Things to think about

Do not drill directly above or below light switches or plug sockets as cables conventionally run vertically up from light switches and down from sockets.

A cable, pipe and stud detector is an essential tool to help locate timber studs and identify the locations of electricity cables and water pipes below the wall surface.

Consider what type of wall you are working with – for example, a solid wall or a hollow stud wall – and use appropriate fixings for the weight of the picture or mirror.

Lightweight pictures and mirrors can be hung from a pin picture hook hammered into the wall, but check first that the plaster is sound. You want the pin hook to go cleanly into the plaster and not cause it to flake away.

Masonry walls will accept some picture hooks and masonry nails. However, for heavier pictures, a screw fixing is required with the appropriate size wall plug, to ensure that the weight of the picture can be supported. A power drill or drill/driver will be required to make the necessary pilot holes.

With stud (hollow) walls, plasterboard is attached to vertical timbers called studs and horizontal timbers called noggings. Locate a timber to screw into and you have a solid fixing for the nail or screw. To hang heavy pictures on a stud wall you must find fixing positions directly into the studs.

Mirror adhesive or selfadhesive mirror pads can be used to stick lightweight mirrors to a wall surface. Do not attempt this with anything but the lightest of mirrors.

Using two people to hang a picture is best, as one can hold it in place while the other can stand back and make judgements on height and position.

Picture wire is better than string for hanging pictures, as the wire will not stretch or wear through.

Lighting is important to show off pictures to their full potential. Consider having picture lights fitted, above a picture, or directional spotlights that may be tilted and positioned as required to highlight a special picture.

An impression of space can be created by hanging large mirrors in small rooms. They can also help to bring more light into a dark room, by reflecting the natural light.

Hang a picture or mirror


Hold the picture/mirror against the wall. With a spirit level, check that it is level.


Mark on the wall the top corners of the frame. Ask someone to hold the picture.


Put the picture aside and measure a point halfway between these marks.


On the reverse of the picture, pull the cord/wire taut in the centre and measure the distance from cord apex to the top of the frame.


Transfer this measurement to the wall by measuring down from the central mark. This is where you will position the hook.


For lightweight pictures or mirrors, nail a picture hook in place. Ensure that the hook rather than the nail position corresponds to the mark on the wall.


For heavier pictures on a masonry wall, drill a hole with a masonry bit. A size 7 wall plug is ideal, so drill hole to the appropriate size.


Push the wall plug into the hole so that it is flush with the wall. You may need to tap it gently with a hammer if it is a particularly tight fit.


Screw the fixing in place; in this instance a 50mm screw is used. Ensure that the head is left protruding a few millimetres from the wall surface.


For a hollow wall, insert a carpenter's awl into the plaster to see if the fixing positions are over a timber stud or the hollow part of the wall


If the marks are over a timber stud position, insert the screw directly into the wall, and the stud. This will give a secure point to hang the picture on.


If the marks are over the hollow part of the wall, insert a spiral fixing plug by screwing it through the mark, directly into the plasterboard surface.


Insert a screw into the spiral fixing plug. These are usually supplied with the plug, to ensure a tight fit. Allow the head to protrude slightly.


To hang heavier pictures on a hollow wall, alternative wall plugs are available, such as a hollow wall anchor (shown here) or a spring toggle.


When you have inserted the fixing appropriate to the wall, the picture may then be hung. Check that it is level and adjust if necessary.

Hang a mirror with mirror screws


Position and level mirror. Mark through holes with pencil. Be precise.


Put mirror aside, drill pilot holes through marks and insert wall plugs.


Insert rubber washers into mirror holes and screw in place.


Finally, screw the domed caps in place for a neat finish.

Hang a mirror with brackets


Draw two level lines and mark fixing positions for top and bottom edge.


Fix non-adjustable brackets on bottom line and adjustable on top.


Rest the mirror carefully onto the brackets along the bottom edge.


Clamp mirror securely at top by sliding down adjustable brackets.