Hanging a frame may be one of the simpler home decorating projects, but that doesn’t make it any less important to get right. An expertly hung frame can seamlessly contribute to the beauty and aesthetic of a home, whereas an improperly hung one can look sloppy at best and damage your wall at worst. Here’s how to hang a frame the right way.
Selecting your hardware
Choosing the right hardware to hang your frame on is important. Insufficient gear could damage your wall or fail under the weight of your frame, whereas going overboard could require unnecessary effort and expense. Basic picture hangers are suitable for most loads up to 50 pounds, whereas plastic anchors can hold even more, and molly or toggle bolts can often support over 100 pounds. Bare nails or screws are generally only suitable for light frames or when driven directly into studs.
For very light objects such as canvas prints, adhesive hanging strips may be all that is needed. Plaster and masonry walls often require pilot holes to be drilled first before carefully nailing or screwing in hardware. Check packaging for specifics on maximum load weights, compatible wall material types and required tools.
Choosing a location
Though more art than science, where to hang your frame also requires careful consideration. One rule of thumb is to hang the center of the frame (or group of frames) at eye level or about 60-65 inches from the floor for proper viewing. For horizontal positioning, it’s often good to center frames or groupings on a wall or align them to areas of a room (such as seating areas) or lighting (such as spotlights). If you’re nailing into a stud, you’ll be limited to the location of the studs as determined by a stud finder. The size of the space should also allow the frame to be comfortably viewed in full, so large-format pieces for narrow hallways are a no-no. Hanging a piece of paper the shape of your frame can allow you to evaluate the position over a day or two.
Hanging the frame
With the previous considerations squared away, you’re ready to hang your frame. With a second person to assist (optional but easier), follow these steps:
- Hold the frame against the wall in its desired location and mark the top center of the frame on the wall using a pencil or painter’s tape.
- On the back of the frame, measure the distance from the top of the frame to the mounting hook or the center of the stretched wire when under the load of the frame.
- Measure that distance down from your mark on the wall and mark the new location.
- Install your selected hanging hardware centered on your new mark.
- Consider adding bumper pads to the back of your frame to better keep it in place and prevent dust from collecting against the wall once hung.
- Hang the picture and straighten it with a level if necessary.