Turn any wall into a work of art with these picture hanging ideas.
Are your walls looking a little empty lately? Or perhaps you just need a change of scenery? Whatever your reason, filling up a wall with photos is a fun project with a very satisfying result. And while there’s no single correct way to do the job, we do have a few picture hanging ideas we think will help inspire you as you plan for your newest decorative masterpiece.
Collecting your tools
To get started, you’ll need a few things. If you have a stud-finder, keep it handy. If not, we recommend self-drilling spiral anchors. These anchors come in both metal and plastic, and are the simplest and most affordable way to anchor screws to hollow walls. Although they’re called “self-drilling,” you’ll still need a drill to make the starter hole.
Other useful tools are a screwdriver (preferably electric), a ruler, a pencil with an eraser, a level, and a tape measure. While all you technically need is the screwdriver, these other items help ensure your photos line up the way you want.
Planning your photo wall
Before you start, we suggest outlining your frames on paper, cutting them out, and taping them to the wall according to whatever picture hanging ideas you’ve got. This will help you get a visual of the frame placement before you commit to putting holes in the wall.
Think about your frame styles as well. You can get away with grouping many different kinds of frames together, but matching things like color and material will help achieve a more cohesive look. Try not to mix modern and antique frames unless they happen to compliment each other (most don’t). It’s also difficult to blend round frames with angled frames, so give that some consideration as well before you start drilling.
10 Picture hanging ideas to suite any style
1. Salon style
Salon style is one of the more freeform picture hanging ideas, but it’s also one of the most difficult to accomplish. Salon style means a group of pictures hung in no particular pattern on a single wall. When finished, they won’t be a perfect rectangle, nor will the images necessarily line up with one another. However, if it’s done properly, the result is a beautiful arrangement that’s appealing without being patterned.
2. Flexible grid pattern
A flexible grid pattern is a great compromise between structure and freeform. With this, your photos are arranged in gridded areas, which ultimately make up one large rectangle. The arrangement still looks a little mismatched, but when viewed as a whole, most people will notice (and appreciate) the broader structure.
3. Alternate color and gray scale
If you’ve got black and white photos as well as color photos, alternating between them creates an appealing visual. Picture hanging ideas like this one work best with a gridded pattern, usually with like-sized frames, but done thoughtfully, it can work with almost any structure.
4. Clothes pins and paper clips
Using a clip to hang photos from a line along a wall falls among the more artistic picture hanging ideas. The result may look a little unkempt, but done well, it makes for a great collage of family memories. We especially recommend this one with black and white or low-resolution photos, like Polaroids.
If you have a bunch of square frames that are the same size and style, arranging them together to form a larger square is a very attractive option. You can even do it multiple times on the same wall, as long as you have a number of photo frames that’s divisible by four.
6. Antique frames
One of the few ideas that involves frames of all different shapes and styles is to use antique frames. The rustic look of these frames makes the mismatch more endearing and somehow more pleasing to the eye. The rule here is that if you’re going to go with mismatched antique frames, don’t try to slip something modern in there.
7. Incorporate into other artwork
To add a little flare to your photo wall, include other artwork. For example, if your photos are all family portraits, paint a tree on the wall and hang the pictures on the branches to show generational progression. Or, if you’re hanging pictures of birds, paint the wall sky blue with clouds. This is a bolder, more intensive idea, but it can be a lot of fun with the right combination.
8. Single frame collage
Overlapping multiple photos into a single picture frame creates a busy visual that family and friends will love searching through to find the different moments you’ve captured in a single place. This works best with pictures of family members through the years.
9. Multicolored mattes
Another bold idea is to use the same frames, but different color mattes in each one. There’s something appealing about combining the identical with the varied, especially since you’ll have so much color splashed onto your layout this way.
10. Picture shelf
Though it’s a little more work, a picture shelf is not only nice to look at, but it allows you more flexibility to add or remove photos over time. For this, you’ll need additional tools and resources to install the shelves, but once you’ve done that, you’re free to frame and place pictures of any shape or size without the burden of having to otherwise design your layout.
If you still need a few ideas, here are some of our favorite framed art pieces:
The 15 Minutes Framed Art Print is a colorful and whimsical addition to any wall.
Make your wall a historical monument with the American Moon Landing Framed Art Print.
The Manhattan Transit Canvas Art Print brings a sophisticated metropolitan flair into any room.