Whether you are hanging a single framed photo, a piece of artwork, or a gallery of images, perfectly placed frames can really amp up and personalize your home décor. Below are some tips on how to hang pictures in your home like a pro.  

You may need the following items:

  • hammer
  • screwdriver
  • stud finder
  • nails
  • carpenter’s level, preferably 24 inches long
  • pencil
  • hanging hardware
  • masking tape (optional)

Take Inventory

If the pieces you want to hang are framed, set them out – prop them against walls or spread them out on the guest bed. Based on the size of the space(s) you need to fill, select which pieces will be single, stand-alone pieces and which pieces will be part of a gallery wall. If you have unframed pieces, a guide to help you choose frames can be found here. If any of your frames need hanging hardware, you can buy a picture hanging kit from the hardware store. Crossbars or sawtooth hangers are great for small, thin frames, while wire hangers give more support to heavy or wide frames.  

Gallery of Frames

In addition to adding décor to a room, a gallery of frames will tell the story of where you’ve been and the people who are important to you. A grouping with a unifying theme, such as a set or similar frame style, is best for a formal room, such as the dining room or living room, whereas a diverse mix of themes might work best for less formal rooms. To create cohesiveness, try monochromatic prints or a gallery of a certain element – family, pets, or favorite vacation spots! Consider these frame wall arrangement types. If you are shooting for a more uniform look, pictures of the same size will be placed equidistant from each other. Consider a more creative slant by placing pictures of different sizes together. For the latter, visualize the placement of all the smaller pictures as one large picture – start with the largest print and arrange the smaller prints around it. To help you position each picture, cut pieces of cardboard or Kraft paper reflective of the sizes of each picture in your gallery. Hang these cut-outs on the wall that you have chosen for your gallery wall with painter’s tape and adjust until you are satisfied. It’s much easier to adjust paper squares than to re-hang your pictures.

Positioning and Measuring

Conventional wisdom on how to hang pictures may suggest that they should be hung at eye level, but do what feels right for the architecture and furniture of the room. Frames really need two hangers to avoid swinging or tilting, and each hanger should be installed evenly spaced from the center. Whether you are hanging just one piece or a group of framed pieces, it is important that the arrangement (or single piece) is centered horizontally between two points to make the room feel balanced. 

Single Pieces

If there is a spot in your home that needs a single frame hung, select a few possibilities, and have someone hold them up for you to assess.  

For hanging single framed pieces at eye level, you will position its center 57 inches from the floor by following these steps: 

  1. Measure 57 inches from the ground and mark this spot with a pencil (or on a piece of tape)
  2. Measure to find the middle of the wall (from the side) and mark where the two points meet – this is where the center of the frame should be
  3. Measure the distance between the center of the frame and the hanging hardware (either where the wire hits the nail where the hanger is) – mark this spot for the nail

Multiple Pieces

If you have decided on a grouping, your measurements will need to be precise for even spacing. Allow at least 2″ of space between each frame and aim to have the center roughly 57 inches from the ground. Below are guidelines for how to securely hang different size frames on your wall:

  • For pictures lighter than 5 lbs., a nail should be sufficient for drywall, wood, and plaster walls. It is recommended that the nail be hammered in at a 45-degree angle.
  • For pictures around 10 lbs., use a drill and screw to drive the hook into the wall and make sure the screw is pushed in as far as it can go. Use wall anchors if you are drilling into concrete or brick.
  • For pictures heavier than 15 lbs., you will need to find a stud by knocking on the wall or using a stud finder. If it sounds dull or firm, you’ve found one! If you can’t find a stud in the location you want to hang the frame, you can use wall anchors.

Large Pictures

If you have an oversized framed piece that you are especially proud of, make it the centerpiece of the room. There are a few general rules of thumb to keep in mind when deciding if, where, and how to hang pictures that are on the larger side. If it is going to be a single large piece on a wall, then it should be large enough to take up at least two thirds of the space and shouldn’t be larger than any furniture that sits up against the same wall. It is recommended that the piece is centered either on the wall itself or over a piece of furniture. When you are ready to hang it, consider its weight and the material your wall is made of – large, heavy pieces should be hung by nailing into studs or by using wall anchors. One option is to place your frame on a shelf or mantel and lean it against a wall.

How to Hang Pictures Solved With Samantha Lee Designs

Whether you are in need of finding space for pieces of all shapes and sizes or you want to fill spaces with stunning, large statement pieces, contact the experts at Samantha Lee Designs if you need some inspiration or guidance.