How to Hang Artwork with Ease

Written by Robert Lowdon

Robert Lowdon is an internationally published commercial photographer based out of Toronto, Canada. He spends his time photographing architecture and industrial projects for the most part.

Published January 13, 2023


Have you ever looked around your home and thought, “I could really use some art in here”?

Hanging Artwork in Your Home

Whether it’s an old family photo, a treasured painting, or a vibrant landscape photography print, adding artwork to your home is one of the most effective ways to make a space feel warm and inviting. But before enjoying your new artwork, you must hang it up!

Here are some tips for hanging a picture frame and up your interior design game.

Hanging Art is Easy – Mostly

Hanging a piece can be simple. First, you have to find a space you want the artwork. Put up a hook. Hang the piece. And level it. Done.

But hanging art safely can be more difficult. It is all about the hardware you choose.

Choose the Right Hardware to Hang Art

The type of hardware you need depends on the weight of your artwork. Different frames and glass can add a lot of weight. Luckily there are quite a few great options to secure your artwork safely.

French Cleat – The Strongest Option for Heavy Wall Art

If you want to hang heavy pictures, a French cleat is the best way. This hardware is one of the strongest and most secure options for hanging artwork on your walls.

A french cleat is just two pieces of wood cut at a 45-degree angle. One part is attached to the back of your artwork, and the other is mounted onto your wall. The two pieces fit together perfectly, forming a secure bond that keeps your artwork in place. It is one of the oldest ways to hang wall art and has been used for centuries.

You should hang the cleat screwed into a wall stud for the strongest support. In addition, the cleat needs to be level. Once the piece is up, you won’t be able to adjust it. Also, there are commercial options available, mostly made of metal, so you don’t have to stress about cutting the wood yourself.

Hooks to hang art
Picture hanging hooks

Picture Hanging Hooks & Nails

If you’re not hanging too heavy pictures, picture hooks and nails are an excellent option for securely mounting artwork.

Using picture hooks and nails is a simple process. All you have to do is put a mark on the wall where you want your art pieces to go, then drive the nail through the hook into those spots. After that, hang your artwork from the wire at the back of your artwork.

It is essential to use a hanging wire on the back of your artwork when using hooks, as it can be dangerous otherwise.

D hooks for hanging artwork
D hooks

Wall Anchors & D Hooks

If you’re hanging moderately heavy artwork, wall anchors and D hooks are other options. These small pieces of hardware allow you to share the weight of a larger piece across two mounting points.

To install wall anchors, you will have to drill holes in the wall. Or use a self-drilling wall anchor. Then, on the back of the artwork, you will use the two D hooks to hang a wire. When you place the anchors, you must ensure they are perfectly level and at the same height. This can be challenging, especially with crooked floors.

A Screw Mounted Directly into the Stud

The simplest and most effective way to hang art is to drive a screw into a stud. Then, hang the picture by a wire installed on the back of the frame. It will be solid, but it can be limiting because you will need to find a stud and will only be able to hang in locations where the studs are located.

What Works Best

I have found that picture hooks are almost always a better option when hanging art. You have to make sure to use the right hook. Always pick a hook rated for double the weight of your piece. If it is really heavy, go for a french cleat, but usually, it might just be better to hire a professional at those weights.

Always use a wire mounted to the back of your artwork unless you use a french cleat. A wire is great because it allows you to adjust your art easily. It is also safer because bumping into it usually won’t cause the piece to fall because the wire will absorb the shock.

What Doesn’t Work

Sawtooth hangers are not great and, quite frankly, dangerous. They are often on ready-made frames. They will easily fall off a wall and break with a minor bump. It is best to mount a wire even on a cheap frame.

Always avoid bare nails or tacks in drywall when hanging anything heavier than a poster. It should be on a proper hook, because the consequences can severe. A falling picture frame can even lead to severe injury or death.

Sawtooth hangers are dangerous
Sawtooth hangers

When it Gets Complicated – The Gallery Wall.

A gallery wall can be more difficult if you try to have everything level, equally spaced, the same shape, and the same height. You will have to use laser levels, measuring tape and a lot of patience to get it right. Also, estimating the wall space you must work with can be more complex than you think.

But a more straightforward solution is to use a masonry gallery layout. This is when nothing is equally spaced, the same size or at the same height. It just all fits together, with no defined focal point. Of course, you will have to use a lot of pieces to make this work, but when it is done right, it looks fantastic.

Related: Nature Photography: My 11 Favorite Images


With these simple steps in mind, hanging up artwork in your home doesn’t have to be intimidating or overwhelming! Whether it’s photos of loved ones or a framed print of the grand canyon, nothing says “welcome” like having art on display in your home—and now you can do that without any hassle. So grab some tools and get ready—it’s time for new art in your house and cover those blank walls!

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