Skip to main content

How to Hang Art

It’s time to tackle that stack of canvases you’ve got balanced against the bedroom wall–let’s hang some art! We’re sharing our no-fail trick for getting every piece hung perfectly, every time, as well as a few common mistakes we all make when we’re hanging art.

Here we describe the Art Gallery Method. This is the calculation many professional art gallerists and installers use to get the perfect eye-level height, every time.

First up – Consider the Space

Before you make a single mark or hammer even one nail, take time to plan and map out where you want your artwork to go. A few considerations…

Sunlight

Think about where the sun hits your walls throughout the day. If you’re hanging a piece without protective glass, you’ll want to avoid those spots that get direct sunlight. Opt for less precious pieces there or invest in professional framing with fade-resistant glass. 

Heat

Similarly, think about radiators, AC units, ovens, humidity, and fireplaces when you’re placing art. 

Function

Will someone’s head hit the work if they sit in the bed/chair/couch below the artwork? Do you have young children who might pull the piece down? Think about how you use your space and how the art may interact with you and your family. 

Breathing Room

Give each work plenty of space to shine. If you’ve got a number of oversized canvases, start by finding homes for them with plenty of wall space to surround them. 

Mix It Up

Go for a restrained medley of framed and unframed works, paper and canvas, big and small.


Professional Tips + Tricks

Hanging with Picture Rails

We mentioned this gallery-style option in our Mouldings article, but it bears repeating here–if you’re worried about putting too many holes in the wall, you’re a chronic redecorator, or you’re just super indecisive, installing picture rails along the top of your walls allows you to hang art from wire on the rails. It’s best for long, large swaths of wall that can handle multiple smaller works or a couple larger pieces.

Above Furniture

The art gallery method doesn’t always make sense, and hanging a piece of art above furniture is one of those times. We suggest 4-6 inches from the top of the piece of furniture. 

Gallery Wall

Treat the entire grouping as a single work of art. Try to keep an odd number of artworks at that focal point line and space the rest out about 3-6 inches from each other.


Hanging with the Art Gallery Method

Supplies

Picture Hanging Hooks
Drywall Hooks
Nails
Level
Hammer
Pencil
Measuring Tape
Stud Finder

Instructions

Step 1

Measure the total height of the artwork, and divide it in half. If the artwork (including the frame) is 24 inches high, your new measurement is 12 inches.

Step 2

Subtract the distance from the top of the artwork from the hanging apparatus. If the hanging apparatus is picture wire, pull it taut before measuring (as it would be once hanging from a nail or hook). Let’s say that distance is 2 inches. So, 12-2=10.

Step 3

 Measure 57 inches up the wall from the floor. Make a mark.

Step 4

From that 57 inch mark, measure up the distance you got in step 3, so, for us, it’s 10 inches (67 inches up from the ground). This is where your nail or hook will go.

Step 5

 Install your nail or hook at that second line. This will ensure the focal point or center of the artwork will be at eye level!

DIY + Inspiration

Top 6 Places to Feature Handmade Tile with Fireclay Tile
Installing a Reverse Osmosis Tank with Carly
Grout 101
Stay Up To Date With Us
Positive vibes. No mansplaining. Ever. Follow along to learn about the newest Pros on the MBuild roster, our favorite DIY + renovation tips, and stories about badass women in the trades. Let’s build the matriarchy one project at a time.