The walls in your home aren’t just for holding up the ceiling, they’re bare canvasses aching to be covered in artistic designs. Whether you put up mirrors or pieces of art, or use the space for more industrial uses like shelves or coat hangers, there’s definitely a right way and wrong way to go about it. While it doesn’t seem like there’s that much technical know-how behind it, the difference between good and bad translates to hung material either looking professionally installed or like a child went crazy with a hammer and nails.
Think about Size and Perspective
Not all walls are created equal, and nor should they be. There are tall walls, short walls, half walls, oddly-shaped walls, curved walls, and walls with holes or windows in them. But what each of them has in common is a need to fit in with the rest of the home’s architecture, and this is where size and perspective come into play.
For example, if you live in an apartment or condo where space is at a premium, you probably don’t want to be hanging murals, person-sized mirrors, or art as big as The Last Supper. It’ll dwarf the rest of the space and make everything look off-kilter. Conversely, if you live in a huge house, hanging small things on the wall will only get lost in all that space.
Tip: Hang pictures at eye level, mirrors whose top sits 6” above the tallest person’s head (and angled slightly downward), coat racks about 6” above your head, and shelves at least halfway up from the floor (although staggering them in height upwards is also an excellent idea).
Invest in the Right Tools
There are two ways of hanging stuff on the walls: the easy way and the hard way. The hard way is when you show up for the task unprepared and have to make do with unnecessary difficulties, like risking damaging your drill because you don’t have the right bits. But with the right tools in place, you’ll be able to pull out a masonry bit because you know that’s what you need to drill through mortar and other tough materials.
Tip: Getting the right tools can be expensive, particularly for one-off jobs. While it’s a good idea to have your own for the job so you can pull them out whenever you need to, you can save money by renting equipment at your local hardware store, which will cost a lot less than actually buying them.
Work with What You’ve Got
An ideal world would be nailing things into easy-to-detect beams without ever having to worry about hollow spots or nails not being able to support what they’re hanging. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case and you will have to do a bit of extra work to find that perfect aesthetic-strength balance.
What this means is using enough nails to evenly distribute the weight of the art or mirror, figuring out what you want a shelf to hold, and if a coat rack is meant for spring jackets or cold-winter parkas. The last thing you want to happen is to hang one thing up and then have all your work come tumbling down, as well as leaving gaping holes in the wall that need to be repaired.
Tip: Use a stud finder for maximum strength, as studs are about 1.5” thick and spaced about 16” apart. If you can’t use a stud finder or have to nail in wherever, opt for screws and plastic screw anchors, which double the chances of it staying firmly in the wall without getting dragged out.
Hanging stuff around the home isn’t a complicated or lengthy task, but it does require you to follow a certain sequence to get it right. It also involves having the right equipment in place precisely to avoid making it a complicated or lengthy job, but it really just boils down to the three tips mentioned in this article.