How to Hang Wall Art

The DIY Wall Gallery

Bare wall—check. Assorted art—check. Starting point…no clue. Sure, you love the crisp, well-ordered look of wall galleries in design mags and blogs. But hammering in that first nail yourself? Scary stuff. If grouping wall art has you all hung up, here's some good news: You—yes, you—can design your own picture-perfect wall gallery in just five easy steps.

Step 1

Gather the items you want to use and lay them out on the floor. What to hang? Be creative. Almost anything can be used to fill a wall gallery, from canvas art to framed photos to personal memorabilia. For a unified look, choose items with similar colors or motifs; for a more eclectic wall, just mix & match. Try varying shapes and sizes for visual interest.

Ideas we love: Black & white photos, pressed flowers and leaves, antique family photos, framed postcards, decorative letters and numbers, clock faces, mirrors, plates, masks, travel mementos, faux animal heads, kids' artwork, star and moon shapes.

Step 2

Starting in the center with your largest piece, gradually build out until all items are positioned. Play around with different arrangements until you find the layout you like best. Once you do, make a quick pencil sketch to use as a hanging guide.

Timely tips:

  • Browse magazines and design blogs for layouts you like.
  • Don't space items too far apart. Keep your layout loose and your spacing tight.
  • Symmetrical equals formal, asymmetrical equals casual. Same goes for straight edges versus irregular.
Step 3

Hammer time. Shop your hardware store for hanging kits. For heavier items, know the weight so you can choose the proper hook. Smaller, lighter pieces can be hung with nail-free picture-hanging strips.

Keep it in proportion. If you're hanging a wall gallery over a piece of furniture, make sure it's not wider than the piece beneath. Also, leave no more than 6 inches of wall space between the furniture and the art.

Step 4

Wall art can be shifty. Once you've hung everything, whip out your trusty level—either traditional carpenter's or the laser variety—to make sure it's all straight. Then keep it that way by applying strips of double-stick mounting tape to the backs of each item and voilà! Your gallery is straight-up stable and on the level.

Step 5

Step back and admire your handiwork. Still need a little sump'n sump'n? Consider propping a few overlapping pieces against the wall. No place to prop? Try hanging a small shelf to display your art.

For real drama, install some track or other spot lighting to show off your new wall gallery. No one will believe it was DIY.

How to Hang Wall Art
How to Hang Wall Art