Easy tips to hang pictures above a couch

art above a sofaDisplaying pictures over a couch is an easy way to create a focal point in your living room. Here are a few tips to get the job done:

Size it up

  • To create balance, your artwork (or grouping) should be at least 2/3 the length of the sofa.
  • Don’t have a large piece? Use two or more pieces in a group to create the size you need.
  • Pictures should not be wider than the couch or the artwork will overwhelm the furniture instead of enhancing it.

How high, how low?

  • As a general rule, the bottom of your frame should hang 8” to 10” above the back of the sofa. There are exceptions when you’re hanging a grouping of frames and in this case, you may have to play with the measurements a bit.
  • If you hang your artwork too high it will look like it’s floating away from the couch instead of being connected to it. Keep your wall arrangements low enough to enjoy when you’re sitting.
  • Have someone hold your artwork in position while you step back and have a look to ensure the height is perfect.

Spacing between pieces

  • When hanging a grouping of pictures, leave 2” to 5” between each frame for proper spacing. Use low adhesive tape to keep spacing consistent between frames.
  • Hanging frames too far apart will look disjointed, like you are trying to fill the wall instead of connecting each piece of art.

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Liette Tousignant's signature, co-founder of Under The Roof Decorating

Liette Tousignant

Co-Founder of Under The Roof Decorating


72 thoughts on “Easy tips to hang pictures above a couch

  1. Liette Post author

    I’m so glad to hear we could help you! Come back and visit us soon, we post new articles and great picture hanging tips almost every day.

  2. Cheryl

    Wall is 104″, sofa bed couch is 73″ picture I like is 47″square. Is this picture too big for this wall and sofa?

  3. Liette Post author

    Couch and artwork in painters tape
    Hi Cheryl, using some painter’s tape we did a mock-up of your wall, couch and artwork to help us visualize your space. Scale wise, your picture is the right size. Other things to keep in mind is the height of the ceiling and size of the room. Can the space support such a big piece of art? I’d suggest trying to mock it up like we did, it might help you decide if you should hang it or not. Please let me know what you end up doing.

  4. Tommie Wilson

    I have a brown sofe in my family room, my carpet is beige, the walls are a light greenish color, I’d really love to have your help as to what colors need to be in the pictures.

  5. Liette Post author

    Hi Tommie – picking wall décor with 1 or 2 of the colours you already have in your living room will definitely help tie in the whole look together. Also keep in mind what atmosphere you want to create in your living room. Bright colours and busy patterns will energize your room while softer colours and landscape type of paintings are more relaxing and soothing. Here’s a link to our living-room Pinterest board to give you a little decorating inspiration. http://www.pinterest.com/utrdecorating/%7Eliving-room-walls%7E/ Please let me know how your wall decorating project turns out.

  6. Nate Williams

    Love the article. Is it ok to have a large piece of artwork facing another on the opposite wall (both hanging above similar colored sofas, facing each other, as well) ?

  7. Liette Post author

    Absolutely! It’s a great way to add symmetry to a room and to balance out the weight of the 2 sofas that are facing each other. Your room sounds lovely. Glad to hear you enjoy the article.

  8. Mary Ann Powers

    I have a high ceiling living room painted goldish with an off white couch against it.
    To make the couch “pop”, I painted a medium blue behind the couch and added a chair rail. The bottom of the 2.75″chair rail is 3.5″ above the top of the sofa back.
    I left the wall above the chair rail goldish, and hung an art piece with blue and gold colors 3″ above the chair rail. The center of the art piece is 60″ from the floor. The visual problem is that with such a small area of blue, the couch looks like it’s been squashed by the chair rail. Any suggestions would be welcomed.

  9. Liette Post author

    Hi Mary Ann – Although you’ve given me a great description of your living room, if I could see a picture it would make it much easier for me to send you my suggestions. Hope to talk to you soon.

  10. basak

    hi Cheryl, I have a 108″ long gray sectional. I bought 3 natural steel color manhattan frames from room and board, 20 by 20 to hang side by side. I am wondering if I need a fourth one?

    I am planning to put black and white pics in these frames. My couch and frames both being grey, do you think this would be too much grey? I have cherry hardwood floors, lots of light, and another cream color small sofa in the room. Rest of my furniture is dark cherry color.


