Not Martha

I need to borrow your expertise for a moment

This is our dining room, that is the new mirror which we’re going to hang over the buffet, and this is my question: How high should we hang that mirror? The wall is 8 feet tall, the buffet is 34 inches tall and the mirror is 24 inches tall. Do we hang the mirror at picture level? (Which according to Apartment Therapy is 57 inches on center.) Do we eye the height? Is there a guideline to use here?

· comments [42] · 03-30-2007 · categories:the home ·

42 responses so far ↓

  • 1 CW // Mar 30, 2007 at 8:09 am

    My very unscientific advice: Hang at the height that you can see your face and shoulders, but not your tummy- because who wants to see their tummy when bellying up to the buffet?

  • 2 Erin // Mar 30, 2007 at 8:11 am

    I don’t know if you’ll think this is a lame idea or not, but when we hung our big mirror over our buffet=type piece … I initially cut a piece of butcher paper the size of the mirror and hung it up where I thought I wanted the real mirror for a few days. Turns out it was way too high (I think we had eyeballed it) and we hung the real mirror lower. Much better than living with it at a too-high height or an ugly huge hole in the wall to patch. Just a thought!

  • 3 megan // Mar 30, 2007 at 8:13 am

    Erin – thanks, we’ve had a paper outline on the wall for a few days but I am curious if there is a standard for this.

  • 4 Ty // Mar 30, 2007 at 9:21 am

    I agree with CW. Your should be able to see, face, shoulders, and I would add chest. But not stomach…On an average person. Say 5’6″ to 6′ tall. So I would say the bottom edge should be between 42″ and 50″ off the ground.

    P.S. Love the buffet, mirror and paint color!

  • 5 Aidan // Mar 30, 2007 at 10:16 am

    I had this question when I hung a mirror above my fireplace mantle. It is high enough that you can’t see yourself in it at all, so the deciding factor for me became how the objects I was going to place on my mantle looked reflected in the mirror. I ended up eyeballing it rather than following a standard. The width of the mirror frame in relation to the width of the fireplace below it was also a deciding factor in how much space I put between the bottom of the mirror and the mantle. I wanted it to have proportionate white space all around.

  • 6 David // Mar 30, 2007 at 11:05 am

    For a more informal look, keep the mirror lower. Look for visual anchors on the other three sides of the room so you can match up with and create a “field” of view. A lower field makes the room feel more informal, a higher one makes it feel more formal.

  • 7 janet // Mar 30, 2007 at 11:27 am

    Eye level.

  • 8 Katie // Mar 30, 2007 at 11:37 am

    If you eyeball it make sure you eyeball it from both a standing position and while sitting at your dining room table. We hung a mirror once and while it seemed great when we were standing there it looked awkward when we were seated at the table… just a thought.

  • 9 Erin // Mar 30, 2007 at 11:43 am

    Hi Megan,

    My guideline for hanging mirror is what does it reflect? What can you see reflected in it when you are viewing it? My mirrors are often situated to they either reflect a window or a picture I love. Or if it is for a more practical use can I see myself in this from here?

    If it is more for visual appeal than appearance appraisal I would try to keep it closer to the hutch than the ceiling (creating a more cohesive weighted piece) and I would think about canting it forward as perhaps it then would catch your table setting or the sideboard itself from some angles.

    Hope that helps,

  • 10 megan // Mar 30, 2007 at 11:51 am

    Janet – I’m being entirely serious when I ask this: What is eye level?

  • 11 janet // Mar 30, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    It is a guide that I use for hanging pictures too. Your eye level, looking into the mirror, usually about 2/3 up from the bottom. That is where I was taught to attach wires to a frame also. The eye is comfortable looking at paintings and yourself in that zone.

    Put some felt or plastic stick on pads on the bottom corners to help adjust what it reflects afterwards. Stack them if need be.

  • 12 amy // Mar 30, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    I agree with Erin, keeping it closer to the hutch. But really I just wanted to say “You got the mirror!” And “I love, love, love the hutch!” Your dining room is going to rock!

