Use the 57-Inch Rule to Figure Out Where to Hang Wall Decor

Use the 57-Inch Rule to Figure Out Where to Hang Wall Decor
Photo: Photographee.eu, Shutterstock

In your teens and early 20s, it was perfectly acceptable to tape or tack posters, photos, or basically anything else you wanted to your walls and call it decor. But as you get older, your tastes may change — including when it comes to art.

Perhaps you’d like to take your living room to the next level and hang something on your wall that is framed. Great idea, but where, exactly, are you supposed to hang it? That’s where the 57-inch rule comes in. Here’s what to know about this design trick, courtesy of Ashley Chalmers at The Spruce.

What is the 57-inch rule?

As it turns out, designers and gallerists often use 57-inches (145 cm) as the standard measurement of eye-level. Some sort of maths was done at one point, but now — regardless of whether it still is (or ever was) the average human eye-level — it’s just one of those industry-wide standards that has stuck around.

In case it wasn’t clear at this point, the 57-inch rule dictates that wall art and decor should be hung 57-inches (145cm) from the ground. Here’s how Kristi Kohut, artist and founder at Hapi Art, explained it to The Spruce:

“The 57 inches rule is a terrific standard to use when hanging art. This means that the centre of the artwork should be 57 inches from the ground and helps to align the art to eye level. When used throughout your home, it can create balance and harmony amongst an art collection.”

Not only do interior designers use it when decorating a client’s home, art galleries and museums often use the 57-inch rule as well.

How to use the 57-inch rule

Although this decorating strategy is simple, there are a few things to know when using it, according to Chalmers:

  • If it’s your first time hanging something on the wall, the 57-inch rule gives you somewhere to start.
  • The “rule” is actually pretty flexible, and can also be used as a baseline. Plus, it’s not possible to hang wall art on every type of wall, so sometimes you have to work with what you have — even if that means breaking the 57-inch rule.
  • Creating a gallery wall? Use the 57-inch rule to place your anchor piece, and then built the rest of the collection around it.
  • Consider the size of the art in relation to the size of the room. Smaller pieces can often be hung lower than 57-inch and fit right in.

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