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The best way to hang pictures

Hanging a picture, print or a framed photo is such a good way of adding an individual finishing touch to a room. It makes a real statement, and helps a house feel like a home. Hanging a picture on a wall is a simple enough task, but there are a few guidelines you should follow in order to get the maximum impact from your new artwork.

    What is the proper height to hang a picture?

    Where you choose to put your picture is entirely a matter of personal preference, but the positioning will be influenced by the amount and type of furniture in the room, and the lighting in the room.

    The middle of your picture should roughly be at eye level, which averages at 57-60 inches high. If you’re hanging a single piece on a wall, then the middle of the wall (from side to side) is the best place to put it. But you may need to adjust the positioning if you’re hanging the picture above furniture.

    Step 1

    Once you’ve decided where you want to hang your picture, use a detector to find out if there are any pipes and cables behind the wall. Then holding the frame in place, use a pencil to lightly mark on the wall where the top centre of the picture is.


    Step 2

    Pull the hanging cord or picture wire taut, then measure the drop from the top of the frame to the cord or wire.


    Step 3

    Going back to the centre mark on the wall, use the drop measurement to work out where the fixing position will be, and mark that on the wall.

    Now you’ve measured and marked where you’d like your picture to be, see the separate sections below for how to hang pictures on different types of wall, and the different fixings needed.


    How do I hang multiple pictures?

    Having a gallery wall is an excellent way to put some creativity into your display, but positioning multiple pictures can be tricky. A good rule of thumb is to place the first picture at eye level and work from there, keeping the prints evenly spaced from each other. It helps to map out your gallery wall in advance, using pieces of paper as templates for each picture. This is particularly useful if you’re hanging frames of different sizes at different heights.

    How do I hang a picture on plasterboard?

    The type of fixings you use to hang a picture will depend on its size and weight, and the type of wall you have. If you have a lightweight picture then a simple two-pin picture hook will suffice, providing the plaster is in good condition.

    If you want to hang a heavier picture, you will need a stud detector to locate the studs (vertical wooden beams) and noggins (horizontal wooden beams) behind the plasterboard. Driving the fixings into the stud provides much more security for a heavy painting or print. It’s possible to hang a heavier picture into plasterboard that’s in good condition if you use the right fixing, such as a hollow wall anchor or a self-drill screw.

    Step 1

    To hang a lightweight picture on a two-pin hook simply place the bottom of the hook on the fixing point or points, and hammer in the nails.


    Step 2

    To hang a frame on a stud wall using screws, once you have located the studs and marked your fixing spots, use a carpenter’s awl to create a pilot hole. By doing this you’re also checking and confirming that there is indeed a stud or noggin behind your mark.


    Step 3

    Then drive a screw through the plasterboard and into the stud. Leave the head sticking out enough for the picture cord to hang from.


    Step 4

    If your fixing points are between studs you will need a hollow wall anchor or a self-drill fixing. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see how much weight these fixings can hold. For a self-drill fixing make a pilot hole using a carpenter’s awl then screw the fixing plug directly into the plasterboard. Be careful not to over-tighten the plug.


    Step 5

    Insert a screw into the plug and tighten, remembering to leave the head sticking out enough for the picture wire to hang from.


    Step 6

    If you’re 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.


    How do I hang a picture on a brick wall?

    If you wanted to hang a picture without nails it’s sometimes more convenient, and less messy, to hang a picture using strong adhesive strips. These work particularly well on bare brick walls. Adhesive strips are ideal for lighter frames and pictures such as canvas prints. They can usually bear weights of up to 6.5kg, but check the manufacturer’s instructions first.

    Step 1

    Apply the strips to the rear of the frame only, not the picture itself. Gently wipe with a damp cloth first so the surface is clean.

    To hang a heavier picture on a brick wall you will need to use screws. Mark the length of your wall plug on your drill bit using masking tape.


    Step 2

    Drill a hole at the fixing point and push the wall plug in, making sure that it’s flush with the wall surface. You might need to lightly tap it with a hammer to ensure this. Then insert and tighten the screw, once again leaving the head sticking out enough for the picture cord to hang from.