So you need to hang your pictures at eye level? We hear that all the time, like it’s some longstanding rule that needs to be adhered to. But of course, eye level is not the same for everyone. Nicole and Keith, or Arnie and Danny come to mind, but we’re sure you can think of countless other couples who share homes and yet are constantly challenged by their differing heights.
But there are some formulas around placement that just seem to work and help to you to create the optimum viewing of your treasured artwork. Professional art galleries tend to have a rule of thumb of 145cm from the ground to the midpoint of the frame, but that doesn’t work for everyone, or every room.
The best way to determine a good height for the placement of your frame is to start by measuring it. Turn your frame over and • Take the total measurement of your piece, including any frame • Halve this measurement • If your frame has a hanging wire, pull it tight to determine where it would sit on the wall when the frame is hung; otherwise find the frames picture hanging hook • Measure the distance between the top of your picture and the hook or wire hanging point • Subtract this measurement from the one you got once you had halved the frame height • As an example, if the distance from the top of the frame to the hook is 17cm, and your halved measurement is 30cm, the difference is 13cm • Add 152cm to that measurement: i.e. 152 + 13cm = 165cm • This is the optimum height placement for this particular picture frame
Best Viewing Height
This formula works best if you are hanging pictures that are viewed from standing height such as your entrance hall, but there are plenty of situations in our homes or offices where we need to place pictures or artwork above furniture or architectural fittings where we need to adjust the formula.
Examples of this are:
• If you are hanging above a table or a chair, you will need to adjust this measurement. Ideally leave no more than 30cm between the furniture piece and the bottom of your frame. • If you are hanging above a couch, to avoid your artwork looking like it is floating rather than being connected, keep the bottom of your frame around 20cm from the top of the couch. Your eye level has changed now from standing to sitting, so you need to adjust your level of artwork to suit. • Similarly, if you are hanging above a mantel piece or fireplace, you are aiming to create a visual connection between the two pieces. So again, try to keep your piece low, around 12-13cm to the bottom of the frame. • A common mistake when hanging pictures above a bed is to centre them between the top of the headboard and the ceiling. In ideal placement would be just 25cm from the top of the bedhead.
From a decorating point of view, this is probably the single most important consideration in the placement of your pictures and its association with the other items in the room such as furniture, doorways, windows and mantelpieces.
For example, we have discussed the placement of the picture above the bed in terms of height, but your artwork piece should also be roughly 2/3rds of the length of the bedhead to create visual balance. If your main piece is not large enough meet that scale, you might want to consider adding a few smaller ones to achieve balance.
This scale is also a good rule of thumb for placement of a grouping above a sofa or couch where it is common to create a collation of artwork. The aim is for the collation to have an overall outline that has symmetry with the 2/3rds scaling.
Rearranging to fit with your Life
At Hang Logic our railing system is ideal for this purpose as it will allow you to rearrange your collations of pictures and artwork time and time again without ever having to put another nail in the wall!
When you are creating collations there are other tricks that decorators use to enhance balance, such as leaving roughly 5 – 10 cm between each frame. Consistent spacing between frames creates a better visual impact. Hanging frames too far apart just makes it look like you are trying to fill space on the wall and gives your collation a disjointed rather than cohesive look. If you find that some of your smaller pictures are getting lost in the collation, you might want to add mats to the frame to make them appear larger.
Decorators recommend when hanging a group arrangement to keep heavier pieces to the bottom and to the left. That’s because our eyes start on the left. If your collation is even, then place your heaviest item in the middle of the arrangement.
Different objects have different visual weights when it comes to creating balance. Size, colour and mass all have an impact on an objects visual weight. Larger framed pictures and those with a red, blue or green focus tend to appear heavier than objects that are white, yellow or pink. Objects that are more open, such as metal wall sculptures appear lighter than a heavily framed picture that creates a solid mass.
There are also tricks you can use that affect the overall visual impact of a room, such as making a narrow room appear wider by hanging all artwork at the same level across a room. If you have a room with a low ceiling, hanging pieces vertically above each other will give the illusion of height.
For a one-time installation, it’s forever adaptable
A Hang Logic Hanging System consists of a rail that is clicked on to small rectangular plastic connectors, called click and connect, that are drilled into the higher part of your wall with a screw and wall plug to create stability. Hanging wires suspend from this rail and hooks are attached to the wires. These wires can be transparent to appear invisible or in steel if you are going for a certain look. The wires are moveable along the rail, and the hooks are moveable along the wires, so you can change the look of your arrangement whenever you like.
If you are anything like me, I get a little bored with the look of my room and like to change the furniture around every now and again. Which means the beautiful collection of artwork that I previously placed over the sofa now looks sort of strange when half of it is hidden by my large screen TV. So all I need to do is unhook the artwork from the wires, and reattach them in a different arrangement on the wall where I have relocated the sofa.
Remember that the artwork that you place on your walls will affect your mood, so in your study where you might be looking for inspiration place bright, vibrant pieces. In the bedroom where you are looking to bring a sense of calmness and serenity, you might consider prints of nature or even some nude art.
The number one rule for any artwork that you place on your walls, in any arrangement, is that you make sure that you love it!