An electric array of framed photographs dresses up an otherwise plain wall.

How to Display Picture Frames on a Wall

by Kris Gleba

Photographs capture the best and the worst moments, such as your high school graduation or the frizzy home permanent you gave yourself the night before. Fortunately -- or not -- these moments are forever frozen. Displaying these images in frames alongside flattering and funny photos of your family lets your house guests learn more about you and your family. But some pictures serve as a warning that no matter how much home-hair products have changed, a permanent is never something to tackle alone!

Getting Started

No matter what configuration you decide on, you must start by hanging your first picture. Determine the center of the wall where you wish to hang your frame. Position the frame at eye level, which some experts say is approximately 48 inches from the floor; other designers say it is 57 inches. Place the frame at both heights, and decide which height -- or any height you like -- works best for you. Make a small pencil mark on the wall where the top of the frame will lie. Next, measure the position of the nail hole by measuring the space from the top of the frame to the hook or hanging wire. Measure that distance on the wall and make another pencil mark. Hammer in the nail and hang the frame. Confirm that the frame is level.

Stairwell Gallery

Create an orderly procession of framed pictures on your stairwell, aligning each picture with a step. Use this kind of display with photographs that show a progression, such as your children's yearly school photos or of you with your youngest child on his first day of kindergarten. Make the frames part of the progression, starting small on the bottom step and gradually getting bigger as the steps rise. Use frames that are either the same color, like black, or the same material, such as oak.

As a Grid

Display your photographs in a grid, such as forming a pattern of three framed photographs wide by three framed photographs tall, totaling nine photographs in all. Alternatively, create a grid that tells a chronological story, such as baby's first steps, your most recent mountain hike, or cellphone photos of the mountain of laundry you tackled. Create another grid that showcases your family and your creativity with a grid of black-and-white photographs, with one edited photograph in the center, or a grid with black-and-white photos with black mattes and one black-and-white photograph with a red matte in the center. When creating a grid, use lightweight plastic frames with either thin or non-existent borders that won't interfere with the visual story and aren't too heavy for the wall to bear.

Personal Gallery

Put your large collection of mismatched frames to work as your own personal gallery on an accent wall. Designate one framed picture as the focal point and hang it in the center of the wall. Create an art gallery-inspired look and hang a symmetrical row of similar frames with either black-and-white or color photographs. Throw a sense of confusion into the mix and create an eclectic display by hanging a wide variety of frames in different colors, styles and materials featuring various hued photographs plus your children's artwork. Amplify the whimsy with empty frames and framed mirrors.

About the Author

Lowell, Massachusetts-based writer Kris Gleba has been writing home decor articles since 2008. She enjoys all aspects of small home living, from complete gut remodels to ingenius home decorating that incorporates style and function. She has previously written for the “Athol Daily News.” She holds a degree in professional writing from Fitchburg State University.

Photo Credits

  • Goodshoot RF/Goodshoot/Getty Images