How high should my framed picture be above the sofa?

susanlynn2012August 11, 2011

How many inches above the 81" sofa should the 50" wide X 40" high picture be that arrived today? The room has a cathedral ceiling. The picture would have looked I feel best around 54" wide but to go up another size added to the cost and I got a good deal on the size I used (print was 40" X 30"). The sofa is only 34" high since I am so short so I chose the leather beige-light taupe Natuzzi sofa that I could touch the floor when sitting on it.

The 2.5" wide bronze frame with the inner beaded lip that arrived today with the Linen Off-White outer mat and the autumn brown inner mat and the museum quality acrylic instead of glass since would not ship a picture that size with glass really looks nice in the family room/living room area. It is very pretty but the museum quality glass in my home office that is on the other picture that framed for me has much greater clarity and is nicer. Hence, whenever I am able to use Museum quality glass in areas with a lot of glare I am finding I prefer it over the museum quality acrylic I have just learned. I wish the inner mat would be bronze but they did not have that choice so I chose an autumn brown. The local store had that choice but their frame was 2" bronze with the inner lip and I liked the frames design and price better at But I love the overall look and can't wait to hang up the picture and then share with all of you how it looks.

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My sofa is 31" high and my 40" tall painting is 38.5" from the floor. I think eye level works best. In my case, my reference is the top 1/3, my husband is taller and he's fine with that height also.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 1:11PM
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abundantblessings, I just measured from the floor and where my eyes will be seeing the picture and that is nice since my eyes will be seeing around the middle of the picture so that does sound like a nice height which would be around 4.5" above the sofa. Is that an OK distance from the sofa and the picture or should I make my picture 5" above the sofa?

Anyone else has suggestions on how they hang pictures above the sofa?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 2:45PM
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4.5 inches above the sofa sounds about right to me. A professional designed told me once she eye-balled it at about the width of her palm (fingers sideways, parallel with the ground).

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 2:51PM
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The general rule is that you want the sofa and what's above to relate to one another-i.e., be close enough for that visual bond to occur.
If hung too high, it looks like art is flying over.

It seems in most cases, a 4 to 10 inch separation usually works.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 3:21PM
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where your eye falls is not always the best guide for how high to hang. Your picture should have some relation to the items below and to the sides.
A 31 inch tall sofa back is very low...perhaps you could hang the picture higher than 4 or 5 inches above....but that depends on what you have next to the sofa and where your windows are etc.
Hold it up and see what looks right to you.
Linda c

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 3:24PM
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1/2" higher won't matter though I like to keep the visual weight in most rooms grounded. Like chijim, no flying art, unless it's a wonderful mobile, allowed in here. For us, less is more, though I love to see chijim's exuberance. I'm okay with letting wonderful art make its own statement.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 3:32PM
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Linda C (thank you!), my sofa is 34" high while abundantblessings is 31" high. So her picture is 7.5" higher than the sofa less the 3" lower sofa is the 4.5" higher than my sofa if I place the picture at the height she has her picture which is also 40" high.

It seems from another poster (Chijim thank you!) that 4" to 10" works best so both heights above the sofa seem to work and not be considered flying art.

Thank you Graywings for letting me know that 4.5" above the sofa sounds good.

I love the picture so much and I can't wait to have color in the room and to enjoy the beautiful framed art that I chose.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 4:06PM
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OK, it looks like the ENDS of the sofa are 34" high but the MIDDLE of the sofa is about 31.75" high so I just played with the picture and either 38.5 or 39" off the floor looks best. My friend who is 6" tall likes 40" off the floor but I am around 4'10.5" tall so I am thinking since I have a high cathedral ceiling, the 39" off the floor will look best with the picture being 7.25" above the sofa.

So with a 31.75" sofa height for the middle of the sofa, is a 39" high off the floor OK with the high cathedral ceiling? I am going to center the picture above the sofa but not centered along the wall. My friend will be back tomorrow at 10 AM to hang the picture for me to give me more time to think about it.

I just moved the sofa to he middle of the wall to see if it should be centered but then my recliner could not lean all the way back and I then rearranged the room back to the sofa not being centered that I feel looks best since I have the recliner to deal with and the wall really extends beyond the stairs so it will not really be centered on the wall anyway.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 5:20PM
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Lynne, I think that sounds about right. Glad you love your new art. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 5:34PM
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Yes center the picture above the sofa - you don't want it looking likes it's trying to slowly escape.

