Whether you’ve collected your first work or your 20th, there is always that lingering question: “What is the best way to hang this art?”
For starters, there’s one simple, essential guideline you should definitely keep in mind—always display the artwork’s center 57 inches from the floor.
That’s a tip our gallery professionals use almost every day. But there are a few other tips related to the 57-inch rule that will make the difficult task of hanging art a whole lot easier.
If you follow these three easy rules for hanging art, your home will look like a professional art gallery in no time.
1. Hang Art by its Center
The artwork’s center should be 57 inches from the ground to match the average eye level.
People shouldn’t strain themselves to view the artwork. By placing the center of the artwork at eye level, it ensures the art can be admired comfortably.
Let’s use this beautiful framed painting by Marcel Mouly (“Interieur au Bourgeois”) as our example.
The art’s focal point should be at the 57-inch mark. This is not where it will hang from, so you will need to determine where to place the hangers.
Measure the artwork’s height and divide by 2 to find the artwork’s center.
The first step is to measure 57 inches from the floor and mark it on the wall. Next, find the focal point of the artwork by measuring its height and dividing by two. In this case, the Mouly and its frame are 34 inches tall, making its focal point 17 inches.
The red line indicates the measurement from a tightened hanging wire to the top of the frame.
Measure the top of the artwork to the tightened hanging wire or hook it will hang from. Subtract this number from the focal point number. For the Mouly, the hanging wire is 10 inches from the top of the frame. We subtract 10 inches from 17 inches to get 7 inches.
The measurement from the 57-inch line to where the hanger should be mounted.
Take the new number and measure that distance above the 57-inch mark. This is where the hanger should be placed, so mark this spot. With the Mouly, it would be 7 inches above the 57-inch mark, meaning the artwork will actually hang 64 inches from the floor. By doing so, the artwork’s center will be at 57 inches.
2. Adjust Rule #1 When Hanging Art Close to Furniture or Mantles
Park West Gallery display art
Photo courtesy of Kelley
When hanging artwork above furniture, mantles, or other obstructions, the eye level rule doesn’t always apply.
The bottom of the frame should be between six to eight inches above the top of the feature. In these cases, it’s acceptable to go higher than the 57-inch guideline if need be.
The artwork should also relate space-wise to furniture, meaning a small work of art hanging six inches above a long couch won’t look right. However, a large work of art or multiple works would look great.
3. Treat Multiple Works of Art as One Unit When Hanging
Peter Max Park West Gallery Valentine's Day
Framed artwork by Peter Max.
When hanging multiple works of art, treat each work in the collection as if it were one work of art. Anchoring multiple works around the 57-inch focal point will help the collection appear balanced. The ideal spacing between multiple artworks is 3 to 6 inches.
The 57-inch number is a good average height, but if your eye level is different, be sure to use that measurement when hanging art. Every scenario is different, so at the end of the day, make sure you love the way your art is displayed.
LEARN MORE TIPS FOR HOW TO HANG ART:
6 Tips for Hanging Art
7 Ways to Display Art
A How-To Guide for Displaying Sculptures
If you’re interested in building up your own art collection—or if you’re just sick of staring at blank walls—our gallery team can help. You can contact our gallery consultants at (800) 521-9654 ext. 4 during business hours or at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are experts at helping people find the perfect work of art.