3 Biggest Mistakes When Hanging Pictures

How To Hang Artwork

by Alli

When it comes to wall decor, I’ve noticed the 3 biggest mistakes when hanging pictures. 

In my opinion, pictures and artwork complete a room. Wall decor reminds me of jewelry. You can read my jewelry tips here!

When you put on that gorgeous outfit, it needs a little something to take your look to the next level. That’s when you add a little bling to get the look you’re after.

Well, that is exactly what pictures/artwork does for a room.  Artwork finishes a room’s decor.


However, (you knew that was coming, didn’t you?) just like in wearing jewelry, there is an art to hanging pictures. Once you know the basics, you’re good to go.

I Have A Bad Habit . . .

I have a strange habit (probably more than one) of redecorating people’s homes . . . in my mind. It’s true.

I was once at a funeral in the cutest little chapel and before the funeral began, I had taken some obvious misses away from the decor and added some other elements to turn it into the most charming chapel. It just needed a few tweaks. Of course, it was all done in my mind!

I remember visiting a beautiful home once, but the furniture placement in the great room was all wrong. By the time I left, I had repositioned all of the furnishings . . . in my mind.

Here’s what I think are the 3 biggest mistakes when hanging pictures.

3 Biggest Mistakes when Hanging Pictures

1.  Placing the artwork too high on the wall

This is the most common mistake people make. And it just makes the entire room look unbalanced.  

Wall decor should (ideally) be at eye level. Who’s eye level? My rule is about 57″ – 60″ from the floor to the center of the art.  For rooms with high ceilings, artwork can be hung a little higher. Don’t make people look up to see your artwork.

I always hold artwork up against the wall (or get someone else to) while I step back to make sure it fits. I use a level to ensure that my pictures hang straight. Crooked pictures are a pet peeve of mine.

2.  Placing a small painting on a large wall

If you have large wall space and only have small pictures, hang a grouping of artwork. I always lay the grouping out on the floor and move them around until I find what works.

Don’t be afraid to mix things up. I usually make sure the grouping has one thing in common, like using the same color frames – all white or all black.

And then, I usually throw in an element of surprise. Just be sure and treat a grouping as one piece of art.

I love this gallery wall art from Pottery Barn

gallery wall art

3.  Not thinking outside the box.

Wall decor can be so much more than just paintings or pictures. Don’t be afraid to mix things up! And trust your eyes! If it doesn’t look right, readjust and try again.

Never be afraid to change things up seasonally or from room to room. That picture you thought would look great over your sofa and didn’t, may look awesome hanging above your bed.

Bonus Tip:  Pictures, artwork, and wall decor need not be expensive. Pay a visit to your local Homegoods, Ross, Target, and second-hand stores. And never leave without checking out the clearance aisle.

wall art behind a console table - 3 Biggest mistakes when hanging pictures

What’s your very favorite wall decor in your home?


DIYDanielle April 21, 2014 - 7:14 am

Thanks for the tips… I’m terrible at hanging art/pictures. Terrible. And my husband and I always argue over whose eyes we’re putting them up for, lol… so I’ll have to tell him the numbers. That’ll make him happy.

Alli April 21, 2014 - 7:43 am

I have a habit of wanting to rehang artwork . . . in other people’s homes. 🙂

DIYDanielle April 21, 2014 - 7:55 am

Lol, I can’t even imagine how appalled you’d be walking up our stairs. I really need to redo allllll the frames… and I’ve got about 20 and they’re all lopsided and different frames. Ugh. Haha.

Shirley Wood April 21, 2014 - 8:28 am

My husband is very serious about hanging things exactly right. He measures in every direction prior to hanging anything on the wall. I just enjoy his efforts 🙂 Heading over to enter the Giveaway now!!

Adrianne April 21, 2014 - 8:35 am

The too-high advice has served me well! I hang all our pictures, because I’m shorter. I actually laughed at my work not too long ago when we redecorated and the guys hung the bathroom mirrors. It was a fairly small mirror (in the small women’s room) – and I could only see my face (but not my neck) and lots and lots of ceiling. I don’t expect them to be pro decorators, but you have to take the person into account and not just the dimensions of the room.

And grouping can apply to more than just wall art, too! It’s easy to let the “rule” intimidate you when you only HAVE one piece of art you like for a large wall, but hanging with other room pieces (like over an accent table, near a chair) can still help it not to get lost.

All that said, I’d love for you to come redecorate my place, haha. I am NOT a natural at it, I need to read rules like this to help me!!!

Becka April 21, 2014 - 12:31 pm

This is great advice.. I guess I do need to do better than a couple of thumbtacks randomly place with pictures hung on them… I may need to work on that. Thanks for the encouragement!

kristinethefoleyfamblog April 21, 2014 - 2:09 pm

Great tips! I need to get stuff hung on our plain walls stat!

Jess April 21, 2014 - 11:04 pm

You have some great tips here!

Thanks for joining the Link Up this week!

Kristen from The Road to Domestication April 22, 2014 - 3:30 pm

Oh dear…I need you to come to my house and look at what I’ve done and see if it’s bad or not, Alli! LOL

Alli April 22, 2014 - 5:06 pm

Everything you do is awesome!

Amanda Smith April 22, 2014 - 11:14 pm

I will actually be needing new wall decor soon. We are going to be painting, getting new flooring and furniture in the living room soon. I’m excited to get to pick some new things out.

And I agree. #1 is the biggest mistake I see people making too.

Dawn ~ Spatulas On Parade April 23, 2014 - 8:16 am

I had to laugh, we are similar, I change ladies make up and hair (in my mind) and will most def. redecorate and paint their homes (in my mind)!
Good information here, thanks for sharing and linking up at The Southern Special.

Alli April 23, 2014 - 8:30 am

Glad I’m not the only one! Whew, I thought I was a little out there! 🙂

Sinea Pies May 2, 2014 - 10:36 am

Alli, I like mirrors. My daughter used to sell Celebrating Home products and I bought a huge round mirror that has decorative pieces in copper, gray and gold on the edges. Beautiful!

Alli May 2, 2014 - 11:12 am

I love mirrors! I bet yours is gorgeous!


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