection, but wonder if I should add a few pieces with SOME color to them. Our art throughout the rest of the house is not B&W. Is all B&W in one area just too much of a good thing?

  77. It is amazing ideas how to hang art? I thought it would be better that you can also add a how to hang wall tapestry? Tapestry is one of the elegant product which gives a complete makeover to your home. I would suggest you can add this ideas also. There are various ways to hang the wall tapestry but I really like your superb ideas about the art. Thanks for sharing us.

  78. Hi Emily, ur article is interesting. Thanks for sharing. However i have a big problem which most house designers cannot solve. Based on fengshui, i need to hang a waterfall art above/behind e tv, but i do not know how to hang e correct way to make it beautiful as most art are hang at e sofa area. Can u pls advise?? Thank uu..

  79. My couch is 90″. I plan to put up three picture frames with the far left (if you’re looking at the wall) saying Live, the middle one saying Laugh & the right Love in the following pattern: _ – _ ( so down, up, down). I plan to put a larger photo or canvas art below the middle one and am debating on the size of 20×24 or little larger. Above the Live and Love frames I am planning to put up a picture or pictures of family but am still working on the size of these vinyl print frames. Help me please and thank you.

  80. I finally found a piece of art work for the wall that separates my foyer, a flight of stairs and the living area from my kitchen. The space is 131″ wide by 65″ deep and soars above the opening into the kitchen and a large closet. The canvas is 40 inches high x 60 inches wide. I know I want it centered in the space horizontally, but what about the vertical position?

  81. I have a large mirror, 2 small shadow boxes and a metal wire flower. Can I hang the 2 boxes on one side of mirror and flower on the other side of the mirror? How would I hang the shadow boxes, one on top of the other, next to each other or angled?

  82. I finally ordered a large canvas family picture and as I read this I’m realizing it’s a little on the small side for the space. ? Is there any chance you’d email me so I could email you back a picture of it and see what you suggest? A friend mentioned possibly putting some wood planks or something behind it but I am just having a really hard time envisioning what would look good. This was a splurge for me and I’m really excited to have the print on my wall but I also don’t want it to look tacky if it is too small. The couch is 87 inches or so wide. I got the 24 x 36 canvas because I like the composition better than the 30 x 40. Looks like both were technically too small, but I’m just not sure what to do about it now. It is a picture taken on the beach where the background is the majority of the picture and my family is off to the side a bit. Thank you I advance for any ideas! ?

  83. I have 14′ ceiling with a 72″ wide sideboard. How large should my artwork be. I also have 32.75″ tall lamps on each side of the sideboard.

  84. Emily – Coming into my entrance hall, there’s a blank wall on the left about 10 ft wide by 12 ft high(maybe a little higher) – there’s no furniture on that left wall. On the right, there’s a three tiered small black console with gold/brass legs and a giant gold/brass sunflower mirror above it.

    There is a piece of art I am thinking about getting for that left wall. It’s 48 ‘ wide and 60 ‘ tall. I was just thinking of doing that one thing on that wall…I don’t want to get too cluttery . Would that piece be too big, just right…what are your thoughts without seeing it? As it is something I would have to order I can’t just put it up to see how it looks. It’s on sale and I’m drawn to it and stumbled on your site for determing what’s proper size art, etc. for a blank wall.

  85. In my home office, I have a stand-up desk adjacent to an armoire, leaving about 1/4 of the wall (at the top) visible. I have a round clock and a larger square painting. They are big enough that they only fit next to each other but cannot be hung above each other. Should I get a third piece of ‘art’ so the clock is on one side of the painting and there is art on the other side of the bigger painting, to balance it out?

  86. I want to hang a Warhol silkscreen that’s 30″ x 34″ above a bookcase that’s 56″ high. I know this isn’t ideal. Can this still work? Thanks.

  87. I have a big empty space on my dining room walls. I want to hang paintings. Large ones. But I’m guessing they could be too large. What’s the gauge to go by when hanging artwork? I have a china cabinet that will be in between the two paintings. Should the paintings be the exact same size? And if so, how much wall space should be left after hanging?

  88. Very nice !!! I enjoy your every word. Thanks for sharing. The wall hanging is the great idea for home decor. Like as wall tapestry, mandala tapstyry cheap tapestry the great thing for wall hanginf also.

