Advice for Hanging Paintings
I enjoyed your video on Harmon-Meek Gallery Instagram of Juliana showing her hanging supplies in her purse. What is your advice for hanging paintings?
Dear Hanging On,
We are glad you enjoyed the video. Juliana recorded it after installing a work by Hunt Slonem at a client’s home. When she stepped into the home, the client asked if she needed a hammer, and she replied nope, it’s in her purse! All the tools you need to hang a work of art could fit in a purse. No need for extra gizmos. It can be a simple, and not something to stress about with a few insider tips from an art dealer…
Framers tend to use d-ring hooks with one on each side of the work. We suggest requesting your framer use a wire instead. This will save you time in measuring since d-ring hooks require exact measurements for the picture hangers to line up evenly with each hook. With a wire, there is more forgiveness in the process.
Always use two picture hangers, not just one, even on a small or light-weight painting. The painting will shift too easily with just one hanger. We use nails and hangers that are made in Germany. They are smaller, thinner nails than what you normally see, but the weight is distributed across more nails. The long, thick nails tend to dig into the drywall over time. It is better to use picture hangers with a varying number of nails based on weight of the painting (heaviest paintings get the hangers with three nails, lightest just one nail). We order the nails and hangers in bulk, but you can find similar hangers at your local hardware store.
Once you have selected the spot for your painting, you will want to center it in the location. There is no hard rule on height though. It is based on the comfort level to your eye. Be sure to sit in nearby seats to test how it looks from different angles while your spouse holds up the work in its approximate placement. We tend to hang lower in dining and living rooms since you will be viewing the work seated and higher in hallways and foyers since you will be standing viewing the work.
When you are ready to measure, use a tape measure to find the exact center point and mark with a pencil. Since we recommend using two nail hangers, measure 2-8 inches on either side of your center mark for a total of 4 -16 between picture hangers (closer together for small works, further apart for larger).
If you need an exact height, for example above a credenza, there is a trick: hold the wire taught using your index fingers 4-16 inches apart so that your fingers are mimicking each nail hanger. Ask your spouse to measure from the taught wire to the bottom of the painting. Then find where you want the bottom of the painting to be in conjunction to the credenza, for example 6 inches above the credenza. Add the measurement from the back of the painting to the 6 inches and that is the height where the bottom of the nail hangers should be placed.
Of course, the easiest way to hang a painting is to purchase a work from Harmon-Meek Gallery and we will install the work free of charge for you locally or within a couple hours of the Naples area.