Wonder walls: Our favourite tips for hanging pictures

We take the stress out creating a gorgeous gallery wall with these great picture hanging ideas.

Updated

wall picture composition

Nothing makes a house a home like pictures on the wall: holiday snaps, fun family photos, polaroids from weddings and events; all of these personalise your space and add life and colour in a way little else can. Getting started with gallery walls can be daunting though – do it wrong, and you’ll end with lots of wonky frames and holes. But get it right, and you’ll have a space that really brings the wow factor.

First things first, it’s important to understand how to arrange pictures on a wall. Here are 3 fool-proof tips:

  1. Make sure you have one large piece to serve as an anchor. Sticking to just small and mid-size frames will lead to an overly cluttered looking wall. Starting with a large piece also makes it easier to create a slick gallery wall, as you can play around with positioning the smaller frames around it.
  2. Before you start hanging your picture frames, do a test run either by laying them out on the floor and experimenting with the arrangements until you find something you like (if you’re feeling short of inspiration, there are lots of layout ideas online).
  3. Then, create paper duplicates of your frames (using old newspaper or wrapping paper) and pin these up on the wall using masking tape to finalise the positioning. Make sure the distance between each frame is uniform and that the edges are at ninety-degree angles to each other (it also helps to have nice clean walls to hang your pictures on.).

Photo display ideas for walls: rethink those family snaps

  • Keeping things looking cohesive can be tricky when you have photos spanning many years. A great pro trick is to put them all in frames of the same size and style but with mounts cut to fit each photo. This way, you don’t have to sacrifice any beloved pics, but the overall look is sleek and elegant.
  • Try to make sure the photos aren’t too similar; maybe mix a pulled back family shot with a close-up portrait, a framed piece of kid art and a gorgeous vintage pic of grandma for an eclectic wall that will be interesting and enjoyable to look at.
  • If you have a bit of a random mish-mash of photos taken at different times and in different lighting conditions, create a clean, streamlined look by printing them in black and white.

Alternative picture hanging ideas

  • If frame-hanging sounds like a bit too much faff, a lovely and simple idea for displaying pictures on your wall involves nothing more than a large branch, some twine and some beloved photos (the smaller the better – those cute instant Polaroid-style snaps are perfect). Simply clean the branch (we like eucalyptus as the leaves will dry out beautifully) and, depending on the width, hang 2-3 pieces of twine along it. Then, attach 2-3 photos to each piece of string using tape affixed to the back of the photo. You can then either rest the branch across two evenly spaces nails or use clear, removable Command hooks (as it will be fairly light). The nice thing about this arrangement is that it’s easy to swap out the pics – perhaps go for holiday photos during the summer or add pics from Christmases past for a fun, festive display.
  • Another great photo display idea for your walls that doesn’t involve too much measuring is to opt for picture ledges. Not only do these cut down on the amount of levelling and hammering, but they also give you lots more flexibility when it comes to picture display options: you can add in unframed snaps, record sleeves and even small decorative objects like a tiny bud vase or a vintage camera.
  • Finally, there are now very handy magnetic wood frames available that don’t involve glass at all and literally snap on and off. These are great for larger prints that would otherwise be expensive to frame, or for displaying a rotating gallery of kids’ art.

Originally published