  89. I have a large abstract art hanging in the center of a large wall, infront is a television. On both sides of that large wall, are two standing book shelves, on one side is a small abstract art above the book shelve, the other side is a decorative vase, above is a small painting the reader alignedwith the other. My daughter does not think it matches. I like the concept, can you help in clarifying.

  90. my sofa is 124 and the piece i want to hang is 60′ wide. is it too small?

  91. Hi! I would love some helpful hints for how to design a wall with moldings. My walls are light grey, and I have two rectangular moldings that are about 75 ft high and 35 ft long. I am planning on bringing an orange couch in front of the wall, and am having a hard time figuring out how to hang art because the moldings are in the way of all of my ideas! Any creative minds out there have some good ideas to share? Thanks!

  92. Makes me laugh how so many people believe this nonsense from ‘inter web experts’. If it looks good to your eye it is fine. This woman’s eye is not mine. What she finds pleasing I may not. Do your own thing if you like it that is all that matters. She seems a bit hung up on rugs.

  93. Hi. I really love your advice. I have 22 foot ceilings in my foyer. I’m going to put a console table that will be 5 feet wide and 3 feet tall. I will also be putting accessories on the console table so I feel like there should be at least 12 inches in between the furniture and art. The struggle is the size of the piece of art. I am looking to have a piece of art made. I’m thinking 4 feet high and 3 feet wide.
    Thoughts??
    Could really use some advice
    Thanks

  94. My husband hung a painting too high above sofa on a 20 ft wall. He absolutely refuses to change it due to the difficulty. Can I place some metal sculptures inbetween the painting and couch to offset the painting with same theme?

  95. I have a modern couch where the pillows extend 8″ above the back of couch which is 22″ above the floor. The pillows are spaced such that you see just the 22″ highback of couch sometimes. The wall is approx 12′ high. Trying to figure out how high to hang two side by side 36″ pictures. Any suggestions? Should the bottom of pictures be 8″ -10″ above 30″, 8″-10″ above 22″ or other?

  96. I put a large chalkboard 4′ across above a 5′ loveseat on a wall that is 6′ wide. There’s nothing else on the wall so the chalkboard looks so plain there alone. Do I put a wreath above it? Maybe a shelf? Put a sconce on each side?

  97. Choosing furniture for the home that is not easy. We must adapt to the state of the house and the neighborhood. Choose your home perabotanan gudemeis.com. There are many interesting selection of furniture which you can choose to fill the room of your house.

  98. My couch is not centered on my wall due to an odd shaped room, do I center the mirror directly above the couch? And if so would adding two smaller pictures on the longer wall side look odd?

  99. Hi Emily!

    Need some hep here.

    We have a 15′ wall (10′ ceilings) and a sofa against the wall. Sofa is 85″. To the left of the sofa, we have a single chair that is 33″ deep (together they make an “L” shape and have a coffee table common to them.

    We want to hang art above the sofa on the 15′ wall. We would liek to hang three 36 x 36″ framed art pieces.

    Are these OK even though they will obviously be wider in conglomerate c/w the sofa (but smaller than the sofa and side chair)?

    If we can get away with them, what spacing would you recommend?

    How high from the back of the sofa would you place the bottom of the framed pieces?

    Thank you SOOOOOO much!

    Vic

  100. I have only a large king seat and a side table with a lamp on one wall. Do I fill the entire wall with a grouping on only the space covered by the furniture?

  101. I love the idea of decorating with large artwork. I have been since I saw a large art print in a friend’s bathroom, it was unique and intriguing. I definitely agree that art too big is better than art too small.

  102. I have 2 related Terry Ridlin pictures, framed with glass, about 42X30″.
    My wall is large enough to hold both nicely, but do I hang then even with each other, or can I stagger them a few inches, with one hanging higher than the other?
    Thank you.

