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Wall Art Size and Placement Guide


Wall Art Size and Placement Guide

The artwork you have already should be your first consideration, so keep that in mind when you are eyeing up the walls.  If it is not feature wall material, then what other types of wall art might you consider hanging alongside it and which furniture items or wall colors does it complement?  Prop these pieces up along the walls of the rooms or hallways that you feel they would fit best in, but don’t get the hammer yet!

 Determining Available Wall Space

As a general rule, art displays should not take up any more than two thirds or three quarters of your available wall space, after excluding furniture positioned in front of walls, wall moldings, wall fixtures (ie; light switches, temperature control, etc…), and wall-sconces.

When hanging groupings of artwork, consider the height from the ceiling to the display edge and from the floor to the display edge, as it relates to one single, whole piece, for example, hanging 6 small pieces requires the same considerations as hanging one rectangle piece that takes up the same area. The center point of the grouping should be at standing eye level, unless you are hanging the artwork beside a dining room table then consider eye level from a seated perspective.

Groupings, or gallery walls, with pieces in varying sizes should be considered to have an imaginary vertical line running down the middle, this helps to maintain balance on both sides of the imaginary line.  The art on each side should have a connecting aspect, whether it be color scheme, frame style or subject matter.

Placement considerations

Traditionally, the center of a piece should hang at eye level, 57 to 60 inches from the floor, but this can vary given other décor in your room.

If you plan to hang artwork above a sofa, dresser, or headboard, the bottom of the piece should hang 6 to 12 inches from the top of the furniture. As for width, select a piece that is 2/3 to 3/4 the width of the piece of furniture that it hangs above.

Traditionally artwork above a fireplace, should be 3 to 6 inches above the mantle and should have a width larger than the fireplace opening, but smaller than the mantle.  Propping artwork against the wall above the fireplace also works well if you wanting a more casual vibe.

Low ceilings (8 ft or less), assess the wall by breaking it into (4) two foot high sections, then hang the display in the third section from the bottom, or top edge two feet from the ceiling. 

When hanging artwork in a single row, with varying height, then make sure to line up the middle section of piece. 

Spacing in any display should be fairly even between each piece, 1-2” works well in groupings and 4-6” works well in sets or rows. 

A diagonal look along your stairway can be achieved by hanging a piece every third step and placing it approximately 50 – 60 inches above the risers.

Opt for larger pieces if the room is crowded with furnishings.  It’s always better to err on the side of too big than too small. Large pieces, fill a visual field and create a focal point, while small pieces on their own can look like an afterthought….

 Hanging a Wall Display

  1. Lay all the pieces out on the floor
  2. Rearrange until you have a display that you like
  3. Trace the outline of each piece onto brown paper (parcel wrap)
  4. Cut out the shapes generated (ie; squares, rectangles, etc…)
  5. Measure the distance from the top of the artwork to the hanging point (wire peak or saw-tooth hanging hardware, etc..)
  6. Use this measurement to mark the nail entry point(s) onto each paper cut-out
  7. Tape the paper to the wall (if you are using more than one nail or hanger then use a level to ensure that the piece of paper for that artwork is perfectly straight)
  8. Once you are satisfied with the layout positions then hammer in the nails or hangers
  9. Remove the paper, and place each art piece where it belongs.
  10. Now step back and admire your handy work!