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Hung up on hanging pictures?

Quit staring at that blank wall or the same row of pictures you’ve always hung up the same way in every place you’ve lived. There are many things that you can do to arrange pictures, paintings and prints in your luxury apartment home to brighten it up or add drama.

We’re not going to talk about the mechanics of hanging pictures on walls. You can look up myriad videos on that subject on YouTube and we’ve all seen that hack of using a fork to easily hang a picture, right? OK, here you go

First, we’ll go on the record as saying we’re big fans of using damage-free adhesives to hang pictures as well as hooks for hanging purses or keys and even decorating your windows. Plus, this way, you can change your mind and relocate or straighten a picture without worrying about excessive nail holes in the wall (and risk losing some of your deposit!). 

There are two cautionary pieces of advice when using adhesive strips. First, if you don’t follow directions and mind the weight limits of whatever it is you’re trying to hang, you could risk having it fall (and possibly damaging the wall). Second, adhesive strips are more expensive than grabbing a few picture nails at the hardware store. Then again, you save time and money not patching up holes to save your deposit.

Go to the expert

Who better to ask how to arrange pictures on a wall than Martha Stewart? Before we go crazy and offer some off-the-wall (sorry, couldn’t help it) ideas for hanging things up, let’s go over a few basics. It’s good to know the rules before you break them (for a reason). 

Think of your wall as a blank canvas ready for a great design. Set out the pictures you want to hang by propping them up against the wall or laying them out on the floor. If you’ve got help, enlist them to hold the objects up where you’d like them. 

The standard height to hang something up is eye level, positioned at its center 57 to 60 inches from the floor. Here’s the formula: Divide the frame’s height by two, then subtract the distance from the frame’s top to the hanging hardware, adding that number to your 57- to 60-inch distance from the floor. The result is where you should put the hangers in the wall. 

Or just wing it and use your instincts.

The fun begins

You might notice that the 57- to 60-inch rule is complicated by things such as furniture or high ceilings. If a sofa or bed is against the wall, the rule of thumb is to make sure the bottom of the frame is 6 to 12 inches above the object. For higher walls, feel free to go above 57 or 60 inches, so you don’t have too much empty wall space in the upper half. 

And, hey, remember when we said you could break the rules? How about NOT hanging something up, but LEANING a piece against the wall or on a shelf? Speaking of shelves, they’re great for those of us who are constantly wanting to rearrange our wall art. Much easier to shuffle frames on a shelf than re-hang them. 

Different ideas

If you’re going for a more formal look, consider using a picture rail, which is a sliver of molding installed at the edge of the ceiling, from which you hang art from hooks and strings. 

Here are a few more rule-breaking ideas on creative displays from Architectural Digest:

  • Large art goes on large walls: You don’t need to think that you need a huge painting to cover that big, blank wall. Think of the statement you can make with a carefully chosen object surrounded by a generous amount of wall space!
  • Sculptures need pedestals: Who says? Look for sculptures that you can hang on the wall to give your wall collection another dimension.
  • Everything must line up: Give your OCD side a coffee break and think of how fun it would be to hang things off-center or deliberately hung at an angle, just enough to make it look deliberate.
  • Keep it at eye level: Yes, that’s the traditional rule, but think how fun it will be to have something interesting tacked up above that doorway or where someone seated in the right place can get a good view. Keeping it interesting is more like it.

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