Three Simple Rules for Hanging Art

 In Art & Gallery News, Articles

Whether you’ve collected your first work or your 20th, there is always that lingering question: “How do I go about hanging art?”

For starters, there’s one simple, essential guideline you should definitely keep in mind when hanging art—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.

3 Simple Rules for Hanging Art


Follow these 3 easy rules for hanging art, your home will look like a professional art gallery in no time.

1. Hang your Art by its Center

The artwork’s center should be 57 inches from the ground to match 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, 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

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.


If you’re interesting in building up your own art collection—or if you’re just sick of staring at blank walls—register for our weekly live online auction.  You can contact our gallery consultants at (800) 521-9654 ext. 4 during business hours or at They are experts at helping people find the perfect work of art.

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Showing 37 comments
  • Diana Hoffman

    Very helpful

  • Karolyn Anderson

    This was very helpful. I KNEW there must be a math formula to work with…..thank you for the specifics!

  • Shawn

    How would u hang the Max if u only had three? Flag, lady lib and umbrella man?

  • juan benito garcia

    good article

  • Norman Harris

    Wonderful article. Two of my Bellet art bought some months ago were still awaiting hanging. They were to be side by side in some arrangement on a larger wall space. The answers are here! Thank you.

  • Kevin Cottam

    Great help I like this sort of tip in newsletters


    Great information, thanks.

    • Helene Hart-Scott

      Thanks for the info
      Very helpful

  • Lynda Einspar

    Please print 3 ways, 6 tips and 7 ways to display art work. Would love to have as a handout this next weekend at the Henry!
    Thank you!

  • Christine Stuerzebecher

    Thanks a lot for the good advices how to place pieces of art effectively in the house. But allow me to say about the picture “Framed artwork by Peter Max” that I do not really like it. Of course there is a strict symmetry chosen – but this may be a bit – well – boring for a beholder. AND: The four smaller pieces are for me here “degraded” to accesories of the “star” in the middle. That is a pity. Let us find another place in the house for the four small ones and even arrange them as a four-leaf clover. None of them will “steal” the attention like in the first arrangement – because they all have nearly one size. MY problem would be: WHERE to hang the one with the golden frame? 🙂

  • John & Jo Njohnavaretta

    Great Advice: Would like to add one thing which we feel is most important. Lighting lighting lighting. If you do not have hologen lights right on the art your missing out. Find an electrician and re-discover your art

  • Carol Rigney

    Thank you. Never knew the correct way to hang paintings. So I was very glad for your help.

  • Ronald Panian

    Thank you for the information! Now I can go about hanging some art that I purchased six months ago! The comment about lighting is enormous! Found that out the minute I hung the first painting!

  • Deborah Adams

    It sure was nice when you said that it’s best to place an artwork at an eye level to make sure that you can admire it comfortably. My husband and I are interested in shopping for abstract artworks. We want to make sure that they can catch the attention of our house visitors because we want our living room to look appealing. Thanks for sharing all your tips.

  • George Alexander Robertson

    I wish some would write an article about hanging heavy pictures. You have to use a wall stud but usually that’s not where you want the picture (is you want it centered on a wall or centered above a piece of furniture).

    • Cyndi

      I purchased Hillman Walldog screws. They work up to 50lbs, in drywall. =) I found them at Fred Meyer, but they’re also on Amazon.

  • Kevin Utley

    Thank you for the information! Hanging art/frame can be a difficult task. And frankly speaking I’m not good at it but, as you said Hang Art by its Center I’ll try doing that and see if it help to keep them steady.

  • easton

    I like the tip that you gave to hang stuff by their center. My wife and I have been talking about hanging up some art around our home, and it would be important for us to know that we are doing so correctly. If we decide to hang up art, I will be sure to hang it by its center.

  • easton

    I like the tip that you gave to hang art by the center. My wife and I have been talking about hanging banners up for her show this weekend, and it would be important for us to know that we could find the best way to hang them up. If we choose to hang the banners, I will be sure to hang them by their centers, so they could look as good as possible.

  • Taylor Bishop

    Thanks for the advice for hanging art. I’m glad you mentioned you should treat each work like one piece if you’re hanging multiple works. Perhaps it could be good to see how they work together to figure out what orientation they should be in.

  • cheryl fallon

    george i have several heavy pieces and have found that the heavy duty curved hanger hooks that are poked thru the drywall work best in pairs i place the about 4 to 6 inches apart and then hang the painting on them – so far everything is good – on solid walls you need to drill a hole and put in a sleeve then you can screw in a screw for hanging if need be do two for better stablility

  • Lyla Peterson

    It’s good to know that the center of the art piece should be about 57 inches from the floor in order to be at average eye level. I am thinking about hanging a few art pieces in my home, but I wasn’t sure where they would look best. I appreciate your advice, I will keep this in mind as I begin looking for frames.

  • Taylor Wright

    It’s good to know you should hang art at its center. My wife wants to get more art pieces to fill out our new home. Your tips will help us make sure we’re hanging the art correctly.

  • Taylor Hansen

    I like how you mentioned having the center of the art piece at eye level. I’m thinking about getting a few new art pieces to hang in my living room, however, I’m not sure where it would look the best. Thanks for the advice, and I will keep this in mind as I begin looking for new pieces.

  • Bob Walsh

    My problem is that my wall is 96 inches high and my painting is 61 inches high.Should there be an exact distance between the top and bottom of the painting
    relative to ceiling and floor?

  • Diana Knight

    Great tips for hanging single and multiple works of art.

  • Vivian Jones

    I never knew how to hang pictures correctly. Thanks for the advice on hanging art. Your information is very useful.

  • Kate Williams

    Thanks for sharing the best possible ways to hang the arts. Thanks for sharing.

  • margaret anderson

    This was so helpful. I am ready to have my three Tarkay Serigraphs framed and they will hang over our bed as they are on the small size. Beside I have three more in the front of the house.
    Purchased the current three in Jan. 2020 at auction on Princess Cruise.

    Thanks again,
    Margaret Anderson

  • Janice Roy

    excellent 3 simple rules for hanging pictures, which takes all the stress out of this aspect of decorating. I cannot wait to finish my new home with my treasured and ecletic pictures.

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