Get It Done: How to Hang Art Like a Pro


In our new series, Get It Done, we look at all those little projects around the house you've been avoiding for so long and guess what, now that you're in lockdown, you have zero excuses for putting it off. To kick off, we give you a step-by-step guide to hanging art and photography at home and no, it's not as easy as you think it is. Let's get it done!

Hanging photographs and artwork can seem to be a daunting task, with lots of structural elements to take into consideration, along with deciding hanging locations, layouts and getting your darn measurements right, but let us make it easy for you with our At Home Guide on hanging like a pro.  

You are going to need a few things before you get started:  

  1. Hammer 
  2. Measuring tape  
  3. Pencil  
  4. Nails (large nails for heavier works/frames, small nails for lighter works/frames) 
  5. Stud finder for hanging heavier pieces 
  6. Adhesive hooks for lighter pieces if you would prefer not to add nails into your wall, or are hanging an item in a tiled room  

Next you will need to come up with your strategy. Where would you like your artwork hung? Will it be a gallery wall? What surfaces are you working with? How heavy are the frames and/or artwork?  

Family hanging art

Image: HiveBoxx

We have found some great resources to help you decide where to hang your pieces and, if your heart is set on a gallery wall, different layouts you could use for inspiration.  

Once you have your supplies, your strategy mapped out, it’s time to start hanging! 

One thing you will need to be cautious of is your measurements. Measuring correctly is very important, so it may be beneficial to implement Santa’s method and check it twice…  

If you are wanting your pieces to be hung at eye level, many museums use 57inches off the ground (roughly 145cm) as a guide. That means, having the centre point of the piece you are hanging situated 57inches from the ground, which is the average human eye level. Mark this height with a pencil, or the height at which you want the centre of your artwork to be positioned in relation to the floor as you may want pieces higher or lower than eye level. 

Woman hanging art

Next, you will need to measure the length of the wall or space you are hanging pieces on to find the middle of the wall. Mark this location with your pencil. Where these marking intersect is where the middle of your hanging should go!

Now before you start nailing, you will need to check where your piece will catch the nail, as many picture frames and artwork come with a wire, string or saw tooth hanger that you use to hang the piece on the nail or hook. You will need to measure the difference between the middle of your piece and where the hanger will catch the nail to ensure that the middle of your artwork is going to sit on your marking and not hang higher or lower. One you have that measurement, measure the difference from the original mid-point you marked with pencil and mark the new point on the wall. THAT is where you will want to add your nail or adhesive hook.  

Measuring wall

Before you do hammer in your nail, you will want to check the heaviness of your frame or piece of art. If it is heavy, you will need to pull out your stud finder and ensure that there is a stud on the wall that you can nail in to. If there is no stud in the spot you are wanting to hang your piece, you may want to implement the anchor-and-screw method of hanging which you can find here. You will need some additional supplies to do this.   

If you are wanting to create a gallery wall, the process works a little differently also. If you’re thinking of braving the task of hanging a magnificent gallery wall, this article by Framebridge is very helpful.   

Photograph gallery wall

Now, if all of that still sounds daunting, or you have art but are not sold on it being hung traditionally on a wall, there are other options you could explore. 

  • Go frameless: If you have paper artwork or photographs you don’t think need framing, you can simple tack these up on your wall instead. This still allows you to display your imagery and artwork, however, without the hassle of framing and hanging. 
  • Lean it: Place artwork on shelves, walls, decorative chairs, you name it. This has a more casual feel to it but can still be strategically placed. 
  • Install a picture rail: This is a moulding that is installed near your ceiling that you can hang art on with hooks and strings.  
Art styling