BTW - Have you done a paper template for placement?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 5:51PM
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Thank you abundantblessings. I just love looking at the picture and it is just right now leaning on top of the sofa so I can't sit on it to make sure it is protected until it is hung up tomorrow. I have post its all over the wall as I was trying to figure out the best place to hang it.

Chijim, I have not done a paper template for placement since I never thought of it but maybe that is a good idea to see how the picture looks.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 9:17PM
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One more thing, my tall 6 foot friend feels due to to the high cathedral ceiling 39.75 to 40" from the floor which will be 8 to 9" above the sofa would look best for my 40" high X 50" wide picture. I am not even 5" so I thought 39" would be best. Would 39.75" to 40" from the floor causing the middle of the picture to be 59.75" to 60" be OK or should I stick with 39"? Since I have a home office, my retired client who has become a friend said he would stop by to hang the picture for me at 10 AM tomorrow.

I really wanted a 54" wide picture but I did not want a picture higher than 40" high so I thought the size I chose would look alright.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 10:22PM
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If you have some blue tape try chijim's template suggestion and place it where you like it best. If you don't, I'm sure your friend will hold it up for you.

There is no hard and fast rule you must abide. As I said, in my house where I have some cathedral ceilings, I still prefer art to be grounded.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 11:29PM
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abundantblessings, thank you again! What does it mean for art to be grounded? I am thinking 39" is the highest it should be since then the top of the picture will be 79" and I am short and I have to enjoy seeing my picture also. I will ask my friend to hold the picture up for me but I may run out to buy some blue tap to tape blank paper to the wall.

So far, I am enjoying walking up and down the steps looking over to the left at my picture on the sofa and really loving what I picked out. I also love the frame and think it looks great with the picture and I can thank this list for helping me go with my first choice and not being influenced by the sales girls at The sales girl who made the final order for me agreed that my choice looked nice and she was great!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 11:47PM
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you do need it to be at a pleasing height for you to look at it. If you had a dh who was a lot taller then you'd have to compromise a bit.

my sister has windows in her upper hall that look out onto a beautiful mountain. She was sick when they built and her dh handled most things regarding it. He is 6'5" and has a beautiful view when he walks down the hall. my sister at 5'4" (maybe), not so much. I think she has to go up on her tippytoes to see out of it... not a compromise! not that her dh did it on purpose, he just wasn't thinking about her lack of height and what HER view would be.

the height of a painting is easier to change than that of a window tho!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 12:16AM
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Ok, almost pix time! Pretty please.

Grounded = no flying art; letting the architecture do its thing while keeping the visual weight of a room to human scale. Of course, there are exceptions. One can have a wonderful stacked gallery or want to accent the height with some focal point or have a library that requires a ladder etc, but in general, I keep a low profile. ;-)

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 10:32AM
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I'm tall(6'4") so I don't rely on my eye-level when hanging art and my goal is to keep it grounded.

Luckily, I have fairly high ceilings so I can stack a bit.

BTW - I had a boss who hung the art in his office so high I had to look up at it.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 11:00AM
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See what I mean about wonderful exceptions to any rule. Who can argue with chijim's magical stack?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 11:18AM
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chijim illustrates another aspect to grounded that I omitted.

His [over-the-top! :-) ] art maintains a connection with the viewer by being positioned to relate with each other, and thereby gives that grounded feeling even though it's hung high. It's truly beautiful when well executed, but many alas fall victim to hodge-podge clutter rather than chijim's studied exuberance. To each his own I guess, but if I were unsure I could pull it off, I'd steer clear of trying to replicate that look.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 11:48AM
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Everyone thank you so much for your input.

Chijim, I love all the beautiful pictures of the dogs so much! I love dogs. I have four little dogs ranging in size from 4 lbs to 8 lbs. Three are Maltese and one is a black and white Shih Tzu. I like how you have the pictures stacked. I guess there is various ways to make a room look grounded and nice.

I love the picture so much and I just want it to look right so I can enjoy my family room before tackling my next project which is the TV stand and TV.

The picture means so much to me since I was waiting until I put the Brazilian Cherry floors down before putting a picture on the wall since I was not sure how I was going to arrange the furniture. I was also waiting until a picture called out to me and not just put any picture up. I am glad I waited so now the sofa and end tables are where I want them to be and I was able to see the Bronze frame would look nice with the floors. A cherry frame would not work with the red in the picture to my eyes.

