How High to Hang Pictures? Tips for the Perfect Gallery Wall

Placing frames on a wall seems self explanatory—first, choose your wall space, then hammer in a nail and hang. However, there are a lot of other factors to consider when deciding how high to hang pictures. You’ll want to determine if you want your frame at eye level, or how close you want the frame to hang in accordance to a bed or couch.

It’s important to hang pictures in the perfect spot, where guests can enjoy seeing family photos or the kids’ artwork. Whether you want to hang a single frame, or create a gallery wall, we’re certain that these tips will help you frame memories for years to come.

1. Find Your Space

Woman measuring for gallery wall
When hanging a photo, you’ll first want to determine where you want the pictures to go. Maybe you have an empty wall cleared for decor, or just a small area above your dresser for the family photo. Once you’ve determined the area to frame, measure out the surface area you’ll be working with, along with the width and height of your picture. This way you can figure out if the photo will fit with the parameters of your wall, and how much space you’re working with.

2. Choosing The Right Materials

Shot of tools for hanging a picture
Next on the agenda is choosing materials to hang your pictures with. Depending on the weight of the picture and the type of wall you’re puncturing, choosing the right hanging hardware can be overwhelming. To make the process smoother, we put together a few examples of hanging hardware that you can use in your home.

Drywall and nails to use to hang a picture
For a standard, small picture frame, you can use a variety of materials. If you don’t want to create holes in the walls, try using adhesive hooks or nails. For drywall or plaster walls, use an angled nail or screw in hooks to hang your pictures.
If your picture is more than 10 pounds, and you have mostly drywall surfaces, consider anchor bolts. These are surrounded by plastic that expand once screwed into the wall. Make sure to choose anchor bolts with plastic wings that expand out behind the wall for drywall.

For plaster walls that are over 10 pounds, use plastic anchor screws without wings, for ultimate grippage on plaster. Drill a hole the diameter of the anchor and place the anchor inside the hole. Take it out and re-insert to activate the plastic anchor, screw back out, attach the picture hanger and screw back in to secure.

3. How High To Hang To Hang Your Pictures

Gallery wall above desk
The next step is the most crucial; how high should you hang pictures? The golden rule of hanging a picture is to have the center of the photo be at 57 inches. This reflects the standard eye-height of the average person, and is used as a standard in most art galleries and museums. In order to hang your picture in accordance with 57 inches, you’ll need to measure 57 inches on the wall and lightly mark with a pencil.

Next, you’ll want to measure your picture and divide by two, in order to determine the center of your photo. If you have a tightened wire on your picture, you’ll need to measure the top of your picture to the tightened wire. Take that measurement and subtract from half of your picture height, and this will tell you how high above the 57 inches you should go. Lightly mark this total above your first mark on the wall and hang!

4. Alternative Hanging Methods

Photos hanging over a bed
While the 57 inches rule applies to most pictures and artwork, there are some exceptions like furniture against the wall or high ceilings.

When working with furniture such as beds or couches on the wall, it’s important to compensate those measurements when deciding how high to hang your pictures. If you want to hang a picture above furniture, make sure the bottom of the frame is about 6-12 inches above the sofa/bed. This is the perfect way to create an appealing eye line for both your furniture piece and your picture frame.

Have high ceilings or want to hang pictures in an entryway? Feel free to hang these pictures a bit higher than the 57 inches rule in order to eliminate excess wall space on the top half. If you want to hang a gallery wall, you can still use the 57 inches rule, just measure the entire collection of frames as the height and width. If you’re hanging smaller frames, try to find narrow walls, or hang a collection of pictures in order for your wall to be balanced.

Framing a picture can make or break a room. Pictures are the first thing we see when walking into a room or hallway, and something we want to look at close up. When centered correctly, pictures can create the ambiance in any room, and are visually appealing for guests to get a sense of your family dynamic.

Determining how high to hang pictures can result in a aesthetically pleasing wall space you’ll always be proud of. Browse our framed prints for inspiration on prints you can hang at home.