Smart Design With Suzette: Wall Art

Courtesy/Suzette Fox
Smart Design with Suzette
Wall Art

Thomas Merton said, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Indeed, as a society, we are moved by great pieces of art. But has anyone ever tried to hang it?

Have you heard, “Hang art so that the center of the piece or grouping is at eye level?” But eye level is different for everyone. It’s not like we are all the same size!

Hanging Height

There’s no real hard and fast rules about the height you should hang pictures on the wall, but there are some guidelines and starting places that are proven and useful.

Courtesy/Suzette Fox

A lot of people make the mistake of hanging art too high. A good rule of thumb is 58 inches on center. That means the center of the art should be at 58 inches. Why 58? It is the average human eye height and precisely why galleries and art museums use this height. This also applies to ‘groups’ of pictures. Think of the group as one picture with the centerpiece being 58 inches on center.

Hanging a grouping of different sized art work

Easy peasy! First, purchase brown craft paper. Trace an outline of your artwork and cut it out. Next, hold up your piece of art by the wire. Measure the distance between the wire at full tension and the top of the frame. Then, transfer this measurement to the traced cut out for nailing later.

Continue the same process for other pieces in the grouping. Tape cut outs to the wall until you have the look you want and the spacing is perfect. Keep the spaces between pictures 2″ to 4″ apart. Spacing should be consistent vertically and horizontally throughout the grouping.

A solution for hanging different sizes of art. Courtesy/Suzette Fox

Finally, hammer the nail and hanger through the taped cut outs into the wall at the transferred marks. Then remove the paper a piece at a time and immediately hang your artwork!

Large artwork

If you are hanging a heavy piece, use the right hangers. Most standard hangers come in sizes that hold 5, 10, 50 and 100 pounds of weight. On larger pieces, use two hangers instead of one to ensure stability. Measure the distance from the top of your frame to your wire tension. You will want to spread the wire out to two different points where wire will rest on hangers. Measure that horizontal distance in order to place hangers horizontally, and then from that point of tension, measure from the top of the picture to that tension to get your height.

Size Matters

A small picture over a large sofa will look awkward. Artwork should cover at least two-thirds or 75 percent of the furniture. For instance, if your sofa is 7′ wide, your grouping or picture should be 5′ wide or more. Although it can be wider than two-thirds of the sofa, it should not be wider than the sofa or furniture itself.

Fireplace Art

A fireplace is always the focal point of a room. When hanging art over the fireplace, it’s a good idea to keep the width of the piece about the same size as the fireplace opening. Hang artwork approximately 3″- 6″ above the mantle and the bottom of the picture.


The last option for hanging a picture is ‘leaning’. If the piece you are placing your artwork on is deep enough and the artwork is stable enough (either light enough to sit without sliding out or heavy but supported with an anchor at the back) then you can lean your artwork. This suits a more casual décor.

I hope these guidelines will help to properly display your art. Art is the most personal part of any home. “Personality is everything in art and poetry.” ~Goethe

Feel free to contact Los Alamos Interior Designer Suzette Fox to suggest specific design topics or for help with your home. For more information, find her on Facebook at and on her website .

Courtesy/Suzette Fox




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