The Best Way to Hang Wall Art

Hanging art on your walls is one of the final steps of decorating a room.  It’s a detail that can take a space from looking sparse and undecorated to giving it a wow factor or making it feel more cozy.

Figuring where to hang the art can be a mind bender though.  How high is eye level?  Should it be centered on the wall or the doorway or something else?  Which piece goes where?

I hear ya.  It’s confusing.

Like everything else in interior decor, there are guidelines to help you find the best placement.  I always hesitate to call them rules because there’s an exception to every rule out there.

Of course there’s going to be a little bit of preference to where your art is placed but here are some good tips to follow to get those walls decorated and feeling like home.

If you've got a fireplace that is going to be the focal point of your room.
via Circa Lighting

Know Your Focal Point

If you’ve got a fireplace in the room then that’s your focal point.  Whatever art you use in that space should complement the fireplace, not compete with it.

You may want to consider hanging your art over the fireplace in this space, or you may want to use a wall that’s across from the fireplace.

If you don’t have a fireplace you may have a big open wall.  That means that whatever you put on that wall will be the focal point of your room.

If you’ve got an amazing view that may be your focal point.

These are a few of things that you need to take into consideration when you’re hanging art.

Remember that your art should always complement your decor, not compete with it.

Art should be the correct size for the space that it's intended for
The Flock via Ballard Designs

Choose the Right Size Art

Be sure that the art you’re hanging is the right size for the space you are using it in.

Art that is way too big or way too small is never going to look right.  It will tend to make your room or your furniture look off balance.  It may be one of those feelings that you can’t quite pinpoint what you don’t like about a space and it’s as easy as moving a nail.

When hanging art above a fireplace it should be about as big as the fireplace opening.  That’s usually not quite as wide as the mantel.

If you’re hanging art over a sofa or a piece of furniture you’ll want it to be around 75% of the size.  That’s usually a pretty good rule of thumb to use.  If it’s larger than that it can make your furniture look off balance.  If it’s smaller than that it may look unfinished.

Remember that the art needs to fit your space so you’ll want smaller pieces for more narrow walls and larger pieces for larger walls.

That makes sense right?

Don't hang your art too high on the wall - it wants to be friendly with your furniture
Shadow Box art via Pottery Barn

Hang Art at Eye Level

Unless of course it’s going over the fireplace.  Another rule that’s not a rule right?

And what is eye level?

Eye level is really different for everyone isn’t it?  I mean a 5 foot tall person’s eye level is going to be different than a 6 foot tall person’s.

But really, just don’t hang your art too high to enjoy it.  A good rule of thumb is to center your art around 57″-60″ from the floor.

That should be the center of your art – not the top of it.

That can be one piece of art or a grouping of pieces, but ultimately you need to consider your space.  If you’re hanging art in an office or a dining room, where you will spend much of your time seated, you may want to lower it just a bit.

This rule also doesn’t work if you are placing art over a piece of furniture.  You want your art to play nicely with the other objects in the room.  If you’re putting art over your sofa, be sure that no one is going to hit their head on it when they sit down, but be sure that it isn’t so high on the wall that it doesn’t look like it belongs there.

A great way to arrange art is by using kraft paper and tape via BH&G
via BH&G

Always, always, always lay out your design before you start poking holes in the wall.  Draw it on paper, lay it out on the floor or cut out pieces of butcher paper and tape them to your wall.

You can even place your nails or hangers right through your kraft paper and then pull it down.  That makes it so much easier to measure when your actual art size is already on the wall.

Visualize the placement before you start hanging things.

When you hang art on your walls you want to be sure that it relates to the objects and furniture around it.

How to Hang Art on Different Surfaces

It is likely that most of us will be hanging wall on drywall or plaster.

If you’re lucky enough to have a stud behind your art you can either put a nail or a screw to hold up your art.  You can use a stud finder to quickly locate studs.

If you don’t have a stud the best product to use is going to be a picture hanger.  You can pick these up at home improvement stores and lot’s of other stores too.  They come in different sizes and will tell you how much weight they’ll hold so that’s a great way to reference them.

I have a kit with all different sizes of hangers in it and it makes it quick and easy to move or place art.

For lighter art you can use adhesive strips but for heavier pieces you definitely want the correct hardware so you don’t wind up with a giant hole in your wall or broken glass on your floor.

If you’re hanging art on concrete or brick you’re going to need some special anchors and a drill to install them with.  Be sure to shop for the correct hardware for your project.

How to Place Your Art

Art can be placed symmetrically like we did over one of our sofa’s.  This is a more structured look and works great with these prints that are similar.

Art can be hung in a symmetrical line -

You can also hang your art asymmetrically if you’ve got varying pieces that you’re going to use together.  Or similar pieces that are different sizes.

Don’t worry if you’re unsure about how to hang wall art.  Trust me, it’s one of the biggest decorating questions on every project.

A Gallery wall can stretch from the floor to the ceiling and showcase lots of pieces
via Instagram

So do you have art that you’re ready to hang or do you need to get out there and find some?

That’s another discussion altogether but I hope you’ll use your walls to show off your unique personality style.  Be sure that you spend some time choosing pieces that inspire you and you enjoy looking at.

And remember, once you hang them it doesn’t have to be permanent.  If you’re not happy with it, change it!

Traci Signature | My Simpatico Life Blog

Want some more great decorating advice?

Here’s how to use Pinterest to Decorate your home.
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And be sure to set a Realistic Home Decor Budget

The guide to hanging wall art in your home -
We've got some tips to help you place art on your walls and make your home look amazing
Your fireplace is the focal point of your room so your art should complement it not compete with it

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