Hang 'em high, or hang 'em low
April 6, 2009 9:09 AM   Subscribe

I'm hanging a large, 3'X5' framed mirror in my dining room. I'm going to hang it horizontally, and the room has an 8' ceiling. How high up on the wall should the mirror hang?
posted by Mountain Goatse to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've done the same thing in my dining area. I took two things into account.

- Do you have a chandelier hanging over the table? Hanging a mirror to reflec the light from a chandlier (or sconces on the opposite wall, say) is an old trick to make a room brighter and more elegant.
- This article and other sources recommend centering art on the walls at eye level.

In the end, I hung my mirror so that the center is at 70". Low enough for my to see myself as I walk through the room, high enough to catch the chandelier over the table and reflect the light back. Looks great.
posted by minervous at 9:16 AM on April 6, 2009

Figure out how far it is from your eyes to the floor, or use an average, say 62-64 inches. Here's the important part: Use the center of the mirror (which includes the frame, if there is one) as your reference point, not the edges of the frame. To determine the focal point or the mirror, use a tape measure to calculate the distance from the top of the frame to the bottom of the frame. You want that focal point to be directly level with the distance of your eyes from the floor.
posted by netbros at 9:22 AM on April 6, 2009

Seconding netbros. The mirror should centred at your eye level (or something like the average eye level of adults in your household).
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 11:06 AM on April 6, 2009

Best answer: No, no, no. Not centered at your eye level. Centering is lazy and inhuman design. We see and deal with the world from a higher-than-center perspective.

Think about how you look in a bathroom mirror. Your eyes are almost certainly not in the vertical center, or most of the top half of the mirror would be wasted. Or you're very short. More likely, they're probably in the top-center.

The answer to these kinds of placement question, whether it's about interior decorating or newspaper layout, is almost always Phi. Use the golden ratio: the middle of the mirror goes 4.94 feet up from the floor.
posted by rokusan at 11:30 AM on April 6, 2009

Best answer: It depends on your height more than anything. You want to hang it at a height that works for you and not necessarily the average person. Maybe average it out with your SO and yourself. Ideally you want to balance it with the rest of the room so take the height on the wall with a grain of salt. We have a mirror above the fireplace but the fireplace is above eye level. The best solution there was to angle the mirror downwards.

Regardless of what you end up doing, you should make sure to use a heavy duty anchoring system like the Hangman. A good mirror that big weighs a lot! If it falls it good do some damage or hurt someone.
posted by JJ86 at 11:50 AM on April 6, 2009

JJ86 is exactly right: if you need to adjust for your own pleasure, angle it slightly. Since you can't move the ceiling, though, it will only look "right" on the wall in once place, however. 4.94! ;)
posted by rokusan at 11:55 AM on April 6, 2009

Best answer: I think I stole this idea from Martha Stewart, but ... cut a piece of light cardboard to the size of your mirror. Tape it to the wall at various heights until you're happy with the placement. Mirror goes there.
posted by MonkeyToes at 12:46 PM on April 6, 2009

Close to the 4.94…

I saw this a few years ago, and starting using their number (57", or 4.75'.) It looks good.
posted by mhz at 12:53 PM on April 6, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! We do have a chandelier that would look great in reflection. I'll also take into account the top-center ideas, so hopefully I can find a middle ground.
posted by Mountain Goatse at 1:35 PM on April 6, 2009

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