  11. dianne

    can I hang 2 pictures different frames different sizes above my couch. One is 25 inches long, the other 29 similar theme

  12. Liette Post author

    Before you start hammering I would recommend to mock up the 3 frames above your sofa using low adhesive Painter’s Tape. It will help you visualize your display and instantly confirm if a fourth frame is needed. It’s easy to do and you’ll be amazed at how well it works. As for determining if grey frames will work in your living room, I would lean the frames against the back of the sofa and take a picture of the entire room. The photo will reveal things that the naked eye can’t pick up on and help you confirm if there’s too much grey in your overall décor. I’m sure that the black and white pictures will look terrific in your room, it’s a timeless classic look. Great choice! I hope this helps!

  13. gaby

    Hi, I want to hang a painting above a couch in my living room. My couch is off-center due to one end table bigger than the space that would be left if I centered the couch. How should I place the painting on the wall? Should I center it relative to the couch or to the wall? Thanks!!!

  14. Liette Post author

    Great question Gaby. I always connect pieces of art to furniture so I would definitely center your painting with the couch, that way you’re creating a great focal point in your living room.

  15. Linda Griffin

    My sofa is 82″ & I have a painting 60″ long X 40″ high. From the back of the sofa to the ceiling is only 59″. Is this too large for my wall? my room has a sofa facing love seat. Ceilings are not high but I love this piece of art. how high above the sofa must it hang? How far from the ceiling must it be? Thanks so much.

  16. Liette Post author

    Hi Linda, using the measurements you sent, we mapped out the dimensions of your couch, painting and the height of your ceiling on one of the walls at our office. Considering the size of your artwork, the closer it hangs to the couch the higher the ceiling will appear. Hanging the bottom of your piece approximately 6” above the top of the sofa would work best. If you hang it higher, it will look like you’ve tried to center your piece on the wall space between the sofa and ceiling instead of anchoring it to your sofa. As for the scale of your painting, it’s the perfect size and counter balances the size of the sofa nicely. Given what we know, this is our best advice. Please keep me posted on what you end up doing.

  17. Nancy

    Hi Liette, I have just purchased a new home ( have not moved in yet) the wall measurement is 107 , my ceilings are 9′ and I have a 6′ crown molding . My
    new sofa is 97″ I fell in love with a print that is 42 ” x 42 ” is it too small for over the sofa? I have the option of remitting and reframing it . Should I do this? If so what size

  18. Liette Post author

    Hi Nancy – Based on the measurements you’ve given me, I think your artwork is big enough for your wall. It’s almost half the size of your couch which will visually counter-balance the weight of your sofa quite nicely. If needed, you could add a wall sconce on either side of your art to fill more wall space and to create a beautiful focal point in your living room. Congrats on your new house!

  19. marc

    Hi,can I place 2 identical picture frames next to each other (spaced by a few inches) on top of a sofa? Or they must be different?
    They are really identical, same frame, same pic. Thnx

  20. Darlene

    I have a piece of wall art over ny flat screen T.V .with a quote, then found a picture for above The couch saying HOME. With small quote under that . Can it be to much to have two pictures. With quotes in a apartment size living room . Should I go with a Mirror over The couch or a picture collage instead.?

  21. Liette Post author

    Hi Darlene! Hanging a mirror above your sofa is a great idea especially if you have a great view or something pretty to reflect. You could hang all the quotes on the same wall as your flat screen TV which is an artful way to camouflage it without having to hide it. Would that work?

  22. Diane Maher

    I have a blank off white wall, couch is tan, brown , green, tweedy like. There is one floor lamp, table lamp on either side of couch
    I have a mirror that I woo like to place over the couch which I know is the correct size. Right now I feel it’s pretty high over the couch
    At what height should the mirror be
    Right now it looks like it is flying away
    Thank you for taking your time to answer this question
    Diane Maher

  23. Liette Post author

    Hi Diane! If the mirror looks like it’s flying away from the couch it’s definitely hanging too high. Depending on the size of mirror, I usually hang pictures and mirrors about 8 to 12 inches above the sofa. You’ll find more tips at this link http://www.utrdecorating.com/blog/deco-101-art-above-a-sofa/ Before hanging your mirror, make sure you like what it reflects. This article is all about mirrors http://www.utrdecorating.com/blog/tip-tuesday-hanging-mirror-fireplace-mantle/ I hope this helps.

