Our favourite pictures say a lot about us. For some of us, our personalities are reflected in beautiful photos of foreign travel. Others like to fill their homes with pictures of loved ones and special memories. And some of us are slogan people, who likes our dreams to be spelled out in big motivational quotes.
But let’s be honest, how many of us get around to hanging up our treasured pictures? Lots of us feel too scared to even try. Pictures sit in boxes, on hard drives and lean against walls.
What do you need to hang pictures successfully? Confidence – and a plan.
Pictures should never look apologetic. One tiny picture sitting on its own in the middle of the wall is always going to look lost.
Try to think about your pictures in terms of groups. Little families of pictures that will work together on your walls and really make an impact. A collection which really tells a story about you, your memories and your dreams.
What do you want to hang on your wall?
You want your pictures to evoke emotions. Be brave and choose subjects with personal meaning.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on one-off pieces of art. The key is to choose a combination of pictures that will be unique to you. Combine a print from the high street with a beautiful photo you took on holiday. Frame a bit of memorabilia you’ve had for years – a concert poster, or a collection of postcards. Choose simple frames in black, white or natural wood – this combination will always work together, or alone.
How do you decide where to hang things?
Hanging pictures as a group can seem tricky – but think twice before you go for the easy option of a completely random arrangement.
Even if you don’t want a formal gallery-style display, the important thing is that you pay attention to how the pictures relate to one another. You can tell immediately whether an arrangement looks right or not by asking yourself whether your eye is drawn to the artwork or to the spaces between the frames.
Try setting out a group of pictures out on the floor before you start putting hooks in the wall. Or create paper templates the same size as your pictures and play around with them until you’ve got something you like. Don’t be tempted to rush the job.
A simple way to make any arrangement work is to keep a consistent ‘lane’ between frames – like this:
There’s a sense of proper order, but you can still put pictures anywhere you want within the system. It works on the stairs as well:
Getting a hook in exactly the right place
It can be tricky deciding where to put your hook so that the frame sits exactly where you want it to in your arrangement. Stretchy string tends to mean the picture hangs lower than you wanted it to. Luckily there’s an easy way to get it right.
Make a little pencil mark on the wall showing where the top of the picture needs to go. Then with the picture standing up on the floor, hook your tape measure (or finger) into the middle of the string or wire on the back and lift it slightly off the ground. Be careful you don’t drop it. It’s a good idea to do this over something soft!
You need to measure the distance from the top of the triangle of string to the top of the frame. The idea is to use the weight of the frame to stretch the string so that you can see how much the picture will sag down on the wall.
Measure the same distance down from your pencil mark on the wall… and that’s where you need to put the bottom of your hook. If you’re careful then it works every time.
Creating a gallery wall
A gallery wall is a wall covered in pictures. This can be as elegant, or as eclectic as you like. Stick to black and white photographs, and inspirational quotes – or let your imagination flow with a colourful rainbow of all your favourite things. It’s like a window into your soul.
Hallways and stairs are the perfect place to create your gallery wall. They’re usually uncluttered by furniture and your pictures can really do the talking. Put some thought into the way you arrange things.
Choose well, and you can make an immediate impact – whilst keeping the ability to add to your gallery over the years to come.