Hanging Pictures: Centering and Height Adjustment

A picture frame on a wall.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 20-30
What You'll Need
An assistant
Tape measure
Portable drill
Small assorted drill bits
Hanging hardware, and screws
Stud finder (optional)

When hanging artwork or simple, framed pictures, centering and height adjustment are primary concerns. If they are not hung with careful and accurate placement, even the most elegant and awe-inspiring works of art will look wrong. To make sure these pieces are hung perfectly, use some basic materials and follow a few simple steps.

Step 1 - Measure Twice, Hang Once

Recruit a family member to place the artwork against the wall approximately where you would like to see it hung. Stand back, and view the artwork from several vantage points. When it looks exactly right, have your assistant hold it steady while you draw a faint pencil line around the bottom right corner (this is to include an angle of the bottom and side of the frame) with which to use a reference for hanging it.

Accurately measure the distance from the frame’s lower corner (the measurement just taken) to where the hanging hardware on the back of the artwork will be attached. Take the same measurement from the pencil line to the center of the wall and mark where the hanging hardware for the artwork will go. In the event more than one hanging device is to be used, use the level to ensure they are mounted in a straight line, both on the wall and on the back of the artwork.

Step 2 - Affix Hanging Hardware

Begin with the hardware for the artwork. The use of small screws is highly recommended and it is suggested that nails never be used. Place a screw against a drill bit of the same size, allowing the screw threads to extend beyond the diameter of the drill bit. Using the portable drill, drill a small hole into the artwork frame to accommodate installing the hanging hardware, and then screw the hardware in place.

Verify the measurement from the artwork to make sure it lines up with the mark made on the wall. Depending on the weight of the artwork and location of studs, it might be worthwhile to use a stud finder, and attach the wall hardware to it. If the wall is common plasterboard, a plastic insert might suffice to secure the wall hardware.

Stand back, and again, view the artwork from several vantage points to make sure it is hanging perfectly, exactly where it should. As an added measure, place a level on top of the artwork frame and ensure that it is hanging perfectly level.

Step 3 - Pick You Esthetics

Carefully review what is already in the room before hanging a new piece or series of new artwork. This review is necessary to ensure that everything is esthetically pleasing. If it is necessary to re-hang other pieces of artwork to accommodate the new artwork, follow the same procedure of having an assistant place the piece, look at it from several angles and re-hang it as necessary.