  24. donna

    I have a 30×36 mirror above a love seat that is 68inches long.I have 2 pictures that are 8×12 and would like to hang 1 on each side of the mirror .Would that look strange?

  25. Liette Post author

    Hi Donna! Before answering your question, I need to confirm a couple of things. Is the 36″ side of the mirror hanging parallel to the back of your sofa? Is it wider than it is tall? And are you planning to hang the 8X12 pieces in a portrait or landscape orientation?

  26. Becky

    I would like to hang my painting 8″ to 10″above the back of the sofa, as recommended. However, is there a way to protect people (and the painting) from knocking it down when they sit on the couch?

  27. Liette Post author

    Hi Becky! The 8″ to 10″ rule is only a guideline, it’s OK to hang art higher especially if you’re worried that someone might knock it down when sitting. I would recommend you sit on the couch and have someone move your painting up and down the wall to help you determine the perfect hanging height for your piece.

  28. Arty Fernandez

    My brother, an art broker, scolded me for trying to find a painting that ‘matched’ my living room. Your opinion, please, before I smack him (he’s younger).

  29. Liette Post author

    Thanks for the laugh Arty! You’re both right! Art doesn’t have to match your living room furniture but it should support it. For instance, it could be done via throw pillows or other small accessories where a color from an art piece is repeated which helps enhance the overall room décor. That said, you could also use black and white art which is timeless and fits in almost any decor scheme. If you’re looking for inspiration, have a look at our living room Pinterest board where you will find lots of different of art/furniture combinations. I hope this helps. https://www.pinterest.com/utrdecorating/living-rooms/

  30. Vicky

    Hello, To start, I find your website very informative. How do you center a painting on a sectional couch. L-shape. Thank you.

  31. Liette Post author

    Thanks Vicky – I’m really glad you like our website. Regarding your question, find the centre of the section of the sofa where you would like to hang your piece and line up your painting with that centre point. Have a look at our living room Pinterest board where you’ll find lots of images of pictures hanging above sectional sofas. It might help you find the perfect look for your living room. https://www.pinterest.com/utrdecorating/living-rooms/

  32. Shelley

    I have a lot of space in my living room due to vaulted ceilings. On the largest wall, I have a love seat with a side table. I bought a metal framed mirror that is 3 1/2 feet by 2 1/2 feet. Is that large enough for that space? It’s such a huge wall. Also, It would reflect the eat in kitchen. I have been in this house for 13 years and I still haven’t put much on the walls because I get so overwhelmed.

  33. Russ

    I think I figured our what to do. I am not going to display all 3 above the couch, just the 2 matching size landscape oriented which I will get larger (29×36)

    The portrait I am going to get a little smaller and display elsewhere (alongside a similar sized piece)

    So my solution will end up costing more but I think is the right way to go to make everything aesthetically pleasing.

    Thanks again for having this blog, it really helped me in what is not the easiest of tasks when all is said and done!

  34. Liette Post author

    Hi Russ – sorry I didn’t get to your question on time to help but it sounds like you’ve found a great solution. Feel free to send me a picture, I’d love to see how your picture hanging project turns out.

  35. Liette Post author

    Hi Shelley – so sorry for taking this long before getting back to you. Rooms with vaulted ceilings are beautiful but can be quite challenging to decorate. Have a look at this link for inspiration ideas of decorated rooms with high ceilings, you might find a room similar to yours https://www.pinterest.com/explore/vaulted-ceiling-decor/. If you’d like, send me a picture of your room at [email protected] which would make it easier for me to give you decorating advice. As for the mirror reflecting your eat in kitchen, it’s a great idea as long as you like what it reflects. One of the best ways to find out, is to have someone hold the mirror for you while you stand back to assess the look. Hope this helps!

  36. Jennifer

    I’m redoing the pictures above my couch. We recently purchased a sectional and it is throwing everything off. I’m not sure if I need to return the frame and do something else over the couch or add something to it. I’ve e-mailed you the current pictures of our living room. Any ideas/suggestions of what to do over the couch and spacing would be greatly appreciated.

