Hanging art properly makes all the difference in pulling a room together. With some strategic planning and styling tricks, you can create a gallery wall or arrange standalone pieces that perfectly suit your space. Follow these decorating secrets for a picture-perfect art display.

Where to Place Artwork

Over Furniture

Hanging art above furniture like a sofa, bed, or sideboard draws the eye upwards. Anchor the piece to that area and allow enough breathing room above the furniture. Scale the art to fit the wall space rather than the furniture size.

In Entryways

Welcome guests with an eye-catching piece in the entryway. This sets the tone for your home’s style. Foyer walls often have the perfect nook for a painting or print.

In Dining Rooms

Make the dining room more visually interesting with well-placed art. Hang a bold painting behind the table to create a focal point. Or, try a gallery wall on the longest wall for plenty of small pieces that provide interest without distraction.

On Staircases

Stairwalls offer great vertical space for elonggated art, gallery walls, or series of prints. The trick is finding pieces that fit within the wall’s parameters. Measure carefully before purchasing!

Arranging a Gallery Wall

Plan the Layout

Start by mapping out the gallery arrangement on the floor with removable adhesive or painter’s tape. Play with different compositions until you find a balanced look. Keep frames close together.

Mix and Match

For lots of visual interest, include a variety of frame sizes, colors, and styles. Mix different mediums like photographs, paintings, prints, and mirrors. Variety prevents a monotonous look.

Follow Design Principles

Use principles like rule of thirds and symmetry to stylishly arrange the gallery. Place larger “anchor” pieces first, then fill in gaps. Create cohesion through color schemes or themes.

Consider Spacing

The spacing between each piece makes a difference. As a general rule, the space between frames should be about 1-3 inches apart total. The closer together, the more cohesive the grouping appears.

Hang at Consistent Heights

Mark a level line on the wall and hang all frames in the same series along that line for a tidy, collected look. Creating rows gives the wall more structure.

Tips for Hanging Single Pieces

Find the Right Spot

Identify the optimal placement for a standalone piece by holding the frame against the wall and moving it around. Step back periodically to see how it looks from afar. Mark the spot.

Follow General Guidelines

Standard hanging height for art is around 60 inches from the floor to the center of the frame. But the “perfect” height can vary based on your wall size and furniture. Trust your eye.

Check Sight Lines

As you view the piece from different spots in the room, make sure other objects don’t crowd or distract from it. Adjust the height or location to optimize visibility.

Account for Negative Space

Don’t overload a wall with art. Leave adequate negative (blank) space around a piece to give it room to breathe. The art will feel more intentional.

Light it Properly

Consider lighting specifics like which direction the light hits the art from. Play with placement to avoid glare and properly highlight the piece. Lighting matters.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Hanging art too high above furniture or too close to the ceiling
  • Pieces that are too small or large for the allotted wall space
  • Lack of cohesion and flow for a gallery wall
  • Spacing gallery wall frames too far apart
  • Matching frame colors/styles when variety is better
  • Failing to account for lighting with placement
  • Ignoring sight lines that result in blocked views
  • Overcrowding a wall with art, leaving no negative space

Decorating Your Walls Like an Artist

With a blank canvas like a wall, the placement possibilities for art are endless. But thoughtfully applying some basic design principles will help compose an art display you’ll love. Determine the best spots in relation to your architecture, furniture, and lighting. Clustered gallery walls have an artistic spirit, while solo pieces make impactful statements. Mix mediums, embrace white space, vary orientations, and play with proportion. Soon you’ll be decorating like an artist! What wall will you transform into a gallery next?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the standard height to hang art?

The standard height is around 60 inches from the floor to the center of the frame. This eye level placement feels most natural. But the “perfect” height depends on your wall size, furniture, and artwork scale.

How do you arrange art properly over a couch?

Hang artwork 4-12 inches above the sofa back to anchor it nicely to that seating area. Size the piece appropriately to fit the wall, not necessarily the couch. Keep the art 2-4 inches from side walls.

How do you balance a gallery wall?

Balance a gallery wall through mindful spacing, grouping similar framed pieces, and using larger “anchor” artworks. Place pieces close together and play with asymmetry. Follow principles like the rule of thirds.

Should art be centered over a bed?

Not necessarily. Centered art can feel unnatural over a bed. Try slightly off-center and aligned more with one side to make it pleasing when lying down. But if furniture is centered, art likely should be too.

What is the rule for hanging art?

General guidelines say to hang art about 60 inches high with the center at eye level. Allow 2-4 inches between the art and side walls. Anchor pieces above furniture, allowing some breathing room. Follow any relevant architectural rules too.

How do you mix and match art?

For lots of interest, include different frame sizes, colors, and styles. Mix various mediums like photographs, paintings, prints, and mirrors. Vary orientations. Play with related color schemes or themes. The eclectic look shows personality.


Strategically decorating your walls with properly placed and thoughtfully curated art can make a stylish statement in any room. Use these decorating secrets to compose balanced galleries, seamlessly integrate standalone pieces, and avoid common mistakes. With mindful spacing, pleasing compositions, and galleries with cohesive variety, you’ll love the picture-perfect outcome! Feel empowered to reimagine those blank walls and display artwork you adore.