How to hang pictures (or art) without messing up your walls

While watching design TV shows, have you ever noticed that they rarely show you how to hang things up? All you see are people hanging art up, the hooks are already in place. Why is that? Well, it’s simple, it’s because hanging stuff is HARD. It means putting holes in walls and we all know how scary that can be. It’s scary because you don’t want to miss your shot and end up with a bunch of mistake holes that you’ll have to cover up. Arghhhhh…If you want to hang things right on the first try, you need the right tools. I’m talking about tools specifically designed to hang any type of wall décor. In this post, I’ll show you how I hung every single frame displayed in my gallery using the best tools for the job. Let’s get to work! 

Here’s what I started with: a sectional sofa, a large blank wall and the artwork I chose to hang in my gallery. 

Some people like to make paper cut outs of each item they want to hang – but I don’t. It doesn’t work for me because I need to see the colors, shapes and 3D elements to help me determine the best possible arrangement. So I prefer to lay out my pieces on the floor right in front of where I want to hang them – if that’s possible. 

I move my frames and other pieces around until I think I have the right combination.

Next, I take a photo – yes, of all the frames on the floor. I hop on a stool and take a picture looking straight down. (I like to use my iPad, it’s bigger than my phone and makes it easier to see the whole image). You’ll be amazed at how this helps you notice things that you can’t see with naked eye.

Things like if the colors go well next to each other, light and dark pieces, if the overall display is well balanced (not all the heavy looking pieces are on one side) and it also helps determine the amount of spacing to leave between each one. I usually move the pieces around until I find the right combination, it can be finicky at times but so worth it. Trust me, this simple tip will save you time and potential mistake holes too. 

Here’s my gallery wall. Can you guess which piece I hung first? If you’re not sure, read on!

Figuring out what goes up on the wall first is where you start. Even if you’re going for an eclectic free style look, you need to have somewhat of a strategy. Do you start on the left, middle, right, up, down, all around?  There are a lot of questions to be answered. Here’s the order of how I hung each item. 

Here’s why I hung each piece in the order I did.

Frame #1 – The Tree 

  • The Tree is my starting point and the piece that anchors my entire gallery. I added on its left and right to create a balanced look on either side.
  • It’s centered with the middle sofa cushion.
  • How did I know how high to hang it? Go back to the photo where my gallery is on the floor and you’ll see that I had planned to hang the Yak close to the couch and the tree higher.
  • Tip: Have your iPad (camera or phone) on hand to easily refer to the picture you took of your display. It’s basically your guide.
  • The frame I used is our new Place&Push frame, as the name says, you literally place and push the frame into the wall to hang it. It’s super easy since the hardware (metal pins) are already installed at the back. I placed a small level on the top of the frame to make sure it would go in straight.

Frame #2 – Love 

  •  I centered the Love frame with the Tree below, and hung it right above it using my Hang&Level tool. (This tool works wonders, I couldn’t hang stuff without it),
  • I used a small Déco Nail to hang it with, its head fit perfectly in the sawtooth hook on the back of the frame.
  •  I placed Anchor Points on the bottom corners to make sure it would stay straight when I hammered (hung) the other pieces.
  • Confession: I absolutely love Anchor Points, I have them on the back of every single frame hanging at my house. This way, my frames always look straight even when I dust them up. I know it may sound silly, but in a gallery wall, if one frame goes crooked, the entire gallery looks crooked and I can’t stand that. In fact, it’s one of my pet peeves.

Frame #3 – The Yak

  • In a gallery, it’s a good idea to mix pieces of different sizes and shape to add interest. Of course that’s not the case if you’re hanging a symmetrical display like this one.
  • I used CanvasHangers to hang the Yak. As shown above, the brackets sit in the top corners and once the pins are pushed into the wall, the canvas sits flush against the surface and stays straight not matter what.

Now, let’s go to the right side. 

Frame #4 – The Pinecone

  • I hate sounding like a broken record, but I referred back to my iPad, to the picture of my floor display (see above) to confirm where to hang the Pinecone.
  • Using my Hang&Level I centered the Pinecone with the Tree next to it, marked the spot and hung it.
  • I hammered a small Déco Nail in, and that’s it. Onto the next frame!

Frame #5 – Rudolph

  • As you can see, Rudolph has a tiny keyhole on the back which is a pain to hang.
  • To hang it, once again I used my handy dandy Hang&Level, the single button of the tool fit perfectly in the keyhole. I centered it above the Pinecone, just high enough for the antlers to surpass the top of the Yak.
  • I used a Déco Nail, its head is big enough and strong enough to hold Rudolph up without any worries of it ever falling.

Frame #6 – The Birch Trees 

  • Stay with me, we’re almost done!
  • I hung the Birch Trees at approximately at the same height as the Yak, which is about 3.5″ from the top of the couch. If you love measurements, check out the picture at the bottom with all the numbers and blue lines. It’s got everything on it.
  • This frame is a Place&Push frame, the same as the Tree, it was very easy to hang (see frame #1).
  • As far as spacing goes, I left a very similar amount of space between the Birch Trees and the Pinecone as I did between the Tree and the Pinecone. Although I didn’t measure, it’s very similar. Isn’t it?

Frame #7 – The Wishbone

  • Using Hang&Level, I centered the Wishbone with the frame below (The Birch Trees).
  • Just like what I did with frame #2, I used Déco Nails and Anchor Points to fix it to the wall.

Frame #8 – The Oval Silhouette

  • The Oval Silouhette – la pièce de résistance.
  • I centered the pretty lady with the Wishbone, and for consistency, I left similar spacing between the two as I did between the Wishbone and the Birch Trees.
  • A small Déco Nail is all I needed to secure the frame to the wall.
  • We’re done!

Measurements, anyone?

For the record, we measured all the spacing between items only after we were done hanging the gallery. I wanted this display to be hung freestyle, i.e. without using a measuring tape. So yes, we eyeballed everything to demonstrate that it can be done when you have a PHS – a picture hanging strategy.

Here’s a smorgasbord of measurements and the order of how we hung each frame. Pretty, isn’t it?

Tools used in this project

If you’d like to buy Hang & Level, Déco Nails or any other tool used in this article, head to our online catalog.

You know the drill, if  you have any questions, feedback (positive or negative) or need help, leave me a note in the comment box below and I’ll get right back to you.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you’ll remember this post for the next time you hang a gallery.

Liette Tousignant
Co-Founder of Under The Roof Decorating


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