Rules for best height for hanging pictures and TV

gwloloDecember 18, 2012

My friend and I disagreed on the best positioning for pictures and for TV. I always hung art so that the middle of the art is at eye level. I am short (5'tall) so I add another 4 inches to this so it looks right for normal people. My friend is 5'4in and feels this is too low. She prefers to have the art so that the bottom is above her eye level. I think that's is too high and I don't like to have to lift my head to appreciate a photograph. I am guessing the rules change for rooms with lower or higher ceilings... So what are the rules?

Similar argument with TV. In the family room, I was thinking that the middle of the TV should be eye level when sitting on the couch. Again not wanting to lift my head to watch. She feels it needs to be much higher.

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Elraes Miller

I think this is a personal view and depends upon the art size, surrounding groupings, ceiling and furniture/decor. Most art seen in other's homes are hanging too high to me. Usually around 2-4 inches. I have one wall with many framed art pieces, some would be considered too high, others too low if on their own.

If you are in doubt, consider finding an artist friend. They would probably give you some ideas on placement. Or post a pic and many here will help.

There is a recent thread on TVs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Comfort level of TV

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 6:54AM
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Eye level works for us.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 8:58AM
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You can google and get advice on "height to hang pictures". My pet peeve is that so many people hang their art too high, IMO. The experts on these sites say that museums and art galleries hang paintings so that the exact CENTER of the artwork is 57" from the floor. They give instructions on how to hang so that the center will be exactly 57" high and where to put the hanger thingy depends on the placement of the wire on the back of the picture.

The height to hang has nothing to do with ceiling height. It only concerns eye level of the average group of people viewing the art.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 9:01AM
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A few years ago, I read that you should hang pictures so that the center of the picture was 57" off the floor. So far, this has worked well for me, when hanging a picture by itself. If I'm doing a grouping of pictures, I try to get the center of the group somewhere near 57" off the floor. Sometimes I have to move a picture up or down a few inches, if it is hanging over a piece of furniture, in order to make the entire space look good. But starting at 57" and adjusting from there works for me.

TV placement, on the other hand, is completely different. Your goal there is not so much a pleasing-to-look-at arrangement on the wall. Your goal is to see the TV clearly from where you are sitting, so the height of your chair/sofa comes into play, the distance between TV and chair comes into play, the size of the screen comes into play. So for a TV, the best place is the one where lots of people can see it and they don't have to hold their heads at an uncomfortable angle to do so. That's going to vary from family to family and room to room.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 9:05AM
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I'm pretty tall, so I don't do eyelevel--so I go way lower otherwise I would cause people neck pain.

I've read that the center of the picture/art s/b about 57" above the flr.

If hanging art over something it should visually 'connect' with what's below it--i.e., not appear like it's floating above.
Also, don't center big art above a sofa, etc, and ceiling if you can avoid it--I would err on lower.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 9:11AM
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Divide the room into thirds. The art should occupy the center third of the wall.

Larger scaled pieces can go a bit higher if the viewing space has enough distance to stand back and allow it. But, most of the time, art gets hung too high simply because the room has tall ceilings. It should be hung to aid viewing, and you really can't do that when it's 10' up on a 15' ceiling. Unless the piece is the 10'x 12' and you can stand back 25' to see it.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 10:02AM
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I recently moved a framed item so I could get closer to it in order to see it clearly (its an old map). In the process of moving it to a different wall, it got moved so it is a little lower, too, and its amazing what a huge difference that made. It only moved down a few inches but it looks 100x better somehow.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 9:52PM
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Very timely-- we are finally hanging up pictures in our house and I always dread when DH asks, "How high?" Like you, I am short and want things at eye level, but DH thinks they are too low. So, I looked up a "rule" online and found just what was posted here-- the center should be 57". (Found an article about it on Apartment Therapy.) This has worked well. Just as promised in the article, there is continuity throughout your home when you keep things at a certain level (not counting places like sofas), and now there is no more doubt about what is right.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 12:45AM
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I should never post photos of my home in here. ;) Art and clocks are usually hung very high in my home. While I understand the eye level for viewing design guideline, my spatial awareness runs to greater heights than is typical.

As a landscape designer, my visual focus spans rooflines, the tops of trees and vines over pergolas to ground level. I am so used to 65-70% of my visual interest being above eye level that my comfort zone is with hung items placed quite a bit above 57".

