Picture Hanging Tips

person's hands held up like a frame around another person hanging  picture
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
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What You'll Need
Stud finder
What You'll Need
Stud finder

Whether you're hanging a new art print or a family picture, there's nothing quite like the dread that comes with having to hang something on the wall. Will it be straight? Will it be centered? Will it look okay next to your other decor?

Before you go drive nail holes into your walls, check out a few picture frame hanging tips and tricks

Tape if Off

tape marking out a place to hang a picture

Grab a roll of painter's tape before you begin hanging your frame. Rip a piece of tape that is roughly as long as the area you want the picture to be centered in. If you're working with a small area, place the tape from edge to edge with the top of the tape sitting at the height you want your nails to go. If you're trying to center a frame above a bed or couch, only rip a strip of tape the width of the bed or couch.

Once your tape is on the wall, check it with a level. Once you're sure it's level, mark where you want your nails to go. If possible, and when hanging a big picture, use a few nails and find a stud.

hand holding framed picture up next to piece of tape on a wall

Once your nails are in the wall, rip off the tape and hang your new picture.

Map it Out

If you're creating a gallery wall, grab all of your frames and some butcher paper to start. Cut butcher paper squares the size of your frames and then use those squares and rectangles to map out your gallery wall on the wall. Tape them on your wall with painter's tape and space them exactly how you want the real frames to space.

pictures hanging in a row on a wall

Once the wall looks good, use a level to make sure the paper frames are perfectly straight and spaced well. Then, mark a spot for nails and get hammering. Once the nails are in the wall, recycle the paper and hang the real deal.

Do the Math

Whether you loved it in school or not, you probably need a little math to help you hang a frame well. Use simple formulas to find the center of a wall, determine how far apart to place a frame in a series of pictures, and to make sure things are hung at the right height. We come from a long line of contractors and builders, and this is how we've seen pictures hung our whole lives.

Grab a pencil and a tape measure and mark all of your measured spots on a wall. Mark a spot for a nail and hammer it in. It's old school, and it works. In the words of my grandpa though, measure twice, nail once.

happy couple putting up a picture

Maybe not the most loved method, but effective, using math is a great way to make sure your frame looks great on the wall.

The math is also important when it comes to floating frames. You want to make sure your image is perfectly centered in your floating frame, well before that frame goes up on the wall. Especially if you have several floating frames in a row, one off picture could throw off the entire look. Grab a calculator and figure out how much space needs to be on any given side of your image in the floating frame so that it's perfectly centered.

Other Tips

hand drawn picture leaning against a wall between two potted plants

Look at the other decor in a room before you hang or otherwise mount a picture. If you've got a busy room full of books and basket walls and big, bold colors you may only want to hang one picture in that room. On the flip side, if you've got a basic room that needs a little interest on the walls, adding a few frames to a feature wall might be a design save. Ultimately, you need to pay attention to the entire room, not just the wall you want to hang the picture on.

If you are hanging a picture on a wall, not above a large furniture item, you'll want the center of that picture to hang at about fifty-seven inches. This height is a design secret that makes your pictures feel professionally hung.

art and decor in a cozy, clean room

And if that perfectly hung picture gets a little tilty, you didn't hear this from us, but most times a little Ticky Tack will do. Add a little bit of this picture sticking wonder to a bottom, back corner of your frame, and adjust it until it's level.

And when in doubt, go modern and lean your picture against the wall. Not all frames need to be hung, and a good photo lean every now and then can elevate your decor and bring a modern vibe into your space.