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dark bohemian bedroom with black wall paneling and round rattan pendant lights over timber bedside tables

How to Hang Art Above a Bed: Our Guide on Style, Size, Dimensions, Hooks and More

If trying to figure out how to hang art above a bed has been driving you bonkers, this complete guide has all the answers you need to finally get it right.

From frame colour to the distance the art should be from the headboard, whether to hang one artwork or two (and how far apart they should be); I’m lifting the lid on the lot.

This is the stuff we take care of daily as our work as interior designers, so you can rest assured you’re in safe hands. Scroll on as I talk you through everything you need to consider when hanging art above a bed in your bedroom.

The images in this post come courtesy of Metricon. Check out their image gallery of rooms here.

bedroom with floral wallpaper and pink floral artwork above bed

How to Hang Art Above a Bed Rule #1: Choosing a Style

Before we get into the nitty gritty of how to hang art above a bed, can we talk about the style of art you’ve chosen? I want to start here because people sometimes hang the style across from their bed that they really should be hanging above the bed itself.

Everyones art preferences are different, of course, but as a rule it’s wise to hang vibrant, bold or eye-catching art above the headboard of your bed. Then, install calmer art across from your bed or on an adjacent wall if you wish to.

This rule applies because when you’re laying in your bed you can’t see the bold artwork above you. Instead, you lay down and look across from you at something much calmer, which can help you sleep better at night. Louder, graphic art is often not easy on the eye, so it’s best left where you can’t see it as you drift off.

earthy green bedroom with olive wall olive bedding and brown timber bedside table with native flowers

Art Above a Bed Rule #2: Match the Frame Colour to Your Furniture

We’ll get into measurements in a second, I promise. I want to touch on frame colour before we do that though, because this can be make or break for the look and feel of the bedroom.

Ideally the frame your art is encased in should speak to another element in the room. This will most likely be a piece of furniture like a bedside table/nightstand, or a tallboy or chest of drawers across from the bed.

Doing this keeps a sense of harmony and cohesion in the room, and the art will make far more visual sense if the colour/material of your furniture (say oak, for example) is repeated in the frame the art is in.

You can see this at play in the image above; the similar frame and bedside table colour works so well in the space.

earthy bedroom with olive green panel feature wall and round rattan pendants

Art Above Bed Rule #3: Distance to Put Between Bedhead and Artwork

One of the common art-above-bed blunders I see clients make is having the art hung too close to the bedhead. That’s usually because the artwork is too large for the space, and often feels wedged in.

As a rule, you want a good hand-length between the top of the headboard and the bottom of the artwork. In exact measurements, that’s about 20cm or 7.8 inches. If the art sits any closer to the top of the bedhead or headboard it’s going to look too cramped.

The last thing you want is for the art above the bed to look like a mistake. You want it in the right size and scale for the room and in relation to the bed beneath it. If the art is so large it’s leaving a gap less than 20cm between it and the bed, it’s best relocated somewhere else.

coastal bedroom with palm tree wallpaper and round timber bedside table with marble top

Art Above Bed Rule #4: Breathing Room Between Top of Art and Ceiling

Equally Important is the distance between the top of the artwork and ceiling/cornice. This rule is going to vary depending on what height your ceiling is, of course, and how large the artwork is you want to hang on the wall.

But as a general rule, you want no less than 20cm or 7.8 inches in gap from art to ceiling. If you have rather high ceilings (say 3 metres or more), then the gap is going to be larger above the artwork to ceiling, than it is between the bottom of the art and the headboard.

If your ceilings are high, you’d still leave a 20cm gap at the bottom of the art and have a much larger gap from top of art to ceiling. You’d never install the artwork with an equal distance above and below in this instance, as it will look odd. Always go closer to bed than ceiling.

dark coastal bedroom with grey suede paint effect and coastal artwork with white frame

Art Above Bed Rule #5: The Art Should Step in from the Width of the Bedhead

One of the big considerations around how to hang art above a bed is width. Namely, the width of the artwork should never, ever be wider that your headboard/bedhead. You always want the edge of the art to sit either in line with with the width of the headboard, or ideally step in from it.

