We get asked often for decor tips & tricks. We’re not professionals by any means, but we do have some experience in this area. The most common mistake we see in people’s homes is: picture height. It’s something that’s tricky to master, especially if you’re tall, or have a tall spouse. The tendency for anyone hanging wall decor is to hang it at their eye-level, which is fine if you’re 5 feet tall, but many are taller than that. So if you’re asking your 6+ foot husband to hang something for you, he will likely hang it right in front of his eyeballs, which is almost always much too high for your room.
But good news, I have a couple really helpful tips for figuring out how high you should hang something. I should start with the disclaimer that I am in no way a professional interior designer, so if you’re looking for further insight or have specific questions, you should absolutely consult with a professional, they are fantastic! That said, I did work for a high-end interior designer in Chicago during college. She was incredibly talented & gave me some valuable decorating tips that I still use in all my decorating & am going to share a couple of them with you today.
There are really only two general rules I follow when deciding how high to hang something. Rule #1: the MIDDLE of your picture should be approximately 62″-64″ from the floor. This is dependent of course on the size of your picture, and any furniture you might be working around, but in general this rule is accurate (60″-61″ is acceptable in some situations as well). If you are hanging a gallery wall, the same rule applies except instead of measuring to the center of a specific piece, you measure to the center of the collage as a whole.
For example, in the image below, I’ve hung two shelves – for just a minute pretend there is nothing on the shelves & think of them as connected as one piece of wall art, I’ve hung them so that the center of the entire unit is right at 64.”
Now, I’ve hung these at the “max height” of the rule because I wanted versatility to change out whatever piece of furniture I put underneath. This particular desk is pretty short, but I’ve hung my shelves high enough that I could put a taller buffet piece here eventually if I wanted to. Also, I have high ceilings, so I’m less concerned about crowding my ceiling with stuff on the top shelf than I would be if I had lower ceilings.
In the above picture, the center of my mirror falls again at 64″ which fits perfectly over this table in my entryway.
Homes typically have pretty big wall space in their living rooms above their couch. These are great places for gallery walls or big pieces of art – and this is also where Rule #2 enters: Pictures should be hung approximately 8-10″ above the back of your couch. Now every couch is different, some are low-profile and some, like mine, are big leather behemoths (I’ll have pretty upholstered couches someday, but right now this is the practical choice with 3 little boys, lol), but whether your couch is tall or short, your wall decor should not be more than 8-10″ above its back. This is how you create a cozy space, by bringing everything down to where you & your guests are. Even with a big couch like mine, it doesn’t mean you abandon Rule #1, because it still usually applies, you’ll just want to marry it with Rule #2.
Edited to add: obviously the below example is a large piece of art, if you have a 16×20 picture hanging 10″ above your couch it’s going to look waaaay too low for the wall. What do you do in that situation? Your proportions are off & your picture is much too small for your wall space. You should either replace it with something larger, or make it a gallery wall & add pieces to fill up the space & fall within the two rules.
Sometimes you have odd shaped or over-sized items, like the sign in the image below. It’s really really tall. I’ve marked out where 60″ falls (which is 2″ below the minimum of Rule #1), and you’ll notice it’s not the center of my sign, it’s above center, by a few inches for sure. If I would have hung this piece so the center of it was at 62-64″ it would have been higher than the door frame next to it, which would be waaaay too high. Unless it’s a gallery wall, set of shelves, or something similar, you don’t want your wall decor to be even with or higher than your door frames.
A great resource for examples is simply checking out your favorite websites like Pottery Barn or West Elm. All of their “rooms” are professionally staged & put together by interior designers – really great examples of how high to hang all kinds of decor.
I hope this has been at least a little helpful to you. Keep checking back for more decor tips and tricks! Feel free to comment below with thoughts or questions, we love hearing from you! Happy decorating! 🙂