Strategies for Picture Hanging. Help!

There it is-one of the primary conundrums with which one is inevitably encountered on moving into a new house or apartment: which pictures to hang, and where?

There's a huge threshold to be crossed before one can bring oneself to the dramatic moment of actually digging up a hammer and poking a hole into the otherwise virginal (at least, in that particular spot) paint or wallpaper. How can one be sure the picture, poster or painting is going to look good there? How can you know before you actually make that leap, damage the wall, and hang the damn thing up?

What we've found is that we're hopelessly unable to cross that threshold. We do half-measures by poking nails into pre-existing holes (of which there are zillions in our house) and hanging paintings there. But the paintings never sit quite exactly where we want them-at least, given the current position of our various items of furniture, which we can never entirely decide on either.

Thus we are perpetually stuck in a wall-décor limbo, a catch-22 of interior decorating. Things won't look finished until we get the pictures up, but we won't know how to finish things until the pictures are up.

Anyone have any ideas on good strategies for dealing with this problem? Should one just bite the bullet, make the holes, hang the pictures and hope for the best? Perhaps affix some sort of temporary solution in proposed hanging positions, like large slabs of construction paper, to get a general feel for the spatial layout on the walls? Anyone?


Picture this...

Good question and indeed it is a dilemma we all face at one point or another. According to the wife (who is having me transcribe this for her royal highness), she just read an article about this which suggested grouping photos/pics on one wall rather than evenly spaced all around the room (saves on nail holes in 3 walls at least).

If you do want them on every wall around the room, we generally follow the rule keeping either the tops or the bottoms in a horizontally consistent line around the room.

Use one of these rotary laser level if you have it laying around or you can borrow it from a buddy that is a mason or does a lot of tiling (Just measure off the laser line to where the nail would be needed to hang it at lvl):

I don't know

This question is a little old, so I may be wasting your space, which I may be doing anyway.

If your pictures (hangings) aren't very heavy, then you might try something called Handitak.
I'm not sure what it'd be called in your country. It's a puddy-like substance that's tacky (hence the name).
It won't hold a lot of weight, but if you abuse the usage then you might be able to get your stuff on the wall long enough to find out how it'll look before pounding holes.

It's great for light stuff, such as posters, and small things. It doesn't dry out - supposedly.
I used it to hang several small picture frames (glassless) on my wall well over a year ago, and they're still in place.

Might be worth looking for.
And it's cheap, too.

Oh - for spatial layouts, you might try masking tape.

All excellent suggestions

and heartfelt thanks to you both. As it happens, I had a sudden burst of inspiration this weekend and started hanging things, using a blend of the highly scientific "eyeball technique" and guestimation, and with no particular strategy in mind other than to achieve a harmonious balance between the furniture, the motifs, and the shapes and sizes of the artwork. Worked out pretty well! Photos will probably follow...

Out of curiosity and for future reference

I'm quite unskilled with anything that doesn't do all the work after pushing the 'on' button, but I'm wondering if you could somehow layout your groupings on the floor, take pictures, then project them onto the wall.

You could project about anything. You could also project and trace designs, outlines; Smurfs and Mickey Mouse. Heh.
Anyone experienced with projectors?

Waiting for those photos ...