The 4 Simple Tips That Will Help You Hang Pictures Perfectly

hanging pictures

Hanging pictures or artwork on the walls of your home is one of the simplest ways to make a big visual impact, and it’s also a great opportunity to showcase your personal style and story. Think of your wall decorations as clothes for your home; your clothes are an expression of yourself, and your wall decor can be too!

But I don’t think I’m alone in my dislike of doing the actual hanging. Framed photos and art have been known to lean against walls in my home for weeks at a time because no one wants to volunteer to hang them!

hanging pictures

So the last time this happened, I decided that there must be a way to simplify this task and make it less of a chore! So I did some research, and today I’ll be sharing what I’ve found—the best tips and tricks for hassle-free hanging that the web has to offer! :-)

4 Easy Tips For Hanging Pictures Perfectly

hanging pictures

1. Choose The Right Spot

The first thing you need to do before you get around to hanging a photo or piece of art is decide where you’re going to put it!

One tip I’ve found to be particularly useful is to take the time to visualize your layout before doing anything permanent. An easy way to do this is by making paper templates that match the dimensions of each frame you’re planning to hang.

hanging pictures

Trace each of your frames onto newspaper or kraft paper, cut them out, then use masking tape to stick the templates up on your wall. Seeing the size of your frames on the actual wall will help you identify what works for your space and what doesn’t.

(If you’re only hanging one item, you can just hold your frame up to the wall, and once you’ve found the right place, mark the location of the edges of the frame with masking tape or a sticky note.)

hanging pictures

2. Decide How To Hang It

Once you’ve decided where your frame or frames are going to go, you’ll need to decide what type of hanger you want to use to attach them to the wall.

I’m a big fan of Command picture hanging strips for hanging relatively lightweight frames. You can even use them to hang some of the larger frames from IKEA (like 28″ x 40″ frames) with no trouble at all!

Of course, if you don’t mind putting holes in your walls, standard nails and screws work just as well for hanging all sorts of frames! (Just be sure to utilize drywall anchors when you’re hanging large or heavy frames on stretches of wall with no studs.)

hanging pictures

3. Get Your Placement Right The First Time

Now that you’ve determined where and how you’re going to hang your frame, it’s time to get it done! And if you’re going the nail or screw route, it’s always nice to get it right the first time so you don’t end up making multiple holes in your wall.

One way to do this is to make a simple picture-hanging stick. Hammer a small nail into a paint stirrer about 1″ in from one end. Stop when the nail is about 1/3 of the way through the wood.

hanging pictures

Hang the frame from the nail, then hold the stick against the wall where you want to hang it. Press firmly on the nail-end of the stick, and it will leave behind a small hole exactly where your nail or screw should go!

hanging pictures

If you don’t have a paint stirrer on hand, another option is to use a tape measure to measure the distance from the top of your frame to the hanging point, like a wire or sawtooth hanger. (If your frame has a wire, use the metal edge of your tape measure to pull the wire taut towards the top of the frame to get the right measurement.)

hanging pictures

Once you have your measurement, use a pencil to mark it on the correct location on either your paper template or directly on the wall.

My friend Jamielyn at I Heart Naptime shared a similar trick on her blog that’s especially helpful hanging a frame with two hanging points. Cut a piece of masking tape that covers the distance between the two hanging points on the back of the frame, then stick the piece of tape to the wall where she’ll be hanging it.

The edges of the tape will show you exactly where to put your nails or screws. (For more details about Jamielyn’s method, learn more here.)

hanging pictures

4. Make Sure Your Frame Is Level

Once you’ve got your frame on the wall, all that’s left to do grab your trusty level to make sure it’s hanging straight. And if you have an iPhone, you always have a level on hand!

Open the Compass app, then swipe left to access the level. Hold it up along the top of your frame, adjust accordingly and you’re done! Your wall art or picture frame should look picture perfect. :-)

Do you have a favorite picture hanging tip?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

    • Command brand says that they won’t work if the texture is more than an orange peel, because the sticky part can’t evenly stick to the wall. :-( Some comments on other blogs claim that they worked pretty well, though. Sounds like they probably won’t hold as well, and might not peel off entirely. Sorry for the bad news!

  • That 3M product means I can finally hang pictures, even though we rent, and just in time for Easter! Thank you Jillee! I love your ideas about using paper to see where the pictures should go.

  • My husband had the same thing happen to him the other day. I forgot to share with him what a friend of ours told me about the 3M products which is …You have to hold the plastic part that is on the wall with your left hand (opposite hand if you are left handed) while pulling the strip with your other hand. It prevents the whole thing coming off with the strip when you pull on it. I hope this helps. I have had 100% success in removing my 3M products since I have been doing this. Good luck!! <3 and Happy Easter!!

  • As someone else who tends to be slow about hanging up pictures, I appreciate the suggestions. I will have to check out those strips.

    I love the map of Middle Earth.

  • Jillee, Let me tell you this couldn’t have come at a better time!!!!!! We bought this home almost 8 YEARS ago & I have a mirror & 1 Picture hung in the living room. Everything else sits on tables & in the hutch. Been asking for frames for months, guess I will just have to go buy my own (hubby not the crafty guy). I have a lot of family pictures to hang up since we have both lost our parents. Is there a better way to group them, say by family or should they be hung in the hallway? We live in an older home that has dark paneling in all the rooms but the kitchen, living room & hall. Want to redo the other rooms but on a VERY tight budget with us both on disability. Any Ideas you could give me would be appreciated. Love you by the way. <3

    • Hang your pictures where you will see them and enjoy them.
      I live in a log cabin so all frames are black so they show up against the wood. If you find large frames at good will or salvation army you can do a collage. Ask friend if they have spare or trade something you would be surprised. As to the decorating my favorite tip is this if you wear glasses take them off everything looks good blurry….I use this same tip for cleaning.

    • Group them however makes sense to your – whatever you think looks best! I like to have all the pictures scattered around, for the most part. The tip about frames that stand out against the wall is great, especially with darker walls. Here’s another post that might give you some more ideas!

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