Hanging wall art and other decor is a great way to elevate the room’s aesthetic, but sometimes it can leave you wondering where to even start. The walls in any space provide a sprawling blank canvas for interior design, and changing your mindset about this task can make all the difference. It is possible to hang wall art without hassle or frustration!

A piece of abstract art above a dark brown couch to demonstrate where to hang wall art

Knowing more about both measurement and design may actually have you looking forward to furnishing your vertical space. By equipping yourself with some handy tips, you can go from thinking about how to hang wall art with dread to arranging your artwork with confidence.

Consider the Room and Its Purpose Before You Hang Wall Art

Wall decor in a bathroom to demonstrate how to hang wall art

Not all wall art is going to work in every space. A large mirror in an office may prove distracting, while you may find a simple watercolor in your living room gets lost among the rest of your decor. 

The first thing to consider when you’re ready to hang wall art is the entire room, including what it will be used for and its style. Decide ahead of time whether you’re looking to incorporate bold designs or more subtle accents. 

Are you leaning toward Art Deco, contemporary, or something in between? The answers to these questions will inform your decisions moving forward. Think of this as the jumping-off point.

Land on a Color Palette

A wall hanging with complementary colors to the wall color to demonstrate what to consider before you hang wall art

Once you have a better sense of the space and its aesthetic, you’ll want to consider the room’s color palette next. Neutrals are a safe option, but for a more daring design, consider pulling a complementary color from the artwork itself.

When you hang wall art, you don’t want the art and walls to compete. They should bring out the best in one another. To avoid colors clashing or a wall color that overwhelms the art, consult an expert at your local paint store. They are likely well-versed in color theory and can offer tips on how the paint colors may appear in varying levels of natural lighting and other helpful considerations. 

Determine the Room’s Focal Point

When you step into your room, what do you immediately see? What area of the space are your eyes immediately drawn to?

If it’s a major, permanent feature such as a fireplace or French doors, then you’ll want to be sure to hang wall art in a way that doesn’t try to compete with these larger structures. On the other hand, if your eye is immediately drawn to a large, windowless wall, then this is the perfect opportunity to turn your wall art into the focal point.

The key here is finding balance. It is possible to have too much of a good thing.

Take Some Measurements

Eyeballing measurements and using guesswork when hammering a nail into the wall will only get you so far. If you want to hang wall art the right way on the first try, it’s going to take a bit of prep work. Don’t worry, it will be worth it!

For an accent piece or wall art being hung on a generally empty wall, it’s best to hang it with its center 57 inches (145 centimeters) off the ground. There’s a good reason for this. 

As it turns out, this is the measurement of the average eye level and is the standard for art galleries and museums. You can also check out this more in-depth guide, which provides helpful formulas to ensure you get the measurements just right. 

Test it Out

There is an incredibly easy way to test out the size and location of your wall art without drilling any holes. Just mock up the piece using painters tape with the same measurements. 

It’s easy to apply and move around until you find the perfect spot. You can even use it to determine where to drill, taking much of the guesswork and painstaking measurements out of the process!

Equip Yourself with the Right Tools to Hang Wall Art

Not all wall art is created equal. Some frames are incredibly lightweight while some mirrors can weigh more than a small child. Because of this, there isn’t a standard list of tools that will get each hanging job done. 

Instead, you’ll have to consider the weight of the item, the material you’re hanging it on, and other factors as well. Is it right next to a heavy door that may cause a loosely hung painting to wobble? Is it going to be hung over a couch where people often sit right below?

Not every job is complicated. For instance, a framed 8×10 photo may only require a hammer and nail. However, heavier items should be given the utmost consideration when hanging. You don’t want to risk ruining your wall—or worse—someone getting hurt. This guide has a lot of useful information about how to hang art on different materials and the appropriate hardware to do so. 

Depending on the project, you may need one or more of the following items:

  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Nails or screws
  • Brackets
  • Anchors
  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Painters tape

The Secret Weapon to Securely Hang Wall Art

You may want to acquaint yourself with D-rings, because they can be game-changing when it comes to hanging wall art. Not only will they help the art to hang flatter to the wall, but they are more secure than alternatives like wires or sawtooth fixtures.

The downside to D-rings is that they don’t come standard on all wall hangings, but it’s relatively easy to install them into the back of the art yourself. Just be sure to check the weight limit before you buy.

Stop Procrastinating, Fill Your Walls

If you’ve put off decorating your walls because it feels like a daunting task, this is your sign to tackle this project. It takes some careful planning but is well worth the payoff. 

Use these tips to guide you through the process. Take it slow and remember to measure twice so you only have to put a hole in the wall once.