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Hanging pictures: ideas that make an impression

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image showing white living room with pink colour accents and large display of pictures on the wall
Hanging pictures is not that easy – but with our tips, you won’t go wrong.

There they are – all of your photos. Each one has a suitable frame ... but you have no idea how best to hang them! Somehow your wall doesn’t look the way you hoped … No problem. With the picture-hanging examples below, we’ll help you to skilfully show off your artwork and mementos – no matter how much space you have.

1. Going solo

Do you have a statement picture you want to hang by itself on the wall? In technical jargon, this is what we call a soloist. This kind of picture is easy to hang – it can be placed anywhere on the wall, as it doesn’t have to follow any lines or other pictures. Depending on where you want to hang it, you can position a soloist centrally over the couch, a chest of drawers or on an otherwise empty wall.

2. Series/triptych

image showing a series/triptych of pictures hung on a wall
Series/triptych

If you have an image divided across three separate frames, this is called a triptych. When hanging this type of image, it’s traditional to hang three frames side by side. However, you can also create a series and place five or six sections of an image side by side. Just look at your picture and see what you can make of it. Remember: the individual images must be correctly sized and aligned. We recommend hanging triptychs edge to edge with narrow spacing in between.

3. Hang your pictures in a row

  • Hanging pictures centrally in a line
    Hanging pictures centrally in a line
  • Hanging pictures above a line
    Hanging pictures above a line
  • Hanging pictures below a line
    Hanging pictures below a line

If you want to hang your pictures in a row, you have three options: 1) hang them centrally along a line, 2) hang them above a line or 3) hang them below a line. Before you take to the wall with a hammer and nails, it’s important to think about how you want to arrange your pictures. Next, either draw a straight line using a pencil and spirit level or attach a piece of string to the wall using two bits of tape. Now align the pictures as you see fit. If you’re hanging the pictures above the line, make sure you leave enough room between the pictures and the ceiling. If you’re hanging the pictures below the line, you also need to leave enough space below them. We recommend that you position the line high up the wall to make sure your pictures don’t end up resting on the couch!

4. Arrange your pictures inside a frame

Arranging pictures inside a frame
Arranging pictures inside a frame

Hanging pictures inside a frame is ideal for collections of photos in different sizes. Draw a shape on the wall or outline the shape with masking tape, which you can easily remove later. The shape you choose is entirely up to you, for example, you can create a rectangle, square or triangle. Now decide which picture will go where. Remember: the outline you made on the wall should contain all of your pictures (including the picture frames) so that the shape is easily recognisable. It’s okay if there are large gaps in the middle of the shape.

5. Grid/geometric layout

Hanging pictures in a grid/geometric layout
Hanging pictures in a grid/geometric layout

When hanging pictures in a grid/geometric layout, it’s important to use frames of the same size. The frames should be hung edge to edge and be evenly spaced. Ideally, the pictures should also be the same size and shape to match the frames. A geometric layout will create a calming ambience and accentuate your pictures.

6. Petersburg layout

Petersburg layout for hanging pictures
Petersburg layout

The Petersburg layout is all about organised chaos. Basically, it doesn’t matter if the pictures don’t match or if all the frames are different. Instead, it’s important that all the pictures have something in common. This could be a recurring item in each picture. All of the pictures could form part of a passe-partout. Or all of the frames could be the same thickness, or all the pictures the same shape.

7. Picture gallery

Of course, pictures don’t always have to be hung on the wall. Why not add a narrow picture rail to the wall? Then you can simply place your pictures on top. It looks especially good if the pictures are all different sizes and overlap a little. You can also add other decorative items to the picture rail.