How to Hang Pictures on Your Wall

How to Hang Pictures on Your Wall

How to Hang Pictures on Your Wall

Former Commercial and Residential Designer

How to hang pictures on your wall doesn’t need to be a difficult question to answer. You’ll need a measuring tape, pencil, hammer, screw driver, and wall hangers.

Starting Point

The first thing you want to do before you begin hanging pictures on your wall is to measure the length and height of the wall. If you are using the entire wall space, you’ll want to find the center of the wall and begin there. If your space is limited to a certain area of the wall, then you’ll measure the available space and calculate the center.

Find Center of Wall

To do this you’ll need to measure the width and height of your wall.

  • Divide the length of your wall by two and measure this new figure out on the wall starting at the floor.
  • Divide the width of your wall by two and measure this out onto your wall marking it to intersect with the one you made for the length.

The height of your wall is 8 feet and the width is 12 feet.

  • Divide 8 feet by 2. The center of your wall height is 4 feet.
  • The width of your wall is 12 feet.
    • You’ll start at one end of the wall and mark 6 feet along the baseboard. This is the center of your wall.
    • Repeat this measurement at the top of the wall below the line where the wall and ceiling meet.
  • Match up the two marks by using the tape measure from floor to ceiling.
  • Mark the wall with a pencil at the 4 ft mark.

Now that you’ve determined the center of your wall, you can begin hanging pictures.

Other Measurements: Partial Wall Space

When the wall space for your pictures is limited, you’ll need to follow the same steps to get the center of the area you plan to use. You can measure the width of the space and then divide it by two to get the center of the wall area you’ve designated for pictures.

Determining Eye Level

You’ve probably heard that pictures should hang right at eye level. If you’ve ever been in a home where the home owner chose to suspend all of the pictures at a very high level on the wall, you probably found the arrangement awkward.

There is a universal standard for determining eye level and it’s the criteria used by museums around the world.

Museum Guidelines: Eye Level

How to Hang Pictures on Your Wall

You can use the same guidelines that museums use when they hang art to be assured your picture is properly placed on the wall. To achieve this, you need to:

  • Measure 60 inches from the floor up the wall.
  • Draw a pencil line at the 60-inch mark.

This pencil mark is your guiding mark for hanging the picture. You want this measurement to fall exactly in the center of your picture. Once you’ve finished hanging your picture, you can take another measurement, starting at the floor. This time the 60-inch mark will end in the center of your picture.

Length of Picture

In order to place your picture so the center falls at the 60-inch mark, you’ll need to measure the length of your picture.

  • Divide the length of your picture in half to get a new measurement.
  • Now add this figure to 60 inches.
  • Next measure from the floor the new length that includes the half-measurement of your picture length.


  • Your picture’s length is 42 inches.
  • 42 divided by 2 is 21 inches
  • 60 inches plus 21 inches is 81 inches
  • Measure 81 inches from the floor up the wall. Use a pencil to draw a line or dot at the 81-inch mark. Make sure you can see the pencil mark.

Using Pencil Marks: Center Your Picture

Now that you have these pencil marks on your wall you need to determine where to put the picture hanger. To do this you need to examine the back of your picture to determine the kind of hanger it has.

Picture Frame Hangers

There are two basic types of frame hangers that are used on the back of pictures. One is a metal type that fits over a nailhead or wall hanger. Most paintings come with a wire hanger that is attached to the painting with two eyelet screws, one on either side. The wire is suspended from the wall hanger and adjusts so the picture is level.

Metal Picture Frame Hanger

If your picture has a metal hanger, then you will want to drive your nail or screw into the wall just below the last pencil mark you made on the wall. This will be the mark that allows for half the length of your picture.

  • Sawtooth Hangers
  • Picture Hangers

Wire Picture Hanger

Some wires are strung taut from eyelet to eyelet with no slack and are placed at the halfway point of the picture length.

Other wire hangers have enough slack in the wire to hang your picture from a single hook for a period style effect.

Wall Hanger Hardware

The weight of your picture will determine which kind of wall hanger you need. Most wall hanger kits have weight rates listed on the packaging.


This kind of wall hook is safely used on sheetrock walls or wall paneling. They come packaged with the appropriate nail as a kit.

Plastic Anchors

This is good for wire hanging pictures for plaster and concrete walls. You’ll drill a hole then hammer the anchor into the hole and then insert a screw.

Toggle Bolts

Spring-loaded toggle bolts are inserted through a drilled hole and used for heavy paintings and pictures.

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