  103. We have a lot of art; collected over the years; momentous and family and we want someone to come and guide us and hang the art artfully. I enjoyed your piece viewed by google. Where are you located. We are in Pacific Grove and our home and husband’s office has art that we want hung but need help. Is this something that you do? My phone number is
    831-333-1000
    Sharon Snyder
    Thank you

  104. Hi Emily , I really need some help coordinating a large abstract piece of art I just bought . The piece is 60×40 horizontal . It is by Jaison Cavenalli A Heart So Big . I put in in my living room however the wall that it’s on is also the same wall my that my dining room shares. I don’t know what to do I thought about adding something metal or a mirror . I live in the Midwest in Illinois so I have a smaller home 1800 square feet and a contemporary style inside with some my dining table being ovval oak with pedestal . I am at a loss please help

  105. Great information! My question is what if your art is very different but in similar frames. How different of a painting is ok to combine on one wall? Different as in color, theme or genre. Thanks for your advice!

  106. Hi.. great article. I always notice art is above a sofa or other licensed of furniture. Can you please tell me how to hang art on a bare wall with nothing to sit below it?

    Thanks

    Barry

  107. I have a collection of 5 flower pictures which I am going to hang in a group of 3, and the other 2 on a different wall. Turns out the frames are not exactly the same size, up to 1″ difference in size. How do I hang them? Even on top, even on bottom, or kind of in the middle?

  108. I have a question-

    We just purchased a beautiful leather sofa, 8 ft. I wanted to switch out my artwork so I purchased a 4 panel planked piece that totaled the length of the sofa, 8 ft but 2 ft high. It protrudes out 2 inches so I was afraid of it being too close to the sofa (8-10″) in the event someone like my husband or a guest went to put their arm across the back of the sofa and possibly knocked it off the wall (ouch). I went with 16″ above and I have 9 ft ceilings. I think it looks ok but now I am second guessing it after reading this article. There was no way for me to embed a photo here.

    Thanks!

  109. Hi! There is a picture I’m looking to purchase but think it may be too big. It’s 39 3/4 length and width and the wall is only 42” across with a high slanted ceiling. What are your thoughts? Thanks!

  110. Hi, I have 8′ ceilings and my king size headboard is 47″ high. So, I’ve found a great piece of art that is 45″ x 45″. That would only leave me 2.5 inches at the top and bottom of the art. Can I do it?

  111. Nice Article! Thanks for sharing the post, this is a very nice article. If you want to beautiful mandala design tapestry. Please visit our website. http://www.handicrunch.com

  112. Hi Emily! found your site searching for help in hanging art (prints) for our brand new office building. Starting out in the conference rooms. We are actually trying to cover up some mishaps w/outlets in the wrong spaces and maneuver around thermostats. Any ideas for commercial buildings? Hard enough deciding on art, then figuring out these issues in the boardroom. Any suggestions WELCOME! wish I could send you a photo to get your opinion!!! Thank you!

  113. I moved into a mobile home with more open space than wall space. I paint and have favorite paintings I want to hang and not look like I’m just bragging about my art. This may be more of a challenge than I’m able to address. So are a variety of sizes and do not know how to begin this project. Also,, I have framed the paintings in different color and style frames. Is it possible to display my work without looking garish? I have most of one wall that will not have furniture and that is the only space in this place where I have room to put up pictures.

  114. How do I combine or arrange different styles of art or photos on a wall to give a cohesive look. I.e. I moved in with my boyfriend and am trying to combine our existing art and also add new pieces

  115. Trying to decide whether or not to hang a large picture above a tall bedroom chest

  116. I hung my collage art too high on a large wall above my sofa. How do I fix it? It’s about 16 inches above the sofa. We have put anchors in the wall and lowering it will tear up the wall. Any ideas?

  117. Here’s a question dealing with a piece of art that is bigger than most folks own.
    I’ll start by saying I live in a loft with 16ft ceilings throughout. I already have chosen the grouping of pieces that will hang together on a “floating wall”.
    Here are the dimensions to consider.
    The wall is 14ft tall.
    The painting to which I refer (the grounding piece in the group) is 8ft tall and 3ft wide.
    The sofa is a Chesterfield that is 31″ deep and 80″ long.
    The other element, on the right end of the sofa (if your facing the sofa and wall), is a 7ft tall Mannequin floor lamp that consumes a 2ft width.
    Without putting everything on the wall, my best guess with this one is to go ahead and hang this 8ft long painting 12″ above the sofa. That leaves almost 4ft of wall between the floor and bottom of the painting, with 1ft (of that total 4ft) between sofa and bottom of painting, and finishing off the wall above the painting with about 2ft off space.
    How does that sound. ?
    Without a photo I know it’s somewhat difficult to visualize but I hope I’ve explained it well enough for you to “see” what I’m telling you.
    Also keep in mind that 3 of the other 6 pieces in the grouping are relatively large and the other 3 are separate Audubon bird prints that are matted and framed exactly alike and essentially take up about 70″ in length and 25″ in width and are hung to mimic the proportions of the 8ft painting I’ve written you about today.
    Thanks in advance for your expertise and help.
    -Skip