  • 13 erin michelle // Mar 30, 2007 at 4:25 pm

    Gallery height is figured by dividing the height of the object three, and then placing the object so that one third is above the “eye level” mark (which I thought was 60 not 57 inches but whateves) and two thirds is below. Not that that matters!! Standards don’t always work. Nothing’s ever that simple! Gotta find the spot where it doesn’t make you crazy from any vantage point like they said. xox.

  • 14 jennie // Mar 30, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    what’s with all the erins around here?

  • 15 marie // Mar 30, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    Just a notion, instead of the paper outline, try foil shiny side out for a while so you get the affect of what will be reflected.

  • 16 hehe // Mar 30, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    You should nix that idea entirely and hang it on the ceiling…then go at it on the dining room table.

    Just a thought.

  • 17 Eden // Mar 30, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    I’m going to break from the general consensus here and say that I would try it close to the buffet, maybe four inches above. I’d like the mirror to reflect the items on the buffet (imagine a floral arrangement reflected in it).

    Also: it’s a buffet. I assume it’s in a dining room. “Eye level” in a dining room = when seated. You can go low.

    Just my $.02.

  • 18 erica // Mar 30, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    In the april issue of domino, they have a whole section about hanging art: in groups, above furniture, etc. They advise hanging a piece 6 to 8 inches above the top surface if you’re placing it over a piece of furniture. The article starts on page 74. I’m bookmarking it for future reference. Hard to know where to even start sometimes!

  • 19 Miss Sassy // Mar 30, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    I think it depends on what you want the function of the mirror to be. If you really want to be able to view yourselves, then the comments people have written (Erin?) are great. If you want to make it draw you into the room in another manner, I would even consider not centering it above the buffet but putting it off center or vertical. Let us know how it turns out!

  • 20 mammajam // Mar 30, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    I don’t have any expert advice for you, but I LOVE the orange wall!

  • 21 SweetJen // Mar 31, 2007 at 9:18 am

    The butcher or newspaper idea is good…about a year ago, I think Apartment Therapy had a whole article about the proper height for pictures!

    In general, most people hang their artwork, mirrors, etc. far, far too high. Really, everything should be set so that the center of the picture is at eye level for the average person. The question-mark box in your example, for instance, is far too high – it should drop at least six inches.

  • 22 growler // Mar 31, 2007 at 10:16 am

    The “standard” should be “However the heck you like it”! I’ve got an old mirror I inherited from my grandparents. It rests atop an old desk, which you see as soon as you walk in the front door. The mirror itself is angled, because it leans on the wall.

    You might give that way a try and see what you think.

    But, as I said, what you think is how it should be.

  • 23 Amanda // Mar 31, 2007 at 10:58 am

    I run a picture frame shop and people always ask me where to hang art/mirrors in relation to furniture. My advise is to hang your frame a hand’s width (fingers spread) from your buffet. It might look a little low when you are right in front of it but take a few steps back and I bet it’ll look just right.

  • 24 Andrea // Mar 31, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    I say put it high enough that you can look into the mirror and see yourself comfortably.

  • 25 Wendy // Mar 31, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    Heck, I’d just hang it lengthwise, you know, so the rectangle goes from north to south. I’d probably prop it only about six inches above the buffet. (And put a really tall green bambooish plant next to it).

    I love that color on the wall! Now that I’ve seen that, I am rethinking my entire house palette and deciding I must repaint everything, head to toe.

    I am anxious to see how it turns out.

  • 26 *Terramia* // Apr 1, 2007 at 1:06 am

    I think everyone has covered your question… so I will just mention that I am so savouring your wall d’orange! Delicious! :)

  • 27 alicia // Apr 1, 2007 at 11:38 am

    I like answer n. 23!
    In general, we (interior designers) do like that:
    we hang pictures at your eyes level (in the middle of the frame +/-) BUT sitten in the chair or sofa that it is in the same room. Like this: you sit in the sofa, or bed in front of the furniture and THEN you adjust the hight of the mirror.
    This way the room looks bigger and you feel more comfortable (objects are your eye level when you sit).
    I hope it helps you…

  • 28 Lin // Apr 1, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    Like mammajam, I have no expertise, but I LOVE the orange also. Want to paint bedroom orange(of all places) but am struggling with finding the perfect orange. P.S., I love your site and visit everyday. You have such great info. Thanks.

