How high should I hang my canvas?

The question I’m asked most often is “how high should I hang my pictures?” so I thought I’d show the thought process I went through recently when hanging a canvas both horizontally and vertically.  The neat thing is that when I bought the canvas, it never crossed my mind that it’d look great in either direction. Now I love it even more because it gives me more options to decorate my walls. 

I started with this white IKEA dresser. I chose a large canvas to create a major focal point above the dresser and picked bright florals to add a touch of color to the space which is perfect for spring and summer.

Canvas hanging

Hanging pictures is all about trial and error, and unfortunately there’s no “one size fits all” rule. Take a look at the following photos to see the three looks I’ve created: the canvas leaning on the wall, hanging roughly 5″ above the dresser, and then at 10″ above it.

The leaning position
This option is great if you like the look and (to be honest) because you simply don’t want to put holes in your walls. You don’t have to worry about the canvas sliding on the dresser because its texture gently sticks to the surface and won’t move when opening or closing a drawer. As for accessories, they blend in with the canvas instead of popping out like they do in the other displays.

Note  – I don’t usually place accessories before hanging any pictures, but in this instance it was easier to compare the different looks when the accessories were in place. That said, sometimes the height you choose to hang your art depends on what is placed underneath it so knowing how you’ll style the table top surface before hanging anything is helpful.

Canvas hanging

Next, I raised the canvas 5 inches above the dresser without moving any of the accessories. I like this look because it feels airy, covers more overall wall space, I can see my accessories and I enjoy seeing the entire canvas.

Canvas hanging

I then raised the canvas even higher and right away you can see that the accessories appear much smaller. It would look better if I had two of the white lamps (one on either side of the dresser) and if the accessories were larger to fill more of the blank wall under the canvas. However, keep in mind that there’s no right or wrong answer for any of the options, it’s more a matter of preference and the style that you’re after.  

Canvas hanging

Out of the three options, this is the look that I like best, with the bottom of the canvas hanging at about 5 1/2 inches from the top of the dresser. 

canvas hangingCanvas hanging

I repeated the same steps as above to figure out the right height to hang the canvas vertically. Coincidentally, it looked best when hanging it at approximately 5 1/2 inches above the surface of the dresser. (same distance used in the horizontal display)

Canvas hanging 4HoldingLowerVertical_570pxCanvas hangingCanvas hangingCanvas hanging

Having someone help when you’re hanging pictures is definitely helpful as it allows you to step back and assess the hanging height (like I’ve done in this article). If you’re hanging pictures by yourself like I do quite often, our picture hanging tool Hang & Level makes it easy to find the right spot on the wall to hang any type of wall décor on your own.

One thing I discovered when hanging my canvas is that although I used a level to ensure that it was perfectly straight, it was not. The frame of the canvas was crooked so I had to adjust it on the wall. The lesson here is to trust your level and your eyes too.

Lastly, when hanging pictures don’t be afraid to hop on a stool and put your knee up on furniture like I’m doing here. It’s the most comfortable way to hang things exactly where you want them. Also, having the right tools before getting started will save you time and eliminate the possibility for making extra holes in the wall. 

Canvas hanging

Which look do you like best? The canvas leaning on the wall, hanging horizontally or vertically?

Liette Tousignant
Co-Founder of Under The Roof Decorating

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