DIY: How to Hang Photos and Artwork Like a Pro

Personal touches turn a house into a home. Hanging pictures, whether they’re personal photographs or artwork, can really change the character of a room.

Unfortunately, confusion and frustration oftentimes set in when trying to figure out the proper ways to display pictures on a wall. Design maven Martha Stewart advises that the first step is to gather all of the pictures that are in consideration for hanging. This will enable you to see what is available and edit their selection based on the space available, theme or color scheme. Having the artwork there allows you to move it around like a puzzle until the placement feels just right.

Next, plan on hanging artwork at 57 inches on center, according to the renovation experts at Apartment Therapy. “On center” means the middle of the photograph or painting will always be at 57″, as this measurement represents the average human eye height. This height is regularly used as a standard in many galleries and museums.

When the goal is to hang multiple pictures, treat the entire grouping as a single unit. This means creating the layout and finding the center of the middle piece of the grouping. To make picture grouping easier, use paper templates with arrows to indicate whether the artwork will be hung horizontally or vertically. These templates can then be easily taped to the wall and rearranged until the grouping is ideal. The rule of thumb when hanging groups of pictures is that the largest frame is most visually appealing in the center or center bottom.

There are no hard and fast rules concerning frames, meaning they do not all have to match. But placing framed artwork side by side can give you a feel for whether the images and the frames work together in the space. Some people like to use frames of similar colors and sizes. Others want the eclectic mix-and-match appeal. It’s ultimately up to you.

Have a little fun and remember it’s your home so let it be a reflection of your personality and interests. If you’re doing a grouping, try adding in a clock, mirror or other personal artifact.

Measuring is key to hanging a picture correctly on the wall. Take into consideration the type of attachment, whether it’s D-rings, sawtooth hangers, wire, or other fasteners on the back. Measure from the top of the frame to the hanger. Measure the wall to achieve the 57″ on center location, and then calculate where this falls within the height of the artwork and frame top. Adjust accordingly and mark. Then measure the distance from the frame top to the hanger location on the wall.

Be sure to take the weight of the picture into consideration when selecting hanging hardware. Wall anchors may be needed if measurements determine a wall stud will not help secure the artwork – to keep the frame sturdy in the drywall. We also suggest using self-adhesive rubber bumpers to the bottom corners on the back of the frame before hanging so that the picture will not damage the wall and will help it hang level.

It can take a few attempts to hang pictures correctly, but with practice it should come with greater ease. The good news is there are new products constantly being evolved to make picture hanging easier, including those that enable removal and relocation of artwork without damaging walls.