  37. Liette Post author

    Hi Jennifer! Hanging pictures above a sectional is a real challenge because it’s such a big piece of furniture to deal with. The frame you currently have on the wall is unfortunately too small. You can add frames around it to build a gallery style wall above your sofa which will help counter balance its weight and scale. Have a look at the Pinterest link below for design ideas that you could apply to your own living room. Please keep me posted on what you end up hanging. https://www.pinterest.com/utrdecorating/living-rooms/

  38. Grisel

    Hi liette:

    I am a bit confused about the size of art that i need to purchase to hang over my sofa.
    The sofa is 90 inches long, the cieling is 8 feet.
    if the rule is is to do 2/3 of the sofa then what size of art should i purchase.
    Should i get one large piece or multiple pieces? Should it be portrait or landscape.
    It is not a huge apartment but it has big walls. i just dont want to overwhelm the space. What is your advice?

  39. Liette Post author

    Hi Grisel – “The 2/3 of the sofa” is only a guideline, the measurement can be tweaked depending on what you’re hanging. One large piece, multiples, landscape or portrait will work. It’s all about the overall look you want to create. Have a look at this short post where I changed the look of my space simply by switching the art. I replaced a horizontal grouping of 3 botanicals with one large square canvas. Both looks are great for the space. http://www.utrdecorating.com/blog/freshening-up-your-walls-with-art/. In your case, I would stay away from dark coloured images and heavy thick wide frames which could overwhelm your small space. Have a look at my Pinterest living room board, you’ll find lots of design inspiration on how to dress up wall spaces behind a sofa. https://www.pinterest.com/utrdecorating/living-rooms/ I hope this helps, please keep in touch and let me know how your wall decorating project turns out.

  40. Kathy

    I have a wall that’s 103 inches and my couch starts 28 inches from the corner. Can I hang pictures above the couch and then on the other wall If I leave the same 28 inches from the corner?

  41. Liette Post author

    Hi Kathy – leaving 28 inches of blank space on the other wall will definitely add symmetry to the room. If you’re hanging the same number of pieces and if they are of the same (or similar) size, you could even hang them at the same height. It all depends on what and how many pieces you’re hanging. With that said, have a look at my Pinterest living room board where you’ll find lots of examples of art hanging above sofas, you might even find a look that would work perfectly in your space. https://www.pinterest.com/utrdecorating/living-rooms/ I hope this helps, please keep me posted on what you end up doing.

  42. Rhonda

    I have a 40x40inch picture that I would like to hang above mt couch which is 82 inches wide. Would my picture be ok? I have 8f 7in ceiling in that room due to step down . Any advice you could give me I would really appreciate! Thank You so much.

  43. Dawn

    My sofa is 92″long. There is a picture I like that is 47″ wide and 36″ high. Is this okay to hang over the sofa? The back of the sofa to the ceiling is 68″.

  44. Jan

    I have a picture I dearly love, but it is only 16 x 40 and am looking for ideas for hanging this over the sofa.

  45. Liette Post author

    Hi Rhonda – yes, it’s perfectly OK to hang it above your sofa. It’s large size will counter balance the weight of your sofa quite nicely.

  46. Liette Post author

    Hi Dawn – Judging from the measurements you shared, I assume that you have a high ceiling (higher than 8′) which is great when hanging a large piece of art. The size of your picture will work well to balance out the scale of your sofa. If you’d like to see great examples of large scale art, have a look at my pinterest board https://www.pinterest.com/utrdecorating/large-scale-art/. I hope this helps!

  47. rose ferraro

    Hi, I have a fairly long wall in the living room, but my sofa can only be positioned at the beginning of this wall. You have already said to hang pictures over the couch, but can I also hang something on the wall after the couch, or should that part of the wall remain bare? Thanks so much for your advice!

  48. Liette Post author

    Hi Rose – What about hanging a gallery wall? Having picture frames and other items hanging across the entire wall would take the focus away from the off-centered couch. Have a look at this link for examples of gallery walls in living rooms. https://www.pinterest.com/utrdecorating/living-rooms/ If a gallery wall is not an option, hanging a large scale piece beside the couch would work too. It all depends on what other pieces of furniture you have in the living room. Please keep me posted on what you end up doing.

