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Design Dilemma Solutions - How to Hang Art Above Furniture

Sarah Bradburn

Way before I became an interior designer, before I even knew that design was an actual career option, I was obsessed with beautifying my bedroom. I'd constantly rearrange the furniture, experiment with different ways to make my bed look "fancy" by making my own pillows (I couldn't sew a straight line to save my life so this was a true experiment in every sense of the word!) and creating my own wall art with pages torn from art books and collages I made from magazines.

Looking back it all sounds pretty artistic but trust me, while I often had a grand vision my execution left MUCH to be desired. I'm not what you'd call "crafty" or "neat" when it comes to actually making things with my own two hands. In design school, my art projects got decent marks for their concept and overall design ability but I always got dinged on workmanship. Since then, I've learned to recognize my weaknesses and that some creative endeavors (like anything involving a glue gun or a paint brush) are better left to those with true talent.

Fortunately, my love of interior design doesn't require me to sew drapery or create artwork for my clients. I'd have been out of business almost immediately if it had! While I'm no creator of fine art I am most certainly a lover of beautiful artwork and I have learned a thing or two about how to properly display artwork in a home.

Which brings me to the topic of this post, "How to Hang Art".

One thing I see most people (whether that's friends and family or new clients) struggling with when decorating their own homes is the proper height at which to hang artwork. There's this innate urge to hang it really high on the wall like we see here, here and here. There are two problems with hanging artwork so close to the ceiling:

1. It makes it really hard to look at unless you're standing way back and/or craning your neck.

2. It doesn't relate to any of the furniture because it's too far above everything so it looks lonely and like an afterthought.

Today I'm going to give you some takeaway tips that will help you bring your art on down the wall so you can see and appreciate it more easily. I've created some design boards to help you visualize the art hanging problems and their solutions. Side note: if you fall in love with any of these room designs and are interested in purchasing the furniture, it's all available through me so send me an email for more information.

Let's get started!

In this image below we can see the artwork is hung much closer to the ceiling than the furniture beneath it. This striking print is just hanging out up there all by its lonesome.

how to hang art over sofa

By bringing it down, all of a sudden our beautiful blue abstract painting is a dramatic part of this entire colorful scene.

how to hang art above couch

While 8-10 inches is a good rule of thumb when hanging artwork above a sofa, I typically keep it at 6-8 when hanging art above a bed. Just as important as placement, the scale of your art also matters as illustrated in this next example.

Mirror above bed

That teeny tiny mirror is so insignificant it almost isn't there at all. By moving it down so the bottom is 6-8 inches above the top of the headboard and increasing the size of it, we're making a more meaningful impact and creating a more cohesive design.

starburst mirror above bed

So much better!

Above a table, console or chest I prefer a spacing of 4-6 inches between the top of furniture and the bottom of the artwork or mirror.

gold mirror

The mirror above is not only too high to relate visually to the chest and the accessories, it's probably too high for most of us to actually see our reflections.

brass metal mirror

Now everything is this glamorous entry is working together in a very bold way and we can check for lipstick on our teeth with ease!

I hope these graphics have illustrated what a difference is made when artwork is hung at the proper height. Whether it's a pricey painting, a beloved family heirloom or your six year-old's latest masterpiece in an Ikea frame, if you love it enough to put it on your wall, why not hang it at a height that allows you to truly enjoy it?


If you live in the Phoenix, Arizona area and would love some professional interior design help creating a beautiful home you absolutely LOVE, email me today for a consultation!