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by Annie Sherman

Hanging art in your home need not cause panic or a plethora of little nail holes from inaccurate measurements. Whether you have a world class collection or ‘Dogs Playing Poker’ secured with thumbtacks, you should approach it like you’re creating a drawing: “Consider the composition and use those elements to design an appealing, cohesive space,” says Jessica Hagen of Jessica Hagen Fine Art + Design in Newport, R.I. These simple tips will provide a symmetrical wall of art every time.


All the art you plan to hang, tape measure, hammer, craft or tissue paper, painters tape, level, hooks and nails in various sizes, and pencil.


Use two hooks to reduce stress on the wire and wall, and reduce the need to constantly re-straighten the picture; consider using security hangers to prevent artwork from being accidentally bumped off the wall where kids or pets might play, or with larger art/mirrors; aim to hang the center of your main piece of artwork about 57”-60” off the floor, or roughly at eye level.

Step 1: Get Inspiration

Determine your personal style. Do you prefer a structured grid or a more random assortment of art? Matching or mismatching frames? Other objects like decorative hooks, mirrors, an antique clock or antlers? The sky’s the limit.

Step 2: Play Around

Lay all the artwork on the floor, starting with the larger centerpiece and build out. Snap a photo on your phone, then make another assortment and photograph it, so you have at least two options. This “editorial view” will help you decide which composition you prefer. Don’t be afraid to play around with the grouping and sizes of frames on the floor – now is the time!

Step 3: Mock Up

To test your layout, trace each frame onto tissue paper, trim to size, and tape to the wall in your desired order. (If you have a big enough piece of paper, you could even lay all the artwork on it, trace around each piece, then either trim each or hang the whole paper on the wall.) It should complement existing furniture, be at a comfortable height, and fit the space appropriately.

Step 4: Cliff Note

If you don’t have paper or want to skip Step 3, try this: grab an old paint stirrer from the basement, hammer a nail through the end, hook your picture on the nail and place your picture where you want it on the wall. Tap the nail into the wall gently so you know where to hammer the real thing.

Step 5: Commit

Actually hanging the piece of art is easy if you used the tissue paper method. Use your tape measure to get the exact location where the nail should go, and mark it on the paper. (If you’re using two nails, spread them out about a foot apart for larger pieces. Smaller pieces should only need one nail.) Hammer a nail directly into the mark through the paper, and tear the paper away. Repeat this step for each piece of art.

Step 6: Enjoy! 

It might feel like you’ve just scaled Mount Everest when you mount that art on the nail, so pat yourself on the back (once you’ve hung each piece and used a level to ensure they’re all even). Well done!