  49. judie

    I am looking at art to put over a 7 foot sofa. The walls are 14 feet high but not in a large room. I am confused as to what size to get. There is a vertical painting in the room and I was wondering if I should get two paintings instead of one to put over sofa. I am thinking about two 30×40. Is that too large? Thank you. Judie

  50. Liette Post author

    Hi Judie – My concern is that 2 tall vertical paintings will make the room look even taller. Usually it’s a good thing but since the room is small, it might make the space look awkward. In this case, hanging a picture horizontally might help make the room look larger versus taller. If you can, I would highly recommend mapping out the measurements with painter’s tape, you’ll be able to tell right away if the dimensions will work. See how to do it at this link…http://www.utrdecorating.com/blog/qa-know-size-picture-buy-walls/. Please let me know what you end up doing.

  51. Francine

    Hi, I find this site very informative and find myself in need of advice. I have a contemporary glass sofa table (45 x 29 x 18)set up against a 12 ft wall, 8 ft ceiling. Found two beautiful paintings 24 x 30 (each). How far apart do I need to put them for it to look right? I intend to center a large flower bouquet in the middle of the sofa table. HELP!!!

  52. Liette Post author

    Hi Francine – from what I understand, the total width of your paintings is wider than your sofa table, right? The spacing between your paintings really depends on the look you’re after and if you have chairs, plants or any other pieces of furniture placed beside your table. You could hang your paintings close to each other or with a few inches in between, both would look great. Can you rest your paintings on the table to help visualize the spacing? I often map out my art measurements with painter’s tape to help determine spacing and height to hang my pieces like I’m showing in this article http://www.utrdecorating.com/blog/qa-know-size-picture-buy-walls/. Try it out if you can, it works really well. Also, have a look at this link where you’ll find pictures of sofa tables and art, you might find ideas that could work in your space. https://www.pinterest.com/utrdecorating/living-rooms/. Please keep me posted, I’d love to know what you end up deciding.

  53. Rachel

    My couch is about 80 inches long and before I knew there were rules about how big a picture should be above a couch, we purchased a Thomas Kinkade piece that is 26 x30 inches framed. Since we really want to have it above our couch, what would you suggest to hang with it that wouldn’t detract from the scenic art? Or should we hang something on either side of it? I am not a decorator and really have no idea what to do.

  54. Liette Post author

    Hi Rachel – the rules are only a guideline to help you choose the right scale of art to balance out the size of your couch. Depending on the look you’re after, there are lots of wall display options. First, have someone hold your piece centred with your couch to assess how it looks. It might look perfect on its own. If it feels a little sparse, consider hanging a piece of art on either side as you suggested. Or, hang your picture to the left or to the right and build a gallery including pieces and objects of different shapes and sizes. If you’re looking for inspiration to get you started, have a look at this link where you’ll find lots of wall decor ideas. You might even find a look that would be perfect for your space that you could recreate. https://www.pinterest.com/utrdecorating/living-rooms/ Please keep me posted on what you end up doing, I’d love to share your ideas with our readers.

  55. Abby

    Hi Liette, my sofa is about 86 in. long (arm rest to arm rest) I want to hang 3 16×20 frames. 1 vertical and the other two are horizontal. My ceilings are 8 ft long…Are the pictures too small for my space? If not how many inches should I leave between each frame?

    Thanks in advance!

  56. Liette Post author

    Hi Abby – how are you planning to display your frames? An easy way to determine the best possible arrangement is to lay the frames on the floor like I’ve done here. It will also help you decide on the amount of spacing to leave between each frame, usually 2 to 4 inches is good. If you feel that more wall decor is needed in addition to your 3 frames, you could integrate pieces such as mirrors, wall sconces, large decorative letters. Have a look at this link where you’ll find lots of creative ideas to help you decorate your walls. Please keep me posted on what you decide to do.

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  61. Liette Post author

    Thank you! I’m so glad you found our website. Make sure to come back and visit us soon. We’re launching brand products this summer, products that continue to make picture hanging easier.

  62. Marie Brewer

    Oh my gosh I have enjoyed reading all the scenarios! Thank you so much but i’m still confused.
    I have a beach scene photo I want to print on canvas. Default size 36×24 seems a little short. But 2/3 of the couch seems such a monster. What custom size seems appropriate?

  63. Liette Post author

    Hi Marie – the measurements I refer to are only guidelines. You can absolutely hang something smaller. Each living room is different and couches all vary in size and width. It all depends on the atmosphere you want to create in your space. Have a look at this link where you’ll find great examples of different wall arrangements hanging above couches. You might even find a look that you could re-create in your own house.

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