3 Simple Rules for Hanging Art

“Interieur au Bourgeois” by Marcel Mouly

Whether you’ve collected your first work of art or your 20th, there is always a lingering question: “What is the best way to hang this?”

There is one simple guideline to keep in mind to make hanging art a snap—display the artwork’s center 57 inches from the floor.

Follow these three easy rules to turn your home into a beautiful gallery.

 

Hang 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.

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. Let’s use a framed painting by Marcel Mouly as an example.

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.

 

Hang Art Close to Furniture and 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. It is acceptable to go higher than the 57-inch guideline if need be.

The artwork should 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.

 

Treat Multiple Works of Art as One

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.

Be sure to check out our 6 Tips for Hanging Art as well as our 7 Ways to Display Park West Art for more information and ideas.

16 Responses to 3 Simple Rules for Hanging Art

  1. Diana Hoffman says:

    Very helpful

  2. Karolyn Anderson says:

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

  3. Shawn says:

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

  4. juan benito garcia says:

    good article

  5. Norman Harris says:

    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.

  6. Kevin Cottam says:

    Great help I like this sort of tip in newsletters

  7. INGRID CANTO says:

    Great information, thanks.

  8. Lynda Einspar says:

    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!

  9. Christine Stuerzebecher says:

    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? 🙂

    • parkwestgal says:

      Thank you Christine! Hanging art can be just as subjective as what type of art people like, so definitely go with the arrangements you like.

  10. John & Jo Njohnavaretta says:

    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

  11. Carol Rigney says:

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

  12. Ronald Panian says:

    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!

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