How to Hang Artwork, Pictures and Wall Decor at the Perfect Height Everytime

by Sasha on September 1, 2010

One of the subtle little details that gives a home that designer look is properly hung artwork and wall decor. It’s one of the easiest things to do, however it’s probably one of the most common decorating mistakes people make! Hanging artwork too high negatively affects the rooms’ proportions and creates an uncomfortable feeling in the room (plus it makes me feel short!).

So what is the right height to hang wall decor?

Common knowledge tells us to display artwork at eye level, but what does that mean?

It turns out the perfect height is 57″ to the centre of the picture or grouping. This is the measurement that Museums and Art galleries typically use, so to confirm this I ran around the house measuring the height of my artwork just to make sure that this was an accurate measurement, and it was, every time! How simple is that?

So here is a foolproof way to measure for installing artwork:

Step 1

Measure the height of the artwork and divide that number by 2. (i.e. 30″ / 2 = 15″ )

hanging pictures walls

Step 2

Measure the distance between the top of the picture wire (when stretched) and the top of the frame. (i.e. 4″ )

instructions for hanging artwork

Step 3

Subtract the second number (distance of wire to top of frame) from the first number (half of the artwork size). (i.e. 15″ – 4″ = 11″)

Step 4

Take the number you just figured out and add 57″, then mark that measurement on the wall (in pencil). Voila, install your picture hanger on this mark, set the picture, and you have a perfectly hung artwork or wall decor! (i.e. 57″ + 11″ = 68″ )hanging pictures on walls

This method works for several differnt types of artwork or picture groupings:

display picture framesdisplay pictures

hanging picture frames

Finally, I have to share this absolutely spectacular invention for hanging wall decor, they are called monkey hooks and they are a dream to install, you don’t even need tools!

installation art

picture hanging hardware Cross Section of “Monkey Hook” in a Wall

 

All you have to do is push the sharp end into the drywall at the mark you made, just make sure there isn’t a stud in the way. Turn them so the sharp end points up in the wall and then place your picture on the hook. The large size can hold up to 35lbs, they’re brilliant!

Accurate, reusable and cheep, it doesn’t get much easier than this!

Step 1 picture holders

Step 2wall hooks

DONE!hanging pictures

Check out this related blog post How to Do IT: Creating a Family Photo Wall

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan Grillo February 20, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Are you tired of unsightly holes in the wall? Are you tired of things not being level? How do you determine where to put the nail, screw or hook in the wall when hanging a project? DOT Marks the Spot is the solution to all these questions. Check out the product videos on YouTube, or visit the website at http://www.DOTMarkstheSpot.com.

Anonymous March 2, 2012 at 10:18 am

Must say, you have made a great article on the way to hang art work and framed art on walls. It had always been a difficult task for us to explain to our customers how exactly to measure, imagine and hang sets of art. I am sure to refer several of our customers to you so they can understand as to how art pictures are to hung on the wall for decor purpose.

MarkK December 5, 2012 at 12:34 pm

There’s actually an App for that!!
We used a cool app recently for the iphone and ipad called “Hand-a-Pic”. Made it super easy to hang a series of pictures across the wall without having to figure out where the nails go to make things even. We used it a couple of times already, once for hanging pictures and more recently to hang 4 plates on the wall. Walks you through through the steps and tells you exactly where´╗┐ every nail goes for evenly spaced pictures across the wall. Worked perfectly!

bukola oyekan March 1, 2013 at 9:45 am

Thanks for d iinformation. If I can’t get d hook hanger u showed, can I use nail to hang d pict. Really want to learn more.

Sasha March 1, 2013 at 11:19 am

Yes, you can certainly use a nail!

Roger March 10, 2013 at 11:29 am

Yours is the second site I have seen that uses 57 inches from the ground. That is equal to 4 feet 9 inches. Another site says to use 5 feet 7 inches, which is supposed to be the average adult eye level. I’m going with that one. Sorry folks.

Stan April 21, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Thank you for this. Would be useful to put the units in metric also.

Sheri May 1, 2013 at 9:51 am

This works perfectly! I was puzzled about hanging some wall decor above my sofa.I went around my house measuring the wall decor and almost everything was 57″ at the center! That’s where I hung my decor over the sofa and looks great! Thank you so much!

Bill June 8, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Does this 57″ rule apply even if you are hanging artwork on a wall behind a sofa or table? Surely then it should be a little higher?

Dhankinson September 12, 2013 at 2:54 pm

So you’re saying the average eye height is 4′-9″ and the average person is 5′-3″?! Sorry but that’s silly. I’m 5′-8″,which is closer average. 61″ to 63″ is much more like it. Hanging behind a couch is a different story.

Danno October 20, 2013 at 9:51 am

Best instructions ever! My wife and I have been arguing the proper height to hang a picture. She is 5’2 and I am 6’1 so our view of the right height is off from one another. Thanks for the help.

Jo-Mae December 14, 2013 at 12:51 am

I have a party coming up i i wanted to ahnng some pictures and i wasn’t sure about the height so i searched it up and this site came up…I will definitly be recommending this site

Diane Fomby December 22, 2013 at 4:53 pm

It is foolproof! I am a person who hammers three picture hook holes for every one I need. This worked like a charm. Only one try and the picture was perfect. One photograph seemed a bit low – but I measured and it is 57″. I’m leaving it where it is.

Jon Miller December 31, 2013 at 12:44 pm

57″ as the center point seems awfully low, that’s not even 5 feet off the ground. Must be some pretty short people were you come from. I assume you really meant 67″.

Susan Carbaugh January 10, 2014 at 11:14 am

Love the simplicity of your method. My husband gets so stressed whenever I ask for his help in hanging pictures. We are tall and unfortunately lots of artwork is too high now that I know the 57″ rule. What about hanging one large print (4 ft X 5 ft) on wall of stairwell? My Christmas present will remain unhung until I hear from you. Will be able to view picture from main level since I have high ceilings. Stairs have typical spindles. Thanks so much,\
Susan

Dave February 22, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Great instructions. However, for step 4, I would also add to that final number the distance between the wall fastener (nail/screw) and the bottom of the hook. Turned out to be 3/4 inch with the hooks I was using, so the final number would be 68 3/4 inches.

David S February 23, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Easy yes but my picture was to low. I would say your formula may work but not necessarily when hanging art on a wall next to a dining table. I added 6 inches and looks correct.

Beth April 15, 2014 at 10:17 am

I think some people are reading 57″ as the final height. It’s 57″ PLUS the distance from bottom of pic to where the hanger on back of pic. Depending. So that brings the TOTAL height up quite a bit, unless it’s a really tiny picture! Loved your step by step method and the pictures. Ours looks SO much better now!! I tend to hang too low, maybe because I’m short?? Thank you.

Sasha April 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

Very insightful Beth! However the top of the frame should be 57″ plus half the height of the picture. 57″ should be at the center of your picture, not the top or bottom. I’ll go back and see if I can make the instructions more clear. Thanks for the comment!

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