Tips for Hanging Pictures

From the National Art & Framing Council

1. Not too high! This is the most common mistake made when hanging pictures. Think in terms of eye level, so that the eye of the average viewer falls about one-third of the way down from the top of the picture. This should be about 55” to 58” from the floor.

2. Hanging a picture next to a lamp or low table where the viewer will be seated? It’s eye level again, except the level of the eye now will be much lower. The picture should look connected to the grouping.

3. Be sure to use hangers that are strong enough to hold the weight of the picture. Two hangers are better than one. The weight will be distributed and the picture will be less likely to shift.

4. Is the wall strong enough? Most framed pieces weight less than ten pounds. While the hangers provided by a custom frame shop will well exceed that weight, the wall may not be able to support the hanger. You may need special hangers which will not pull out or droop down. Wall board, metal walls, brick walls and old plaster walls may present a problem, but there are hangers for all types of walls; be sure to use the right one.

5. When hanging a pair or trio of pictures, group them together so they relate to one another instead of appearing to float in a large space on the wall. Keep the distance between pictures small—just a few inches apart.

6. When hanging a picture wall, create alignments, so the viewer’s eye has lines to follow. These visual lines may be horizontal or vertical. Any two frames should have a common line, horizontally or vertically. Keep the spaces between pictures nearly equal—two to four inches apart.

7. All types of art can be hung together. Drawings, paintings, collages; traditional subjects or modern; picture walls can be the gathering place for an interesting collection of art and photographs.

8. Here are two ways to “audition” a picture wall: a) arrange and rearrange the pictures on a floor until satisfied with the layout before hanging on the wall. b) make templates by tracing around each frame on a piece of newspaper, cut out and hang the newspaper samples (taped to the wall with small pieces of removable tape) until satisfied with the arrangement.

9. Measure and mark (with a pencil) the location of the nails on the wall. Remember to pull picture wire taut when measuring the distance between the top of the frame and the wire.

10. Avoid hanging valuable art in direct sunlight: excess light can damage many types of artwork. Use ultraviolet filtering framing glass to significantly reduce harm from light exposure.