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How to Arrange Pictures on a Wall

Updated on August 31, 2016

You’re tired of staring at those blank walls and think it’s time to put some of your framed artwork and photos to good use. Good for you! Nothing warms up a room like tastefully decorated walls. But where to start?

Do some planning before hanging a group of pictures.
Do some planning before hanging a group of pictures. | Source

Many people are stumped when it comes to determining how to decorate room walls with pictures. If you have a number of smaller prints and photos, creating just the right groupings can be a nightmare if you don’t do some advanced planning. Coming up with visually pleasing arrangements beforehand is the key to creating artful, interesting wall displays

Here are some proven techniques for decorating your walls with pictures. They will surely help get your decorating juices flowing!

Symmetrical picture arrangements are pleasing to the eye.
Symmetrical picture arrangements are pleasing to the eye. | Source

Symmetrical Placement

Symmetry and balance is my middle name. After all, I am a Libra. I rarely stray from symmetrical picture arrangements in my home. This placement is ideal for a collection of images that are the same or similar in size or subject matter. Space your pictures at equal intervals along and around a center axis or point.

If you have a group of pictures that are identical in size and subject matter, such as botanical prints, consider using a symmetrical grid pattern to create a dramatic display. A collection of multiple framed pictures has the same impact as a single large image. Get out your level, pencil and tape measure and plot our your placement on the wall!

Asymmetrical picture arrangements look spontaneous.
Asymmetrical picture arrangements look spontaneous. | Source

Asymmetrical Arrangement

You can really get creative with an asymmetrical arrangement of pictures on your wall. Go through your photos and prints picking out your favorites. Use pictures of any size, shape, color and subject matter for an asymmetrical arrangement.

Although this type of picture arrangement looks totally spontaneous, it does take a bit of planning to create order out of chaos. Keep in mind you need to hang your pictures in a way to balance the visual weight vertically and horizontally.

You could use a trial and error approach, but you run the risk of making unnecessary holes in the wall. Play it safe by arranging your pictures on the floor and making any adjustments before hanging them on the wall.

Stairway Montage

Walls along stairways are often overlooked when it comes time to hang pictures. You travel up and down the stairs many times during the course of a day. In some homes, a staircase is the focal point of a room, or at least visible to other rooms. Don’t let this potential picture display space go to waste! Surely you have many family photos available – vintage and current – to create a family gallery.

Create a family picture gallery in your stairway.
Create a family picture gallery in your stairway. | Source

As with any asymmetrical arrangement, a stair step display requires some thought and rough measurements. Create a straight line (with a string and finishing nails), following the angle of your stairs. Use this line to arrange the first “row” of pictures. This row should contain pictures that carry the most visual weight. You can use a variety of picture sizes. Just make sure the line runs diagonally (or as close to it), through each picture.

Continue by hanging your other pictures above and below the first line of pictures, making sure they follow the rise of the stair steps. Maintain consistent spacing between the pictures – both horizontally and vertically.

Shelf or Ledge Display

Not that handy with a level and measuring tape? Not to worry. Get a family member or neighbor to help install simple floating shelves to serve as picture ledges. You don’t have to worry about the exact placement of pictures – you can change them out and rearrange them to suit your decorating whims.

Mix and match picture sizes, frame styles and mats. Just lean your pictures up against the wall, stand back and admire your decorating skills! You can wrap the shelves along an inside corner to create a picture nook. Or, install two or three levels of shelves to create and entire wall display.

Use ledges as an easy way to rotate pictures.
Use ledges as an easy way to rotate pictures. | Source

To keep your pictures from slipping off the shelves, use tiny bits of double-sided picture tape to secure them in place. Another option is to purchase actual picture ledges that feature a raised edge along the front to keep pictures on the ledge, and off the floor!

Unified groupings consist of similar colors, mats and frames.
Unified groupings consist of similar colors, mats and frames. | Source

Unified Grouping

Unified groupings of pictures also appeal to my need for organization and cohesiveness. A unified grouping works equally well in casual or formal rooms. Here’s a great example: unify a collection of black and white prints with matching mats and identical frames.

The pictures themselves don’t necessarily have to be the same size. Utilizing like image colors, mats and frames will unite the group. Include other types of wall décor that pick up the black and white theme. You can use any one of the above techniques to display your unified grouping.

