Tuesday 15 November 2011

Hanging Picture Groupings

Before you get into serious Christmas decorating, you want to finish up those pesky, little jobs you have been putting off because you know they will not be fun to do.  My least favourite thing to do in interior design is hanging a grouping of pictures.  It is time consuming and requires precision to achieve some sense of order to a grouping.

We had left a client with instructions on how to hang a large number of vintage family photos.  Realizing she was never going to get it done before the holiday season, she called my sister and I in to do the job.

We have learned a few tricks along the way to simplify the process and I'm happy to share them with you.

These pictures are different sizes and frame styles and have different types of hangers attached.  We started by laying them out on the (protected) dining room table and playing around with the layout. ~ 

The client told us she wanted some room left, within the grouping, for small pictures that hadn't been framed yet.  In the meantime, she'll fill the spaces with interesting embellishments.  We suggested hanging a set of skeleton keys, old pocket watch, etc. that she already owned.  

We use a dollar store tarp for a template.  Cut the tarp to the exact dimensions of the space you want to fill on the wall and lay the pictures out on the floor, in the chosen design. ~

I'd hoped the marks would show up better.  Dang!  I couldn't spend a lot of time taking close ups or the client would have been suspicious concerned about the time I was wasting.  Anyway, we mark all four corners of each picture, in marker, on the dropcloth. This allows us to replace the picture if it slips when we reach underneath to mark the hanger position on the dropcloth.  

The outer edges of the grouping form a rectangle or square.  That symmetry allows random placement of pictures within the rectangle to have a sense of order. ~

Move the frames off the tarp, keeping them in the same layout so you don't get confused when the time comes to hang them.

The tarp is rigid enough to hang straight on the wall and soft enough to be easily pierced by a hanger.  I didn't get a pic of the template hanging on the wall.  That would have been pushing it with the client for sure!  We hung the tarp on the wall with masking tape and checked the placement with a laser level.

The nail part of a hanger was used to puncture the tarp wherever we had a magic marker mark for a hanger.  Remove the tarp and start putting in whatever kind of hanger each frame requires.  ~

The centre piece is a family tree that still has to be filled out.  It's a biggy so good luck with getting that done in the next few weeks!

We hung another two pictures in an odd nook in the same room.  When we decorated this house we turned this area into a butler pantry by having a server made to fit the space.  ~

The tarp folds up nice and small and the client keeps the template.  If she repaints the room at any time, she can easily recreate the grouping.

Double check everything with the laser level and say, "thank heavens that job is done"!


  1. It looks great and I bet even better with the accessories you suggested.