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Where to Hang Pictures in a Room

The Papier guide to positioning your framed pictures like a pro

There’s no doubt about it – choosing where to hang your favourite wall art poses a big old debate. Whether it’s a beloved painting, a personalised photo print or a vintage poster, positioning is key for any artwork to really shine. Our following guide is here to answer all your picture-placing predicaments, so you can get it right every time.

Choosing the right height

Hanging your picture at the right height can completely transform a space. We should be greeted effortlessly by artwork as our eyes set on the wall, never having to crane our necks to look up or down.

For frames at standing level – go gallery height

where to hang pictures in a room

Standard walls

For rooms where you tend to stand (hallways, kitchens, bathrooms), pictures should be hung at gallery height (aka eye level). Museums and galleries follow this rule, positioning the centre of a frame at the average person’s eye level, which is 145cm from the floor.

Taller walls

Rooms with very tall walls and high ceilings may require art work to be positioned higher than eye level. Try staggering a series of artworks across your wall, with the lowest image in your series hung at eye level. This will draw people in and ensure you don’t have too much white space between your highest artwork and the ceiling.

For staircase walls

If you’re displaying several artworks up your wall, the first picture should sit at 145cm from the floor. From here, measure 145cm from every second or third step to mark out a diagonal line up your wall. The centre of each artwork should sit on this line.

For frames at seating level – go for a seated eye-level position

In rooms where people tend to sit (offices, living rooms, dining rooms), pictures should be hung at a seated eye-level position, i.e hung a little lower than 145cm from the floor.

Above a desk or sofa

The bottom of your picture should sit around 15-20 cm above your desk or sofa. Or there’s the option to lean it against your wall for a more relaxed aesthetic.

Above a fireplace

The bottom of your picture should sit around 10-30 cm above your mantelpiece.

Picking the right frame

The size of your frame should complement the size of your room and the furniture within it. It’s all about balance, proportion and using your eye and instinct to tell you what looks and feels right.

where to hang pictures in a room

Pictures for large walls

Large spaces call for large frames. They’ll make a spacious room look less empty, bringing depth and warmth to the space. Go for one big statement shot or choose a series of 2, 3 or 4 pictures in a row. If you've got very high ceilings, hang pictures in portrait format, rather than landscape, to fill the space to the ceiling.

where to hang pictures in a room

Pictures for small spaces

Less is always more, so don't squeeze too many frames into a little space. One or two small mounted prints will bring character to a small study or forgotten corner in the kitchen without being overwhelming. If you want to display several photos, try curating a collection of your favourites shot together in one multi photo frame.

where to hang pictures in a room

Match wall art to the mood of your room

Consider the purpose, style and colour scheme of your space when choosing your wall art and frames. Natural wood frames housing calming, nature-inspired shots work well in bedrooms and bathrooms. Fun travel shots or sentimental family photographs are great for more populated areas of the home, like living rooms and dining areas. Look for colours in your artwork that complement or clash well with the colour of your wall.

Placing a picture as your focal point

where to hang pictures from a wall

To turn your favourite painting or print into a focal point for your room, pick a prominent place such as above a fireplace, your bed or sofa, or in the middle of the wall opposite the entryway. Once you’ve picked your spot, arrange your furniture and accessories to help peoples’ gaze fall naturally on the image. Let taller lamps, vases and plants frame your wall art, rather than detract from it.

where to hang pictures from a wall

Leaning pictures against a wall (sometimes hanging isn’t the best option)

Leaning pictures against a surface is a quick and effortless way to create a relaxed, artsy look. Smaller frames can be positioned on mantelpieces, console tables or desks, while larger frames work well on grand sideboards or the floor. No need for measuring or drilling – just pop it in an empty space that needs a little something.

Our final top tips

Practice makes perfect

Never go for the hammer straight away. Once you’ve carefully pencilled the spot on your wall, get a friend or family member to hold up your frame in that exact position so you can see how it looks in situ.

If you’re going for a gallery wall display, lay all your images on the floor or (if you’re able to) mock it up on your computer, so you can play around with the layout until it’s just right.

Stay safe

Be sure to check for pipes and electrical cables before drilling into any wall. You can do this by using a wire detector and double checking the plans of your building. Be sure to switch off any lights and appliances in a room before drilling too.

Prep your tools

Every Papier framed photo print comes with a picture hanging kit and easy step-by-step instructions. Here’s what’s inside and everything else you’ll need...

Universal wall plug and screw (come with every Papier framed photo print)

  • Drill
  • 6.5mm drill bit
  • Mallet or hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • Spirit level (option to use a spirit level too;/app on your phone for smaller frames)
  • Pencil and rubber