Think of it like a pyramid (a subtle one); the bedhead or headboard is the wider part down the bottom, and then the artwork above steps in.

In an ideal world, the art would step in from the bed (regardless of what size the bed is) about 20cm or 7.8 inches. 

If you have a much larger step in from the width of the bed to the artwork (say anything more than 50cm or 19.6 inches), then your art is too small and you should hang something larger/wider.

blue and white geometric wallpaper in bedroom with tan leather bedhead and blue bedding

Art Above Bed Rule #6: Artwork Orientation – Portrait, Landscape or Square?

You’re probably also wondering what orientation of art is best to hang above a bed: a square, portrait or landscape orientation. 

Here, the answer is simple. A single square artwork on its own is never going to be successful. That’s because there will be too much room either side of it (blank wall). A single portrait orientation artwork will look even stranger and is never recommended. 

Ideally, you want one landscape orientation artwork hung above the bed, or two squares side by side. In some instances, two landscape or portrait artworks will work too, but I’ll expand more on this in the rule below. 

bedroom with extra wide white boucle headboard black bedside tables and abstract artwork

Art Above Bed Rule #7: One Artwork, Two Artworks, Or More?

The number of artworks you should hang above a bed can vary, depending on how you want the room to look and feel. 

As a rule though, I always install either one landscape artwork above the bed, or two square artworks of the same size side-by-side. You can hang two landscape artworks side-by-side if headboard is extra wide (as seen above). 

Two portrait artworks side-by-side can sometimes work if the wall the bed is on is narrow or the ceiling high, but it’s not my preferred method. It just won’t ever look as good as one landscape artwork, or two squares next to one another.

Should you do more than two artworks above the bed? You can, if the headboard is an extra wide one like these ones, or if you’re going for a multi-frame, random gallery wall vibe.

bedroom with black vj paneling and round rattan pendant lights boho bedroom

Art Above Bed Rule #8: Types of Hooks to Hang Art Above a Bed

The best type of hooks for hanging art above a bed varies depending on the weight of the artwork in question.

If you have lightweight canvases in no frame (though that is one of my big art mistakes you best avoid), then a set of 3M Command hooks would work successfully to install these. Just make sure you check the weight the hooks can hold on the front of the packet before you buy.

For heavier canvas artworks in box frames, or glass-front artworks, the best type of hook is a sawtooth hook, which is attached to the back of the artwork. Failing that, you just want to ensure the artwork is hung on multiple sturdy hooks.

If you’re feeling unsure and want to avoid doing this yourself, call in a professional picture hanger. We use one on every one of our interior design projects and they’re amazing!

sage green bedroom with two artworks above bed and white hamptons bedside table

More Artwork Help on the TLC Interiors Blog

Now that you know how to hang art above a bed, you might want to take a look at a few other tips I’ve wrote about when it comes to art, for the bedroom and other pockets of your home:

Drop me any questions you have below around how to hang art above a bed. Be it about measurements, art styles, frame colours, installation or anything else you’re struggling with!

This post includes images and/or videos of Metricon display homes and events, reproduced with permission.  © Metricon Homes Pty Ltd 2021.

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Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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3 Responses

  1. Hi Chris
    Our ceiling height is 2.7 metres. We have a half metre window above the bed as well as a large side window. The space between top of the bed and window is roughly 1 metre. Two pendant lights at side of king bed. Will art above the bed look too cluttered?

    1. Hey Maureen, without seeing the space myself I’d say there’s a chance it could end up too cluttered. Is your bed head quite low, or the window very close to the ceiling? If your window is 0.5m and the gap from bed to the window is 1m and the total wall is 2.7m you’re left with 1.2m to play with which has to account for the bed height and the gap from the window to ceiling.

      Hard to give a definite response, I’m leaning towards it being too cluttered. But, before you commit to buying something or not, why not get some smaller pieces of art from around the house (or borrow from friends/family) you can sit on your headboard or have someone hold in place roughly where you’d hang them and then make a judgement call.

  2. stunning artwork and bedroom ideas. Great tips as well to work out scale of artwork to ceiling height and bedhead width which I always found tricky. Thanks Chris!

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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