Hang that Picture!

One of the best ways to pull a room together is by hanging interesting objects on your walls like artwork and mirrors, but this is also one of the easiest places to mess up. I do not know about you, but I am always a little hesitant when I hang a picture or mirror. For one thing, if I attach a picture to the wall in the wrong location, I just created a hole, in the wrong place! There are so many factors to consider like color, proportion, height, the number of items to hang, and if they should be attached symmetrically or not symmetrically. One of my personal favorites is a gallery wall for old family photo’s but how do you hang a group of items so that it will look ok?


Here is what I think; Most of the time the hole will be behind the picture so do not let the hole in the wall stop you from making the right decision! As a designer, I always like do a bit research on any subject and in Sherrill Whiton’s book; Elements of Interior Design and Decoration he says, “pictures should first be selected by what you like!” So, this is a place to put a little of your personality in the room, and it should make you smile when you see it hanging there. Whiton also said to “consider the quantity needed, the size and scale of each, their relationship to the wall composition, the colors, and the frame.” Ok, and he goes on to say;” rooms with walls decorated with murals, scenic paper, or strongly patterned wallpaper do not require a significant amount of additional pictorial enrichment.” 


Here are a few ideas that I like to follow:

  • Trust your instincts and after you have hung a picture or mirror, and if it does not look quite right don’t be afraid to change your plan. 
  • When you are deciding where to hang something on a wall, you should feel that space appears empty before you fill it. 
  • A picture or mirror of significant decorative or aesthetic value should have sufficient wall area; this item needs its space.
  • A method for hanging family photo’s is to place them in small groups. Groups of three should have the largest image in the center, or two pictures should be of equal or similar size. Photo’s with similar image groups, and color value blends well together. Unsymmetrical groups of images often look good on wall spaces that are not at the center of the room and in cases where pictures must accommodate to adjoining furniture. To hang groupings of images together start by laying them out on the floor the way you want to see them on the wall.  Use masking tape or some brown paper and map things out on the wall before making that first hole.
  • Paintings hung near each other are usually “inharmonious” unless they are of similar tonal values, and colored pictures hung close to black-and-white drawings or photos do not often work together. 
  • The most common mistake is to place an item too high on the wall. An average eye level is 5’ 6,” and the eye should rest in the center of the piece of art, except in the case of an enormous painting that should be above eye level.
  • When hanging something over a piece of furniture that is under 30” High, the center of the picture should hang around 60”-62” from the floor and in the case of a grouping of photo’s the heart of a cluster should be 60”-62” height. If the furniture item is over 30” high, there should be around 3” to 8” from the bottom of the picture and your furniture or mantel.
  • When hanging items above a sofa or headboard; the bottom of the frame should be between 5” to 10” from the top of your furniture. 
  • The color of a room is an important decorative feature, and this color should align with the color tones in the artwork or frames of photos.


Hanging decorative items in your home is the place to have a plan! Moreover, without a plan, you will be left with lots of holes in the wrong place and a room that just does not feel quite right.

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