How to Hang a Picture Frame

Once youʼve chosen the ideal pictures and frames to decorate your walls, itʼs time to display them. Hanging pictures is easy and satisfying. Plus, these tips from Pottery Barn are designed to help you get the job done quickly. Learn why you need to know what a picture weighs before you hang it up, how measuring helps you find the best spot to hang a picture and then pick up a few tips on installing the picture hanging hardware.

Choosing the Right Wall Hangings for the Space on Your Wall

When decorating a large, open wall, a large statement picture adds visual interest to the space. For hanging above a sofa, an entertainment center or other mid-height piece of furniture, a gallery wall that includes groupings of smaller pictures lets you fill the space elegantly. Centering is an important step with both statement pieces and gallery walls.

Measure From the Floor Up

Take some measurements to find the best possible spot to put a picture or set of pictures on your wall. Measure up from the floor. For the greatest visual impact, you want the center of your picture at eye level, or between 55 and 60 inches up from the floor. If youʼre hanging a grouping with more than three multisized pictures, put the center of the center picture, usually the largest one, at eye level. If youʼre hanging three same size pictures horizontally, center all three at eye level. A laser level is a good tool to use for this because it helps you keep all three perfectly centered. Finally, if youʼre hanging three pictures vertically, center the middle picture at eye level.

Check the Pictureʼs Weight

Check the weight of the picture to determine what type of picture hanging hardware you need. This needs to be one of the first things you do because it determines what type of hardware you need to get. For larger pictures, a screw and anchor combination takes more weight. If a wall hanging weighs 15 pounds or more, you either need to drive the screw into a wall stud or install a wall anchor to give the support needed for the extra weight. Smaller pictures just need a regular plated finishing nail or nail and hook combo for hanging.

Support the Pictureʼs Weight

Use a stud finder to locate the supports inside your walls if hanging a piece like a heavy picture or a mirror without an anchor. Mark the center of the stud with a carpenterʼs pencil or a chalk mark. If the location of the stud doesnʼt line up with where you want to hang your picture, you need to use an anchor. Drill into the wall using a bit thatʼs smaller than the anchor you are installing. Then, push the tip of the anchor into the pilot hole and use a hammer to gently tap the anchor in until the outer ridge is flush with the wall. If the wall is masonry, you need a masonry bit in your drill and masonry screws to hang a picture.

Make Sure the Picture Hangs Straight

After the picture is on the wall, give it a visual test by stepping back and looking at it to be sure the frame hangs straight. If in doubt, use a level to check and make sure the top of the frame isnʼt tipped. If the picture slants to one side, take it off the wall and put either an adhesive pad or adhesive hook and loop tabs on the lower corners of the frame to keep it from shifting. Put the tabs at least 1/8-inch back from the frameʼs edge to make sure they are hidden from view when you put the picture back on the wall.