By John Pedler
Published: Monday, May 22, 2023
Decorating your walls with photos or paintings adds a personal touch to your home. But it’s not quite as simple as grabbing a hook and hammer.
Here are a few tips to make sure the picture sits perfectly on the wall.
1. How high?
First, decide where you want the picture(s) to be located on the wall. A general rule of thumb is to hang a picture at around eye level. If you’re displaying pictures in a cluster, the largest one is usually placed in the middle.
If possible, avoid spots that receive regular direct sunlight, as it can cause pictures to fade over time.
2. Hanging up
If you’re using picture-frame wire, attach a D-ring or screw eye to each side of the back of the frame, about a third of the way from the top. Tie the wire to the loops, leaving a bit of slack, while making sure the wire won’t be seen above the picture when it’s hanging.
Gently pull the middle of the wire towards the top of the frame and measure the distance between the wire and the frame’s top. Transfer this measurement to the wall, so you’ll know where the picture will sit when it’s mounted.
For small pictures, attach a single D-ring to the middle of the frame at the top, and hook the loop over the wall anchor.
3. Different walls, different rules
There’s a range of anchors, hooks and fixings available that screw or nail into stud wall plasterboard. For heavier pictures, use more than one anchor to spread the load on the wall, or screw directly into a stud for extra strength.
To locate a stud, knock along the wall. A hollow sound means fresh air behind the plasterboard, while a dull sound usually identifies a stud. If you’re not sure, buy an electronic stud finder at the hardware store.
For a brick wall, you’ll need a power drill and masonry drill bit to make a hole for inserting a plastic wall plug. Wrap masking tape around the drill bit to help gauge the depth of the hole, based on the plug’s length.
Gently tap the plug into the hole – it must fit snugly – and insert a screw. This is a dusty job, so wear a dust mask and goggles and place a drop cloth on the floor.
Some older houses have brittle cement render over the brickwork, which can crumble when drilled. Putting masking tape over the spot where you’re drilling may help, but you might need to do some patching after the job.
If you’d rather leave your walls hole free, there’s a range of adhesive hooks available that’ll support items of light to medium weight.
Important: Before drilling into walls, make sure you know the location of pipes and electrical wiring. You don’t want a DIY disaster.
4. On the level
If family and friends aren’t blessed with a straight eye, use a spirit level to make sure the picture is horizontal. To help keep the frame level and prevent it scratching the wall, attach a small piece of adhesive felt to each of the bottom corners.