While no hard rules or regulations exist for hanging a wall-mounted coat rack, logic comes into play: The coat rack must be within reasonable reach without requiring a footstool, and it also must be high enough to keep coats from touching the ground. The room in which the rack is installed, as well as the heights of those most likely to use the rack, are key factors when you choose how high to hang your coat rack.
No matter how high you hang it, a coat rack, even without anything hanging from its hooks, may be a weighty proposition. The backing board or flat piece that holds all the hooks on the device requires sturdy support on the wall on which it hangs; otherwise, the coat rack may come crashing down. Secure the structure to wall studs, if available, for maximum security no matter how many heavy coats hang from the rack. If a stud is not available, install at least two sturdy wall anchors, or more if the rack is more than 2 feet long. Choose anchors rated for heavy loads to ensure the rack stays put even under a load.
Choosing the Height
A free-standing coat rack averages around 6 feet tall, with hooks mounted within 12 to 18 inches beneath the top. Installed at 5 feet on a wall, the average adult and a school-aged child are able to reach the hooks on a wall-mounted rack. This height, adjusted slightly up or down as needed allows plenty of hanging space beneath the coats as well, to ensure that even a long coat does not touch the floor.
Mudrooms and Catchall Areas
In a space such as a mudroom, or where children drop off their jackets and backpacks after school, the height of the coat rack may vary based on the space at hand. If the coat rack sits above a bench, seating area or boot-and-shoe storage station, install the rack so a jacket has space to hang freely from the hooks without touching boots or a bench seat, while still within reach of the youngest or shortest coat-rack users. A space such as a mudroom benefits from a dual-hook setup, with space beneath the coat hooks to hang backpacks, caps and random lightweight items that the children use regularly.
Creative Coat Racks
Instead of settling for a run-of-the-mill coat rack, make your own from old water or snow skis, wooden boat oars, or even boards salvaged from vintage wine or beverage crates. Purchase hooks that are durable enough to hang heavy items, or repurpose doorknobs or old-fashioned outdoor faucet handles in place of hooks. As with pre-made coat racks, homemade versions must be securely installed onto studs or wall anchors to ensure safety.
Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, SFGate, Landlordology and others.