  118. This is perfect! This will allow me to focus my attention on other design concerns and leave the art hanging to my new assistant. This will also give her the encouragement she needs to trust her decisions…

  119. I just hang up my art below my bedroom widow. What do you think of that

  120. I am looking for additional size advice for art above sofas. I understand the width suggestions. But what about the height dimensions of the art work itself.

  121. I have 3 pieces to hang in a bathroom on the wall where the door opens. Do i center it on the wall even though one of the pieces will be hidden when the door is open or work around the door when its open? It’s a small bathroom, 5×8 but 12′ ceilings.

  122. Hi! Hanging coordinating paintings by the same artist over two twin beds and one painting is horizontal, the other vertical. Do I line them up at the top, through the center or bottom? It is a clean, colorful and modern little boys room and i just love the white-matted and framed whimsical artwork. Thanks so much!

  123. Hi, I have a rectangular pass through from my kitchen, the top of which is about 5 ft from the floor, leaving about 3 ft of wall above. The wall is about 6.5 ft long. What size of paintings would do best there?
    Thanks!

  124. Thanks great info

  125. I’ve just purchased a long awaited new sofa which will arrive early December. The sofa is 86″ long. I paint but due to a back injury I’m limited to nothing larger that 24 x 36″. I have a painting that is 24″ x 30″ which I really want in a place of honor. It, along with most of my painting are underwater landscapes of fish and coral along with some paintings of whales, various fish and jellyfish. The majority of paintings are 18 x 24 and 16 x 20. My objective is to fill the entire wall with paintings at some point in time (the wall is just over 18′ long with an8 foot ceiling. I’m afraid the overall effect might be overwhelming to the eye. Is there anyway to space the paintings so they are clustered correctly but wit enough space not to be a jumble of subjects and colors? I’m sorry this is so long but I’m anxious after so many years to finally be able to hang my paintings. Truth is, I’ve been without a sofa & sitting in a kitchen chair in my family room for two years. Any suggestions would be gratefully appreciated.

  126. Hi, can you please credit the image of the green couch with the Warhol prints above it to SFA Design, and link back to our website http://www.sfadesign.com/ ? Unfortunately, you do not have permission to use this image without proper credit. Thanks!

  127. When hanging art does all the art have to have the same them? If they are different sizes but framed the same can they be different styles of painting? All are oil originals but some are landscape and some are wildlife, some are classic and others are impressionist. Can you mix these or do you need to common theme and style?

  128. I love this article- it was very helpful! Question for you- I am buying art for above my fireplace. How high up should the top of the art go- right to the ceiling? Or should it stop a few inches below?

    I’m wondering because I have 60″ of height to work with, (from the top of the mantle to to ceiling). So I was thinking of buying art that is 60″ high, to take it right to the top of the ceiling… But the tallest one I can find is only 45″ high.

    Maybe I should keep looking? Thank you in advance!

  129. Emily,
    I want to put up some board and batten wainscoting approx 5′ high with 8′ tall windows. I’m doing double boxed wainscoting so feel this scale works best for the room, but now wonder where to hang art, if at all?

  130. What a beautiful idea… Love them all. 🙂 However, as you are the most inspirational blogger, I need you to ask something. My living room walls are really tall. How can I decorate them in the most unique way? Do you think such wall decoration https://www.decoshaker.com/wall-murals would look nice? I’m thinking about really large, colorful wallpaper near my sofa.

  131. What would look best above a fireplace that takes up a big portion of the wall it’s on. It only has about a third of the wall above the mantel left? Thank you.