How to Hang a Picture Perfectly

Whether you’re hanging a collection of art or one statement piece, this guide will teach you how to hang a picture right – the first time. Wondering how to hang a painting or how to hang wall art? Many of the methods we outline in this guide are helpful for hanging any kind of wall art.

How to Hang a Picture

gallery wall made up of different sizes of framed photographs

Best Placement Tips

When considering how to hang a picture, the first step is to determine where you want your wall art to live. We’ve narrowed down some popular options:

At Eye Level

diagram depicting heights to hang wall art

We recommend hanging a picture at eye level. The average person’s line of sight is 60″ above the ground. This is where you want the center of your picture to sit.

Above a Sofa

diagram depicting wall art hung over a sofa

Leave at least 6″ – 8″ inches of space between the top of the sofa and the bottom of the picture. To keep the art proportionate to the sofa, its width should span no more than two-thirds of your sofa’s total length.

Above a Fireplace

diagram depicting wall art hung over a fireplace mantel

Wall art looks best when it is wider than the fireplace opening but doesn’t extend past the mantel.

In a Gallery

diagram depicting uniform and creative forms of gallery wall art

Making a gallery with more than one picture? You can opt for a uniform look with pictures of the same size placed equidistant from each other. You can also try a more creative approach by placing pictures of different sizes together. For the latter, envision the placement of all the smaller prints as one large picture. This will help your eye see any inconsistencies or gaps. Start with the largest print and arrange the smaller prints around it. With both options, allow at least 2″ of space between each piece of art and aim to have your gallery’s center roughly 60″ from the ground. Having trouble creating cohesiveness? Try uniform frames, monochromatic prints, or a gallery of solely architectural elements!

Tip!

Cut pieces of cardboard or paper to reflect the sizes of each picture in your gallery. Use these to plan out your gallery wall by hanging them with painter’s tape. Play around with them until you’ve mapped out your gallery!

Hanging Method

Once you’ve determined where you think you’d like to hang your wall art, you need to figure out the best hanging method. The first picture hanging method that might come to mind is the traditional hammer and nail method, but that might not always be the best choice for your walls. There are several ways to hang pictures without nails. The size of your wall art as well as the material of your wall will determine what hanging methods will be most effective while doing the least amount of damage to your wall. Below, we outline several different hanging methods for different wall art sizes and wall materials so you can learn exactly how to hang pictures on a wall.

Tip!

For ease when hanging pictures on your wall, shop for frames made for hanging.

Hanging Pictures on Drywall

Hanging anything on drywall without a stud behind it – even the lightest of picture frames – could be a recipe for disaster without the right picture hanging hardware. In order to hang pictures or wall art on drywall without it caving under the weight, you’ll need to know how to use drywall anchors: small, hollow plastic pieces that can be ribbed or threaded like screws. Drywall anchors grip drywall better than standard screws and can hold burdens of 10–50 lbs. If you are wondering how to hang a heavy picture or heavy wall art, drywall anchors are the answer. The two most common types of drywall anchors for wall art are expansion anchors and threaded anchors – read on to learn how to install drywall anchors.

Step 1: Using a power drill, drill a hole about the same diameter as the tip of the drywall anchor into the wall where you’d like to place the anchor.
Step 2: Install the drywall anchor until it is exactly flush with the wall. If you have expansion anchors, you’ll need to use a hammer to lightly tap it into the wall. To install a threaded anchor, use your power drill to screw it into the wall just like a regular screw.
Step 3: Use your power drill to install a screw in the opening of the drywall anchor until it feels snug in the anchor.

Hanging Pictures on Plaster

Hard and brittle plaster walls can pose a problem for standard wall art hanging methods, especially the old-fashioned hammer and nail. Fortunately, the solution to how to hang pictures on plaster walls without damaging them is simple. Just drill a hole for the nail with an electric drill first. Be sure to drill the hole at an above angle so that the nail will act like a hook once it’s hammered into the stud behind the wall. No stud? Follow the steps in the above instructions for how to use wall anchors and how to screw into drywall without a stud.

Hanging Pictures on Brick Walls

Hanging wall art on brick poses a unique challenge that, just like hanging pictures on drywall, requires its own unique set of picture hanging hardware to prevent damage. Knowing exactly how to hang pictures on brick in your home will depend on the hardness and intactness of your brick.

Before you consider drilling, think about installing brick clips that hold tight to the edges of brick that protrude from the wall. Brick clips are best if your wall’s bricks are mostly intact; if the edges of your bricks are chipped or brittle, brick clips will have nothing to grip.

Otherwise, consider using hard wall hangers, small hooked hangers that install with a set of very tiny nails. Because these hangers’ nails are so small, they are unlikely to damage your brick when they are hammered into it unless your brick is unusually hard.

If you’re eager for a more heavy-duty picture hanging solution, drilling into your brick is an option, albeit a risky one. You’ll need a heavy-duty hammer drill and a masonry drill bit. If possible, we recommend drilling into the mortar between the bricks before you try drilling into the bricks themselves. Damage to mortar can be much more easily repaired than damage to brick. This is especially important if you like to move your wall art around frequently. If you’re wondering how to drill into brick, the process is fairly simple. The steps are below.

Step 1: Using your hammer drill equipped with a masonry drill bit, drill very slowly into your chosen point on the mortar or brick until you have a sizable hole just big enough to fit a plastic masonry anchor.
Step 2: Lightly push (or hammer, if you encounter some resistance) the plastic brick anchor into the hole until it’s flush with the wall.
Step 3: Using a regular screwdriver bit, install a screw into the plastic anchor until it’s snugly in place.

Hanging Canvas Art

There are several different methods for hanging canvas art. The most important tool you’ll need no matter the hanging method is a level – after all your hanging work, you don’t want your canvas art to end up crooked.

The least damaging method for how to hang canvas art is to use adhesive strips. Smaller canvases are lightweight and would be easy to hang using velcro or adhesive strips.

Otherwise, you can hang canvas art on nails hammered into the wall. You can also install sawtooth brackets or eye hooks with wire into the back of the canvas. These added pieces would allow you to hang your canvas art more snugly on standard wall hooks rather than nails.

Again, no matter the method, be sure to use a level to ensure that your canvas will be level at every step of the way, from marking the wall to screwing in the hooks.

Time to Hang!

gallery wall made up of uniform wall art

Step 1: Use painter’s tape to determine the placement of your picture. If hanging more than one picture, be sure to use the tape to highlight the spot where each picture will hang – it’ll help you spot any discrepancies.
Step 2: Use a pencil to mark where the screw, nail, or hook will sit on the wall. To account for the height difference between where the hanger sits and the top of your picture, measure the length from the hanger to the top of the frame. If you’re hanging a canvas or a frame without hardware, measure from the top edge of the picture to the lip of the frame (where the screw or nail will rest).
Step 3: Attach your hanging method to the wall. For hanging strips, attach them to the picture frame before the wall. If using more than one strip, make sure they are all facing the same direction for easy removal.
Step 4: Hang your picture! Finish up by checking the placement with a level and nudging a side up or down as needed. What looks right up close may look slanted from afar!