Viewing rooms where the vast majority of the visual interest is below 70", especially when the walls above remain bare, makes me feel extremely uncomfortable. The balance is wrong; I'm suddenly big Alice (in Wonderland). To my eyes, the room got flooded, and after the water retreated, the stuff that was left behind shows the high water mark.

I am not saying 57" is wrong. My TV's height would fit in with the rule; it would never work for me to have a TV above a fireplace or high on a wall. I find the spatial comfort level differences to be interesting. But after 35 years of feeling comfortable with filling 40 foot heights with visual interest, a 15 foot wall needs balance from top to bottom in my home.

edit addition: lol I hadn't seen the Alice in the Rabbit Hole thread down the page when I wrote this. Honest!

This post was edited by Gyr_Falcon on Wed, Dec 19, 12 at 2:54

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 2:11AM
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Thanks all. The 57" to the center works well. I just mocked up a couple of pieces and it feels right.

Now please share your advice about TV. Our family room is 15x15. I am planning L-shaped seating which will either be a sectional or 2sofas. The TV will be on the third side. So if you are sitting and watching, what is the most comfortable height for TV. I will note that we have had no TV for the past 5 years (a long story). As the technology has changed quite a bit since then, I don't know much beyond Let us get the biggest flat screen that will work for the viewing distance

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 5:57AM
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GWlolo, here's a chart I found.

10 ft. (120 in.) 40-60"
12 ft. (144 in.) 48-72"
15 ft. or more 60+"

You will probably be sitting about 13 feet from the TV, once you have the sectional in the room. So you could have a 55" screen or a 60" screen. (I've never heard anyone complain their TV was too big. I have heard people complain that their TV is too small.)

What I would do is get the sectional and then either get the TV or at least decide on the TV size. Then cut a piece of cardboard to the size of the screen. Tape the cardboard mock-up to the wall at various heights and sit on the sofa to see what your sight lines are and if you have to tilt your head. Experiment until you find the height that works best for your family.

Roughly, the higher it is, the further back you need to be in order not to have to tilt your head too much. But the size of the TV also comes into play here, as well.

I don't think there's one best height for TVs. It really depends on your viewing angle, and that's going to be affected by how far you are from the TV, what you are sitting on and your own height.

My brother, the engineer, had various pieces of cardboard stuck all over the walls of the family room at one point. Different sizes, to see how large a screen they needed. Different heights, to test the viewing angle. (My SIL is a saint.) They now have a 55" TV on top of some built-in shelving that is about 37" tall. High enough so the kids couldn't reach it (or hit it while playing with the Wii) when they were little, and at a comfortable height for watching from 16' away.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 7:33AM
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Be careful the tv is not too high. I'd put up a cardboard sample size of your tv on the wall and test looking at it from the sofa and not make a quick decision. I was visiting at a relative's home for a number of days one time and we watched tv a lot. All seemed fine initially for me, but by the time my visit was over the muscles in the back of my neck and head were killing me. I ended up in physical therapy for several weeks to get those muscles to relax again!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 8:31AM
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DH has researched his and is considering as 65in plasma TV. Plasma as we will have L shaped sitting area and LEDs are supposedly not as good as plasma for viewing angle. I will do the cutout idea and report back after the holidays. Definitely do not want kirk in the neck.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 2:28AM
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Elraes Miller

Probably should be in another thread or forum. But I found the plasma to run very hot, a pain in the summer. Smart TVs are wonderful and can be moved at angles, plus near light sources without posing a problem with resolution. My TV recognizes light and adjusts the screen automatically. Am fascinated with the capabilities, there is even a color balance menu similar to Photo Shop for adjusting personal viewing.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 7:03AM
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Sophie Wheeler

LED TV and not higher than about 36" off the ground unless you will be viewing from a reclining position that will change the angle of your head.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 7:52AM
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LED TVs used to have poor pictures when viewed from the side, but the technology has improved quite a bit. I wouldn't rule out the LED or LCD TV until after looking at them in a store and checking them out from various angles.

My youngest brother has a 62" screen in a small living room, about 12'x10'. He just put it on a standard height TV stand/console and it's fine, even though most of the seats in the room are only about 6-7' away from the screen. It overpowers the room, but I think that was the look he was going for.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 8:08AM
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technicolor/ camlam --> Good point about technology improving. We will do a trip one of the days over the break to the TV store and research the different TVs and angles.

hollysprings --> I especially want to be careful with the height as we have some family members with spondylitis and other neck issues.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 11:49AM
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