A Step-by-Step Guide to Hanging a Picture Frame Like a Pro

Hanging a picture frame seems straightforward—until it’s time to put nail to the wall. The reality is, there’s an art to this task: do it right, and you elevate your space; do it wrong, and you’re left with unnecessary holes and a lopsided result. Fear not! Follow this step-by-step guide to ensure your artwork hangs beautifully, complementing your home like a gallery piece.

Step 1: Choose the Right Location

Before you hammer anything, consider where the picture will go. Eye level is best; for most, that’s about 57 to 60 inches from the floor to the center of the frame. Also, make sure it’s the right scale for the wall—large art can overwhelm a small wall, and tiny pieces can look lost on a large one.

Step 2: Gather Your Tools

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Hammer or drill (if using anchors)
  • Picture hangers, hooks, or a picture rail system
  • Wall anchors (for heavier pieces)

Step 3: Measure and Mark

Measure the height of the frame and divide it by two to find the center. Next, measure the top of the frame to the hanging hardware (a wire, bracket, or D-ring). Add this number to your wall’s 57- to 60-inch mark, and this is where you’ll place your hook or nail.

Step 4: Choose Your Hanging Hardware

The weight of the picture determines the kind of hanger you need. For light frames, a small nail might suffice. Medium-weight frames (up to 20 pounds) may require a picture hanger with a hook. Heavier items will need wall anchors or a secure hanging system like a picture rail, which can support the weight and allows for easy adjustments.

Step 5: Fix the Hardware to the Wall

If using a nail or hook, place it at your marked spot and gently hammer it in at a slight upward angle. For heavier frames requiring anchors, drill a hole first, then gently tap the anchor into the wall before screwing in the hardware. If using a picture rail system, install it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 6: Hang and Level the Picture

Hang the picture on the hook or picture rail. Place a level on top of the frame and adjust until it’s straight. For wire-backed frames, pull the wire taut with your finger to get an accurate read.

Step 7: Adjust as Needed

If the frame isn’t level, adjust the hardware slightly up or down. With a picture rail system, you can usually slide the picture along the rail or adjust the cord for perfect placement.

Step 8: Add Security

Especially in high-traffic areas or homes with children and pets, consider using stabilizers or small adhesive strips on the bottom corners of the frame to secure it to the wall. This will prevent your pictures from tilting or falling.

Step 9: Step Back and Enjoy

Take a step back to admire your work. Make sure the frame is positioned as you’d like in relation to furniture and other wall art.

Tips for Success

  • Use the Right Wall Anchors: For drywall, you might use expandable anchors or toggle bolts. If you’re drilling into a stud, a screw should suffice.
  • Invest in a Picture Hanging Kit: They often include a variety of hardware for different frame sizes and weights.
  • Consider the Wall Material: Hanging on brick or concrete will require special drill bits and anchors.
  • Use a Picture Hanging App: Some apps use augmented reality to help you visualize where art should go on your wall.
  • Hanging Groups of Pictures: Treat multiple frames as one large piece. Find the center point of the group and use that as your reference for eye level.

Additional Resources

For visual learners, there are countless tutorial videos online that can walk you through the process. DIY blogs are also a goldmine of home decor tips, including picture-hanging guides. And if you’re looking for supplies or inspiration, browsing through art stores or home decor websites can offer the tools and creative spark you need to hang your pictures with confidence.

Professional Help

If you’re unsure about hanging artwork yourself, or you have an especially heavy or valuable piece, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Many framing shops offer installation services, or you can hire a local handyperson. This ensures your artwork is secure and gives you peace of mind.


Hanging a picture frame properly is about precision, patience, and having the right tools for the job. By following these steps, you’re well on your way to displaying your artwork like a seasoned pro,