Great Picture Hanging Tips!

© 2012 lindacee

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    • spartucusjones profile image

      CJ Baker 5 years ago from Parts Unknown

      Very practical and informative hub. Good use of visual aids as well. As someone who is a bit challenge when it comes to home décor, I found this hub to be quite useful.

    • Riverfish24 profile image

      Riverfish24 5 years ago from United States

      Lovely Hub Lindacee, I simply love pictures and have them all over my home. You have provided very helpful tips and I plan to make use of the Asymmetrical one. We also used the 'sure grip' for placing our papyrus frames one below the other diaginally, it was very helpful to have that laser measuring tool.

    • greeneryday profile image

      greeneryday 5 years ago from Some tropical country

      Informative hub, and inspiring. I am thinking of decorating my room's wall with base after reading this hub.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      I thought I commented on this hub but don't see my comment here. This is a very useful hub, especially for me. I've been trying to decide how to arrange a picture wall and you've given some really good information. Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      @Spartucus, thanks for the nice feedback! I'm trying to incorporate more in the way of visual aids. Don't know that I'll ever get to the point of doing my own instructional videos, however. Glad you enjoyed!

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks so much for reading my Hub Riverfish! I too love pictures on the walls -- I have so many, it's easy for me to get carried away. I have become more selective and manage not to fill up all the available wall space! I've got to order a Sure Grip for picture hanging tasks just like you mentioned. It's not easy to get them lined up.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      greeneryday, glad I could provide some inspiration today. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      Tillsontitan, picture walls can be a bit intimidating. You have to let me know how it turns out. I do so appreciate your comment and votes. Thanks!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I am thinking of hanging some pictures above my stairs this summer. You idea to tape out a pattern will work for me in getting just the right look. Thanks for posting this one.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks teaches! Yes, the stairs can present problems, but using the layout technique I mentioned should make the job much easier! I'm glad you stopped by to read and comment!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

      I like the unified grouping idea! I have a little collection of water-color paintings. I think I might frame three or four of them, and hang them up in my office. Thanks for the inspiration, lindacee!

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      Om, happy to help! I think a unified grouping would be a great way to showcase your watercolor paintings!

    • Robert Erich profile image

      Robert Erich 5 years ago from California

      This is an AWESOME article. I have seen people use pictures and simple designs to decorate walls before and they look great. I will certainly have to look into how I can incorporate this more. Thanks for this fantastic hub.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks, Robert! And here's a tip I forget to mention in the Hub: always remember to hang your art at eye level. Sounds like you're going to be busy with repairs and decorating for a while! Have fun with it!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

      What fun ideas! I love houses that have stairway montages- they're so much fun to gaze at while transitioning from one floor to another. I'm also big on asymmetrical picture display- it's a fun way to interrupt all the straight lines and right angles in a room.

      Fabulous Hub!

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      Simone, I have always loved decking the walls with pictures! Right now I have few walls and many pictures (most of which are in storage). Soon it will be time to move into a place with big, expansive walls -- and a stairway so I can go crazy with artwork! Thanks for the comment and complement!

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks for the comment, Buyers Guide! And thanks as well for the vote and share. You are welcome!

    • xcubist profile image

      xcubist 5 years ago

      So nice to have stumbled on this, looks like I know how I can help the wife out with all those leftover scrap booking and kids school pictures this weekend. Asymmetrical and unified groupings are in order for a couple of our walls tomorrow. Voted up and useful!

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      Yea! I am happy you found this Hub as well! Looks like you have your Saturday projects planned. Have a great weekend! Thanks for the comment and votes!

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 4 years ago from Arizona

      HouseBuyersUS, enjoy these guidelines and have a good time decorating your walls!

    • profile image

      KatySte 2 years ago

      Very informative, fun ideas thanks !

      I like the idea of putting up all the old artwork of my little brother. I will certainly have to look into how I can incorporate this more.

      Me and my roommate have found this decoration quite nice for our room.

      its basicly for free and it gives the room a better vibe.

      very useful thanks again!

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 2 years ago from Arizona

      So glad you liked these ideas, KatySte! Hope you can incorporate them into your home. Thank you for reading this Hub and leaving a comment!

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