How to hang a picture is not necessarily as simple as you might think. There's definitely an art to hanging your... Art.
First, you need to choose where you want to hang your picture, taking into account the position of furniture and the lighting in the room.
There's no rule about the 'correct' height for hanging a picture, and it can be visually interesting to place prints at differing levels. But, typically, your eye line should be about one-third of the way down the picture.
However, this may vary depending on the shape and size of the picture. You may also need to adjust its positioning if you want to hang the picture above furniture.
See Also:Stylish Gallery Wall Ideas (opens in new tab)
'Take some time to consider what feels right for you and your room,' says Chris Moorhouse, Category Director at Wickes for Décor, Building and Gardens.
'Be sure to check the type of wall you have and consider the weight of the picture, as this will influence the fixing process that you should use.
'A simple two-pin picture hook will hold a lightweight picture, providing the plaster is in good condition.
'To hang a heavier picture on a masonry wall, you’ll need to drill a hole, then use a wall plug and a screw.
'To hang a heavier picture on a stud wall, you’ll need to use a stud detector to locate the vertical studs behind the plasterboard. Hopefully, there is a stud where you want the fixing to go, in which case you can drive a screw through the plasterboard into the stud. Otherwise, if the fixing position is between studs, you’ll need a hollow wall anchor or a spiral fixing plug.'
How to hang a picture – best techniques
When deciding where to hang a picture, ask a friend to hold it against the wall whilst you stand back and choose the best position. See Chris' top practical tips on how to hang a picture below:
Safety first! Always use a pipe and cable detector to avoid hidden pipes and electric cables. Never drill directly above or below light switches and power sockets. And wear safety goggles when drilling, says Chris.
How to hang a picture with wire
- Holding the picture in place, use a pencil to create a light mark in the centre of the top of the picture.
- Pull the hanging cord or wire taut, then measure the ‘drop’ from the top of the picture to the cord or wire.
- Using the ‘drop’, measure down from the original centre position to determine the fixing position. Marking the final fixing point a few millimetres above this will ensure the top of the picture hides your original pencil mark. Alternatively, you can rub out the mark.
- If hanging a lightweight picture on a two-pin hook, place the bottom of the hook on the fixing point then gently hammer in the nails.
- To hang a heavier picture on a masonry wall, you’ll need to insert a wall plug and screw. Mark the length of the wall plug on your masonry drill bit using masking tape. Drill a hole at the fixing point, to the marked depth. Insert the wall plug, ensuring it does not stick out from the wall.
- Finally, insert and tighten a screw, leaving its head sticking out enough for the picture cord or wire to hang on.
See Also:Inside Tommy Hilfiger's vibrant, Pop Art filled Miami mansion – decorated by Martyn Lawrence Bullard (opens in new tab)
How to hang a picture on a stud wall
- If hanging a picture on a stud wall, particularly if the picture is heavy, you should consider adjusting the fixing position, to the left or right, so it is directly into a stud.
- You can locate the vertical studs behind the plasterboard by using a stud detector. Once you’ve checked, drive a screw through the plasterboard and into the stud. Leave its head sticking out enough for the picture cord or wire to hang on.
- If the fixing point is between studs, you’ll need a hollow wall anchor or a self drill fixing. If using a self drill fixing, make a pilot hole using the awl then screw the spiral fixing plug directly into the plasterboard wall, being careful not to over-tighten.
- Insert a screw into the plug and tighten, leaving its head sticking out enough for the picture cord or wire to hang on.
- Alternatively, if using a hollow wall anchor, drill a hole through the plasterboard just big enough to push the body of the fixing through. Tighten the screw to lock the fixing in place behind the plasterboard.
- If your picture does not already have a cord, it’s best to use picture wire, as this will not stretch or fray.
- Finally, place the picture cord or wire over the hook or screw. Hold a spirit level on top of the picture to check that it is level. Et voila.
See Also:A Renowned Artist Transformed This Historic Chapel Into A Fearlessly Colourful Workshop and Home (opens in new tab)
How to hang a picture – styling
Little tricks to make that wall art look even cooler.
1. GO LOW
'There's something really unexpected about hanging your art low on the wall and it can make the ceiling above feel much higher,' says Joanna Spindler of Graham & Green (opens in new tab). 'This is particularly effective in living rooms where you spend most of your time curled up on the sofa and so your eye line is naturally lower.'
2. CREATE A GALLERY WALL
'In our opinion, there is no better way to let your creativity run wild than creating your own gallery wall,' says Jane Rockett, co-founder of Rockett St George (opens in new tab). 'Although art can be expensive, creating your own picture wall need not break the bank; you just have to think outside the box a little. You can frame pretty much anything – images from books, old letters, postcards, album covers, puzzles, photographs of family and friends, a favourite necklace, children’s drawings, and so on.'
Jane continued: 'One of our most important tips is to include items of different shapes and sizes as this variety is essential. Also, you will need a few larger pictures to ‘anchor’ the arrangement, so don’t be afraid to go big!'
See Also:Stylish Gallery Wall Ideas (opens in new tab)
3. THE RIGHT FRAME OF MIND
Don't just stick to the same frame. 'Opt for a variety of different frames rather than sticking rigidly to one colour or finish,' says Jane Rockett. 'This looks more interesting and gives you the freedom to add different frames as your collection grows.'
4. COHESIVE FUN
While many people like to shake things up with different-sized pictures for a visually interesting look, you can still go uniform and have fun with it. This gallery wall takes a completely opposite approach; multi-coloured prints inject life and personality, while a structured grid formation creates a cohesive and organised look.
See Also:Home Decor Colour Trends – The Hottest Colour Trends For 2021 (opens in new tab)
5. PERFECT PAIRING
Create a perfect pair if you don't want to go the whole hog with a gallery wall. Make a statement with this trend by choosing two art prints you love and pairing them together. Your perfect pair will look great above a sideboard or in a hallway, creating a focal point in the room. Try choosing prints that are tone-on-tone or alternatively, contrast colours.
6. DIFFER THE HEIGHT
You don't need a whole gallery wall to create visual interest. Try hanging a set of two pictures at different heights for a relaxed, inspiring look.
7. A TOUCH OF LUXE
A dark or bold room looks great with gold details, adding a luxurious touch to the space. Choose gold frames to match your art prints and incorporate gold with other home accessories, too.
8. MAKE A STANDALONE STATEMENT
Don't be afraid to go large with one stylish, statement piece, whether it's right in the middle of the wall, above a piece of furniture, or completely filling the space above the fireplace.
Oversized kitsch pieces and still life pictures work fantastically well in a kitchen for a unique and bold finish.
9. MIX MOUNTS WITH PICTURES
Don't feel limited to framed photography or paintings, because there are a host of beautiful and eclectic wall decorations (like these Gold Beetles from Graham & Green). If you're worried about your wall crumbling under the weight of a framed print, wall hangings can be a lighter option.'
Ruth Doherty is a lifestyle journalist based in London. An experienced freelance digital writer and editor, she is known for covering everything from travel and interiors to fashion and beauty. She regularly contributes to Livingetc, Ideal Home and Homes & Gardens, as well as titles like Prima and Red. Outside of work, her biggest loves are endless cups of tea, almond croissants, shopping for clothes she doesn’t need, and booking holidays she does.
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