How to Hang a Picture Easily and Artfully

Raise your hand if you leave hanging pictures to the very last minute. And that’s OK! After all, the pictures are the finishing touch, the jewelry or accessories to your room design.

Art and pictures really frame the room (pun intended). In fact if you skip the step of personalising your rooms with well chosen photographs and paintings, you’re missing a golden opportunity. Artwork adds the personality and character that elevates any room to special and covetable. AKA bookable.

We’ve all checked into a poorly designed hotel room and felt underwhelmed by the vibe. You could be anywhere or nowhere because the pictures are just blah.

how to hang art

Don’t let your home, investment property or Airbnb suffer from personality deprivation. Think about what kind of images will complement your decor and location to make your place memorable.

Think about how you want your guest or renter to feel. What images and scenes will create an emotional connection for them? Do you want to curate a beachy vibe or evoke local history with some well chosen images?

Where can you look? Scout online, in thrift stores and antique malls for unique pieces that won’t break the bank.

Start shopping. I’ve found cool posters online or in museum stores and then framed them in thrift store frames.

Once you’ve got a collection you’re proud of, here’s how to hang your pictures easily. There’s a knack.

The artistic side of hanging pictures:

  • A single large picture looks best hanging by itself, either centered on the wall or above a focal point
  • Group smaller pictures together to create a montage.
  • Don’t be afraid to lean a large piece of art against a wall, on a console table or a mantle
  • It’s OK to leave some art unframed.
  • Art is meant to be seen. Hang it at a height everyone can enjoy it.
  • Make sure your artwork fits the scale of the room. If you have super high ceilings or a large space, your pictures need to fit that scale.
  • Use picture rails or narrow shelves to stack and display smaller artwork.

how to hang art

The nitty gritty functional details on how to hang a picture

  • Rule of thumb on how high to hang a picture? Measure 57″ from the floor up because that’s where the centre of your picture should be.
  • What’s your wall material, plaster, brick, drywall or wood?
  • First check for a interior stud or vertical wood frame by using a stud finder. Funny name for a useful tool. If possible hang your picture where the stud is located for best support.
  • If you don’t have a stud or can’t find it, drill into the wall, tap in an anchor (plastic) and then screw a screw into the anchor. Leave enough of the screw sticking out beyond the wall to hang your picture wire or hook onto.
  • If you do have a wooden stud, then simple whack a large nail (for large art) or smaller nail or picture hanger (for smaller art) into the stud.

Got this type of wall?

  • Brick – hang your artwork from brick clamps
  • Plaster – check for a stud first, then follow my instructions above
  • Wood – easy peasy, just hammer in a nail or picture hanger
  • Glass or Tile – use adhesive hooks like 3M
  • Drywall – check for a stud first, then follow above instructions

Different types of picture hangers

  • Sawtooth – this is the small hardware mounted at back top left and right of the frame. The nails you hammer into the wall must align with one of the “teeth”. My recommendation is to measure up from the floor to where you want the top of your artwork frame to hang and then measure width between the sawtooth hangers. Because there are multiple “teeth” you have a little room for error on width (but not on height) of your nails.
  • D ring hangers – most affordable art “to go” has D ring hangers at top left and right of frame.  The hanger itself is in the shape of a D. As with sawtooth it requires accurate measurement and placement of nails in the wall before you hang. With D rings there is no forgiveness on either width or height so be sure to measure accurately!
  • Gorilla or monkey hooks – if you are hanging your pictures on a drywall or plasterboard, you may be able to use a monkey hook instead of a nail to hang your art. It’s a curved piece of metal with a sharp end that you poke into the drywall. Most of the hook stays behind the wall leaving a small hook.
  • Single wire – The original method of picture hanging was simply stringing a piece of wire between two eye hooks embedded into the sides of your frame. It’s still the simplest way to hang art. Knock a nail in the wall, hang wire over it and adjust to straighten.

how to hang art

Keep in this in mind. Large, heavy artwork requires a bigger hook, nail or screw. Glass adds a lot of weight so don’t be afraid to remove glass from larger pictures and hang as is.

Got a big heavy piece of artwork and don’t want to drill into the wall? Think about leaning it against a wall above a mantel or on a picture rail.

Lighter weight artwork such as frameless canvas or a small photo can easily be hung on most walls. Here’s a trick if you’re thinking of creating a montage of frames. Lay them all out on the floor until you get a pleasing composition. Then start measuring!

Hanging art doesn’t have to be a chore. Just get the right tools, an assortment of hangers, a tape measure, straight ruler and a pencil to mark on the all where to bang your nail. Take your time and the end result will be picture perfect!

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