How to hang pictures on your walls properly

, How to hang pictures on your walls properly, The Evepost News

One of the quickest possible ways of enhancing and personalising a space is with art: everything from kids’ drawings to old masters, photographs and maps, cheap prints and car boot specials, commissioned pieces and things you’ve had hanging on the walls for so long you’ve forgotten where they came from.

Sometimes we limit the impact a picture can have by hanging it in the wrong place. Or we might feel intimidated about hanging our collections at all, because we don’t feel our pieces are very “good”. Well, stop right there with that nonsense. With just a little thought, you can find the right spot for any piece, and banish any ideas about “quality”. If you love it, hang it. Sometimes these more modest sorts of pictures are better hung in groups: their being filtered through your taste and your eye is what gives them charm and impact.

How to hang pictures up

There are rules about this, but let’s just ignore those for now because there is no greater and more reliable guide than your own eye. Trust your judgment. Be playful. Experiment. You will know when you’ve got it right, but here are a few guidelines from me.

The biggest mistake people make is hanging pictures too high. They should be roughly eye level, so you can really enjoy the detail. If you are hanging a group of pictures together, put your favourite or most interesting painting at eye level in the middle of the group.

When hanging pictures in groups, you should arrange them first on the floor until you have the combination you like. Pay attention to the distance between each piece. People often hang things too far apart. This is particularly unfortunate with groups of small paintings as it makes them look bitty and insubstantial. Then comes the very boring part with tape measures, drills, hammers and hooks, but it is certainly worth all of the trouble you take at this point to get it right.

Pay close attention to the weight of a piece and make sure whatever materials you are using to hang it are up to the job.

By all means use a spirit level to make sure everything is straight, but trust your eye above all else. If you live in an old house, you will know all about uneven floors and walls and oddly tilting door and window frames. Just because it is straight, doesn’t mean it looks straight. I know from my own house that if I use a spirit level on the pictures in the dining room to make them technically straight, they all look as though they are tilting left.

As a piece of house maintenance, though, get into the habit of ensuring things always look straight. Wonky pictures have an unsettlingly neglected air about them.

Keep your home decor fresh

Our houses can get stale, and I’m not just talking about forgetting to open the windows. Furniture and decorative objects remain in the same places year after year, until you either get sick of seeing them or fail to see them at all.

This is certainly the case with pictures and photographs. Take a good look at everything you have on your walls, tables and shelves. Take your pictures down to make it easier to assess them out of context. Try to imagine you are seeing them for the first time. Pay attention to the colours and the textures, the shape and finish of the frames. Is there anywhere else you could hang them? Would pictures that have been in groups perhaps benefit from a bit of alone time? Are you seeing new possible pairings? Tastes change over time – do you still love them?

Give everything a thoughtful appraisal. Sometimes, hanging a picture in a new place helps you to fall in love with it all over again.

Make albums

We don’t just have to hang photographs to enjoy them. We have never taken more pictures, nor cherished them less.

, How to hang pictures on your walls properly, The Evepost News

During lockdown, I amused myself by putting some favourites into albums and it has brought me more pleasure than I could have imagined. I highly commend it as an enjoyable activity for this autumnal summer we are enduring. Papier creates beautiful, personalised albums from £35 – you simply upload the pictures you want and choose the design.

But I do love an album you can stick things in yourself. Paperchase has self-adhesive raft albums from £15, and John Lewis sells 60-page albums with glassine tissue page protectors in pleasing shades of khaki, plum, navy and neutral, for £30.

Dear Debora…your questions answered

, How to hang pictures on your walls properly, The Evepost News


Every week, Telegraph columnist Debora Robertson answers your home dilemmas


Credit: Clara Molden for The Telegraph

Dear Debora,

We live on a busy road and have venetian blinds that seem to get really dirty. What’s the best way to clean them?

– James Gilbert, Stroud

Dear James,

A microfibre cloth is the best way to remove most of the dust, working from the top down so that the dust falls on to slats you’re about to clean anyway. I have a friend who fixed microfibre cloths on to both arms of a set of kitchen tongs with rubber bands and used them to grip the slats as she worked across the blind. I have also, on occasion, put my hand in a clean sock in the manner of a dirt-busting sock puppet, and quickly whipped it along, gathering the dust as I go. Do this regularly to stop the dirt and dust building up.

If they are very dirty, dip the sock or the microfibre cloth into a bowl of hot, soapy water and wring it out well before proceeding as above. Dry them well immediately afterwards, particularly if the slats are wooden.

Top tips from readers 

Every week, our expert lends the floor to our readers; this week, Sue Ajax-Lewis in Walberton, West Sussex, has a clever way to clean your saucepans.

, How to hang pictures on your walls properly, The Evepost News


Bicarbonate of soda can work wonders on saucepan stains


Credit: Getty

“When steaming vegetables, if you are left with a cloudy film or ring around the saucepan when you have removed the steamer, tip a couple of tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda into the cooking water. It will foam up dramatically. Leave it to cool and voilà: a nice shiny pan that you can then wash normally.”

Do you have a question for Debora or a domestic tip to share? Email her at [email protected]