  • 29 Lin // Apr 1, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    By the way, I have that exact light fixture in my den. I feel so…stylish (my 3 year old daughter’s favorite word).

  • 30 janet // Apr 2, 2007 at 4:40 am

    Just a thought. Do you have spackle and more orange paint? If so, move the hook around until you like where the mirror is and fill in and paint the other holes :-)

  • 31 krista // Apr 2, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    There is a Sherwin-Williams ad in the April issue of Domino and in the ad there is a lovely buffet and a frame just above it. It sits exactly halfway between the top of the buffet and the bottom of the crown molding. It looks very nice there. Something to consider…

  • 32 Lane // Apr 3, 2007 at 9:06 am

    Think Bistro. Hang at 69 inches max to the top so you can see your head when seated. This will put the bottom at 3′-9″. Adjust a few inches lower, depending on your chairs so you can see reflections when dining.

  • 33 Adrienne Zurub // Apr 3, 2007 at 9:45 am

    I would position the mirror on the buffet in the middle supported by the back wall with tall long stemmed Orchids on either side in seductively shiny brass or silver pots.

    Author of ‘Notes From the MotherShip~Naked Invisibles,’ release date September 2007.

  • 34 Adrienne Zurub // Apr 3, 2007 at 9:47 am

    Actually, the metal I would use after really looking at the picture for the 5th time is the color of the metal on the drawer pulls!

    me…HGTV junkie!

  • 35 RichardinLA // Apr 5, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    When in doubt, hang it a bit lower rather than higher as the attachment holes in the wall won’t need to be immediately patched if you decide to move it higher. If you start too high, you will need to patch and paint each time you lower it.

  • 36 jen beck // Apr 6, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    No more than six to eight inches from the surface of the credenza. This way, when seated at the table, you and your guests will be at the appropriate height for looking at the mirror or artwork in that room.

  • 37 Tollie // Apr 7, 2007 at 9:00 am

    My initial thought was to just hang, spackle, rehang too– but then I thought– how about just printing a couple of copies of your picture, cut out the mirror and “hang” it at varying heights on the picture. I’m sure you can figure out the differences in scale and for other references (sitting, standing,etc) just take another photograph. I hope this is as easy as it sounds to me.

  • 38 megan // Apr 7, 2007 at 11:27 am

    Tollie – I’ve done that, my dining room has looked like this for over a week now. We cannot seem to find a long enough stretch of time where we’re both in the house to agree on height. I was really asking the question to find out if there were guidelines to follow.

  • 39 LQ // Apr 8, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    You have probably hung your mirror by now… (I love the color of the wall, BTW). I think you should hang it low… So not to see the face or shoulders. Gives it more of an “off the wall” look.

    Also, thanks for the comforter idea (months ago). It worked.

    Take care!

  • 40 Mat // Apr 13, 2007 at 7:29 am

    Look at what is in your picture….
    see, how the mirror is, just raise it up and hang. Pick a complementary spot just up the wall there. See, how the plant and light fixture balances it. Plus often ladies would love to grab a peek at how they are looking all over(body wise) during a gathering. This will leave a clean look across your buffet top.

  • 41 Rose // Dec 30, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    My buffet is 56 inches high and 72 inches long. I have 38 inches from the top of my mirror to the ceiling. I would like to hand a mirror over the buffet, but I am not sure how big a mirror I should purchase and how high off the buffet I should hang the mirror taking into consideration the frame? Would an oval mirror look okay or should I stick with a rectangular mirror?

    Thanks for your help

  • 42 alivicwil // Sep 27, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    how did you end up hanging this?

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