I was up late with a client that has a 3 hour difference and then I could not sleep. My other client/friend arrived to hang the picture at 10 AM today and first he hung it crooked and too high even with his leveler. Then he rehung it too low and I measured and he hung it 1/2" higher than I thought it should be so I made him redo it. Now it is where I thought it should be but I thought the picture was 40" in height and it is 39.5" in height. It is actually 49.5" wide X 39.5" high and not the 50" X 40" I thought it was. I guess they have to take 1/4" off on all the sides to mat it and frame the print.

My client/friend measured on top of the rounded frame part instead of on the side which is why he gave me the wrong measurements. I will for now on measure with my white easy to fold-up plastic stool. When he left, I realized the sofa is not completed filled out on top so when it is squished down, it was the 31.75" high but when it is fluffed the sofa is 33" high but 34" on the sides.

So now the picture is 39.5" high off the floor but in some spots of the sofa it is only 4.5" height and other spots only 5.5" higher than the sofa. The middle of the picture is 59.25" from the floor.

In my sleep deprived state, it looks like the picture should be about 1/2" higher from the top of the sofa. I am going to wait another day before making a decision and try to take pictures for all of you.

I am a little upset that I did not notice a tiny chip on the bottom of the frame but I got such a great price and the rest of the framed picture looks beautiful. The chip is very tiny. Do you think there is some kind of bronze pen that can fill it in?

The beauty of the Japanese Garden is so perfect for my family room. The museum quality acrylic really is amazing allowing the picture to be so vibrant and gorgeous!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 4:08PM
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Destress, get some sleep and enjoy the results of your hard work making your family room feel like home. Have a great wkend.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 4:15PM
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Thank you abundantblessings for your positive post. I learned a lot about hanging pictures and that there is really no right or wrong way but what looks good to the eye and looks balanced. I do love the picture but wish I just had my friend finish hanging it when I got some more sleep.

I will take pictures soon and find a bronze magic marker for that tiny chip.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 6:49PM
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There's a product at Michael's and on Amazon called rub 'n buff- it's a cream- I've used it on frames and it works great and is easy to use. I think it would work on your chip. The magic marker probably would too!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 9:01PM
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Thank you nancybee_2010 for letting me know. I will try the rub'n'buff first and then the marker if I can find it in a bronze. is no longer selling (ran out) that Bronze Inner Beaded Frame. I am glad I got one of the last ones since the frame is gorgeous. I tried to take pictures tonight but the flash keeps going off making the picture not being able to be seen with the huge flash in the middle of it. The museum quality acrylic is not as clear I am finding out as the museum quality glass that I now have in my home office but would not ship with the glass due to the size of the print. But the picture is still gorgeous and it is still clearer than just regular acrylic with all the glare in that room that I have. I have finally hung a picture I bought at an estate sale with regular glass on it (not the anti-reflective kind) on the wall going up the steps where there is no glare and it looks great.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 10:03PM
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I took Pics last night & today & will share later on when time since I have to download them to Photobucket and label them. I found out that Optium Museum Quality Acrylic is not as clear and gorgeous as the museum quality glass used for my home office picture. The Optium Acrylic takes terrible pictures standing in front of it in the day time or at night (unless it is because my flash keeps going off) and the picture looks all wrinkled and bend out of shape with most of it covered by a flash. I learned to take the picture sitting on the floor or sideways to get a clear picture. The room has a lot of glare and is small and open to the kitchen that has the TV stand with the CRT 11 year old TV on it that still works great but is my next project since I want to get a flat screen TV on the wall that has brackets to extend it sideways to see on the sofa or recliner.

I have to complete a work project and I am tired from Sassy being sick all night from giving her a little bit of my steamed chicken and noodles last night. No more human food for her except vegetables since her sensitive tummy can't handle it as she is only 6.2 lbs. My Skeeter (a Maltese also) can eat anything without getting sick and he is small at 6.6 lbs.

I love the picture but I wish now I had the museum quality glass on it despite the weight but that would have meant I would have gotten a different frame locally that had the inner beaded lip but was 2" wide and not 2.5" wide and I just loved the frame from and they would not ship with glass a picture framed that became 49.5" wide X 39.5" tall.

My friend had after changing the picture several times had it 40" off the floor and I should have kept it at that since I think he was right to use the 34" highest sides of the sofa and add 6". The picture is now 39.5" above the sofa and a 6 foot person sitting down will hit their head. I am not quite 5 feet tall so my head does not hit it but I have some tall friends that will not be allowed to lean back.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 11:25AM
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