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Don't Get Hung Up When Hanging Pictures and Artwork

Maybe you framed a drawing that your child drew in school, or you have a family photo, or a favorite piece of art that you want to hang. Yes, we've all taken a hammer and nail to the wall without measuring or worrying too much in a pinch (sometimes that's the only way to get it done), but there are tips and tricks to make the task of displaying your art on the wall a little more inviting, and a lot more exciting. Quit ignoring that stack of frames on the floor beside your bed and have at it. Here are our best tips for how to hang a picture like a pro.

Decide on a strategy

The weight, size, and shape of the item you're hanging and the material of your walls both need to be considered before you so much as get near a hammer. Can I drill into brick? What about tile? Will my plaster walls hold anything and what the heck is a stud?


Gather supplies

Besides a hammer, measuring tape, and pencil, you'll need the following supplies to hang art on plaster or drywall (essentially more weight-bearing supplies for heavier artwork):

For light-weight pieces: small nails.

For medium-weight pieces: picture-hangers.

For heavier pieces: a big nail and a stud-finder or wall-plug anchors, screws that fit them, and a screwdriver.


If you're hanging on tile or glass, you'll need good-quality, low-profile adhesive hooks rather than nails and screws, and if you're hanging on brick, use brick clamps.


Hang the piece

Yes, there is a semi-science to the art of getting the height of a piece just right—it's called measuring.

Step 1

Measure the height of your picture from top to bottom. Divide the answer by two.

Step 2

Measure the distance between the top of the frame and the peak of the hanging wire when drawn taut.

Step 3

Subtract the answer from Step 2 from your answer in Step 1.

Step 4

Add 60 inches to your answer from Step 3, and mark this point on the wall, measuring up from the floor. This spot marks where you will position your screw, nail, or hook to hang the picture.

If you're hanging a heavy piece, first use a stud-finder to locate a stud and see if it's in a logical location for your nail to go. If it is, hammer a big nail in and be done. If the stud is in a weird location, use the anchor-and-screw method instead: Drill a pilot-hole, tap the plastic anchor into it, then screw a screw into that, leaving it to protrude just enough that you can loop the wire or saw tooth right over it the same way you would with a nail.


How to Get Creative With Your Display

Go for groupings. The rule of thumb has always been to hang pieces in odd numbers, but if you like symmetry, then go for pairs. There really are no hard and fast rules.


If you're not up for hammers and nails, just lean it. The laziest and coolest way to display art is also best for anyone who is afraid of putting nail holes in the wall: lean the frame against the back of a chair, or the wall, or on a shelf somewhere. Even homes with lots of art hung up on the walls take well to a few casually leaned pieces—it actually looks very intentional!


If you're always re-arranging, consider a picture shelf. If you're into the whole leaning thing and want to formalize a place for such activity, consider adding a shallow picture shelf in one of your rooms. It's a perfect solution for those with constantly changing styles (or the rearrangement bug).


So when it comes to hanging artwork or photos in your home, don’t sweat it!  For more information on the finest homes in the Palm Beaches, contact a Tauber Real Estate Services specialist at (561) 626-4633.

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