Discover how to hang a picture perfectly in this article. We will discuss what fixings to use and how best to position your picture. We’ll even share some pro tips with you and explain how to hang a picture gallery wall.
What is the best way to position a picture on the wall?
- The general rule of thumb when hanging a frame, is to position it so that the centre of the picture is at eye-level. However, this is different for everyone of course!
- Art galleries use a standard rule, which accounts for the average person’s height. They place the centre of the picture 1520mm (60 inches) from the floor. We advise using this rule as a starting point for positioning a single picture, but remember to trust yourself. If you, or someone you live with has a good ‘eye’, listen to their opinion. After years of experience, I rarely measure when hanging pictures now, since I know, as a relatively short person, that the centre should be a little higher than my eye-line.
- Remember that with a gallery wall, this rule will not apply and in that case you will need to plan out your design using construction paper. See below for more tips on gallery walls.
- Don’t forget to consider furniture height if for example, you are hanging a picture above a sofa, or sideboard. Mark the height of the furniture on the wall (perhaps even the height of your head, when seated), so that you know the picture will not be obscured by this.
- Finally, use a spirit or laser level to ensure that your picture is straight.
How to hang a picture perfectly
Preparation is key
We’ve already talked about positioning your picture, but before you hang it, you will need to examine your wall and choose the fixings. Depending how heavy your picture is and what your wall is made of, you will need to prep your wall accordingly…
If your picture and frame are relatively light and your wall is smooth, you may be able to use adhesive strips to affix it to the wall. However, if you have a large picture, or a heavy frame, you will need to use a masonry bit to drill a hole (preferably into the mortar), then use a masonry anchor/wall plug before your screw. Leave the head of the screw sticking out to hang your picture on.
Plasterboard or dry/stud wall
Again, for a very lightweight picture, a double pin picture hook will work. For anything larger, use a wall scanner to check for wiring or pipes and locate framing studs (beams). If you are lucky enough to have a stud exactly where you want to hang your picture, make a guide hole with an awl (punch). Then screw straight through the plasterboard, into the wooden stud, again leaving the end of the screw sticking out, to hang your picture on.
If, on the other hand, there is no convenient stud in the place you want to hang your picture, you will need to use a hollow wall anchor or spring-back toggle to secure your picture to the plasterboard.
Be careful with a plaster wall, as they can be a bit crumbly, especially in an older home. You may be lucky enough to have a picture rail, in which case you can hang your pictures securely from this. If not, you will need to decide; is your picture light enough to hang using nails/picture hooks, or will you need something more sturdy?
If you do use nails, remember that for plaster walls they should always be hammered at a 45-degree angle, 1” deep into the wall.
If your picture or frame is large/heavy, you will need to find a wall stud, or use a spring back toggle or hollow wall anchor, as you would with a plasterboard wall. Here is some more information about hanging pictures on a plaster wall.
PRO TIP: Stick a little painter’s tape on the wall before pre-drilling your hole, to minimise crumbling.
Tips to hang a picture gallery wall
A gallery wall can look incredible in your home, but it’s a little trickier than hanging just one picture…
- Firstly, gather all your art. Consider whether the pieces work well together. They don’t need to match (in fact, they shouldn’t), but rather should complement each other.
- Secondly, trace around each frame on scrap paper and mark where the hanger is. Cut these out and use masking or washi tape to experiment and find the perfect gallery wall layout.
- It can help to begin with the largest picture. Place this at eye-level, in the centre and build outwards to create your gallery wall design.
- Use a ruler to space your items evenly and a level to make sure that they are straight.
- Once you are happy with your paper display, you can use the hanger markings that you made earlier, to guide where you hammer your nails/position your wall anchors. Then take down the paper and tape and hang your art. Again, start at the centre, ensuring that this first picture is level before you move on to the next.
- Take a look at the video below by Pottery Barn to see these tips in action.
Now you know how to hang a picture like a pro. You can even hang a gorgeous gallery wall. So go for it!
You might also like to find out how to prepare your home for winter with these easy maintenance tips. Finally, you can find lots more tips, trends and inspiration for interiors here.