How To Hang Art

Follow these four steps for putting your favorite pieces on display.

Artwork brings blank walls to life. Hanging framed pieces can be tricky, so we polled the pros at Well + Wonder Artist Collective, a curated online collection of original art by emerging Southern artists. Along with helping buyers of all ages and price ranges curate a unique collection for their homes, the Well + Wonder team recently launched Walls of Wonder to help clients frame, hang, and install their pieces. Mollie Creason (founder and chief curator) and Emily Magevney (director of Walls of Wonder) share four easy steps for hanging artwork in your home.

Well + Wonder How to Hang Art
An original piece by Well + Wonder artist Chloe Wood is hung in the Crosby Designs' showroom in Jacksonville, Florida. Andrea Bottin

1. First, check out the back of your artwork to see what you’re working with.

Your artwork will likely either have a pair of D rings (named for their D shape) or a wire screwed into the back of the frame or canvas. D rings are the preferred method for hanging heavier pieces. Measuring to hang with D rings requires more precision, but your art will hang sturdier and will not shift (invest in a level—you won't regret it). Wire works great for lighter pieces and hanging is certainly easier! Smaller framed pieces hung on wire can often be secured by applying a small amount of Handitak on the back side of each corner. If your work of art is really heavy, you may see a French cleat system on the back of the frame. Don't fret! These offer great support and flexibility to move a piece left or right given their horizontal cut edge design.

2. Next, use the appropriate hardware.

It is often preferred to use hooks with two or three thinner nails like these. Thinner, more solid nails go in easier, and multiple nails offer more support. Follow the weight rules on the hardware package.

When hanging with wire, a rule of thumb is to hammer in two points of support whenever a piece is over 30 lbs. If a piece is lighter than 30 lbs but you want to prevent shifting, go for two points of support.

If you have plaster walls, it's harder to get your nails in the wall, so it's okay to just go with one. Be prepared to straighten the piece every once in a while.

3. Consider what walls you have.

Plaster walls are in a league of their own. You will likely need a drill to secure a nail or screw appropriately. Chances are, you know your walls better than anyone. If a screw feels like it is under stress, invest in a wall anchor to secure it. If you've had it with plaster walls, consider installing a picture rail with hanging system. Picture rails are brilliant if you plan to move art around in your home often. Brian Shrum of The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens recommends Griplock.

4. Find the perfect spot to hang.

Select height as it relates to your line of vision and establish a center line. Center lines will vary from person to person. When in doubt, go with a 60-inch center line from the floor. If you have enough wall space, double or triple hang art when you can. Just leave visual room if you have a piece of furniture below. The rule of thumb is to space art two inches apart on a gallery wall. If a work of art is framed with a mat, you may want to mix it up and use the width of the mat as a guide to space pieces and set up a rhythm.

If art is partially blocked by a lamp, that's ok! Art is an element of your room, and you want it to connect visually to the composition of the space. If you have a pair, consider hanging them symmetrically. Asymmetry adds interest to a room too, you can balance a wall by factoring in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles