How high should you hang your artwork?

People ask me almost every day, “how high do you hang your pictures so they look good?” Unfortunately there isn’t a simple answer to this question, but I do have some suggestions that will help you make this easier. I generally like to hang pictures at various heights throughout the house. In certain rooms pictures will look better higher and in others they will look better lower. Every room also has its challenges, such as furniture and lighting fixtures getting in the way. I also don’t feel as though every wall in a room needs to have artwork hanging on it. Sometimes a little empty space can make everything look better.

Room-By-Room Guidelines

1) In rooms where you will be standing, such as hallways and bathrooms, pictures should be hung a little higher then eye level. Eye level on a picture is considered just above the middle of the artwork. This can be difficult to determine if family members vary greatly in height. Usually in this case I split the difference between the eye levels.

2) In rooms where you will be sitting, such as living rooms and dining rooms, pictures should be hung lower. This is so you can enjoy them while you are sitting. No one likes to sit in the front row of a movie theater and look up at the screen, why do it with your art.

3) On stair cases I like to hang pictures slightly higher than eye level. I base eye level from the step that you can look directly at the picture from parallel to that step. This works well because you can see the art easily going up and down the stairs. If you have an open area above the stair case that you can see, hang the pictures even higher to enjoy them from the area above. I also like to hang many pictures on the stairs with each picture incrementally going up.

4) Grouping pictures has become a common way to hang a great deal of art in a small amount of space. If you are planning to do this, I would not hang anything lower than two feet off the floor or higher than eight feet at the top of the picture. Anything outside of those measurements will be much too difficult to see and enjoy. Spacing between the pictures will need to be determined by the size and quantity of pictures. A good idea is to arrange them flat on the floor first and then transfer them to the wall one by one.

If you want to protect your art, be careful where you hang it.

1) Art shouldn’t be hung close to radiators. The heat will dry out the frame and artwork over time.

2) Artwork should never be hung in direct sunlight. The u.v. rays will damage the art.

3) Don’t hang artwork where heating/cooling vents will be blowing directly on it. This can cause damage to the art by drying it out in the winter and cause condensation in the summer.

4) Bathrooms – Be careful when hanging in a bathroom. Condensation from a shower can really damage artwork even if you have a vent system. If your mirrors get fogged up by the shower, I wouldn’t hang art with any value in the room. Also try not to hang any artwork where it might get splashed with water. Water can drip down off the glass and damage the picture from the inside out.

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