Our Secret to Hanging Art Perfect Every Time

Home Stager with Synergy Staging ~ specializing in vacant home staging

Art and Mirrors are my favorite part of the staging process.  They bring a room to life and breathe an energy that is necessary for each space to feel complete.  Of course there are specific ways to hang art on a wall for the best look and feel, but this post isn't about that.  This blog is about speeding up your process to get your art hung straight.

Synergy Staging Portland Oregon       Synergy Staging Portland Oregon

We have used a Picture Plumb for hanging art ever since we started staging.  The same one in fact.  If you are not familiar with this tool you should be.  You simply hang the art on the hook on one side, place it on the wall where you want it, and press to make a small hole where your picture hanger will be placed.  This is not our secret!

Synergy Staging Portland Oregon

This tool works well, but not all art is created equal!  The back side of art and mirrors is always an adventure - from picture wires, picture rings, small holes, sawtooth hangers, etc.  Having a wire certainly makes hanging easier, but we find that most art has two rings on each side.  We've added wire, but that can be very time consuming and the pictures often get crooked over time.

With picture rings, using the picture plumb was also slow process as we'd put the picture up and use it to mark one side.  Then we'd take the picture down and hammer in the nail or picture hook.  Next we'd hang the picture on one side and then use the plumb to mark the other side.  Then we'd hammer in the other nail and stand back and hope it was straight.  If it wasn't straight, that meant moving one side up or down and creating another small hole in the wall.

Synergy Staging Portland Oregon       Synergy Staging Portland Oregon

Well, we had an incident where we were hanging a large mirror and our picture plumb broke.  Unfortunately the mirror went crashing to the ground and shattered, but luckily it didn't damage the wall in the process!  We couldn't be too upset as it had certainly served us well.  Since we had to order another one we figured we would get two just in case one broke again.


At our next staging we were hanging art and realized that we could use two picture plumbs at the same time!  Two people each take one side of the art while a third looks on and adjusts for placement.  This allowed us to not only hang the art perfectly straight the first time, but we could also put in both nails at once instead of having to do each one separately.  Now after putting in the nails the art is always straight and it moves the process along twice as quickly.

Of course there are other similar tools, and we are not endorsing the Picture Plumb, but just sharing our experience and what we have found that works best to hang art.

Do you have any picture hanging tips to share?


These vacant properties were staged by Synergy Staging.  Let us help you make your property picture perfect.  Please call us at (503) 557-2244 for a free no obligation quote.

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Donna J Stephens

good information. This is the first time I heard about the picture plumb tool. Thank you.

Jan 17, 2009 06:56 AM #1
Susan Peters
Dove Realty Inc. - Seattle, WA
The Better it Looks the Better it Sells

Hi David,

Thanks for bringing this technique to our attention. I can't tell yuou how many times I've struggled with large mirrors and artwork sans wire.


Jan 17, 2009 07:15 AM #2
David Peterson
Synergy Staging ~ specializing in vacant home staging - Portland, OR
Home Stager Portland OR-Synergy Staging-Portland Oregon

Donna ~ I'm glad the post was helpful.  You can do a Google search to find information if you want one.

Susan ~ Large pieces of art and mirrors can certainly be a struggle.  This doesn't make them any lighter - but at least makes the process go quicker.  Hope it helps you out.

Jan 17, 2009 11:38 AM #3

I use something similar but it is called the Hang & Level.It has a leveller at the top so you can be sure that the picture will be straight

Jan 17, 2009 11:46 AM #4
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging that Sells Portland Homes"

David ~ Thanks for the tip.  I have one Picture Plumb and have just ordered the second one, thanks to your advice.  What a great investment for $10!

Featured in the group Real World Home Staging for Newbies.

Jan 17, 2009 03:32 PM #5
Michele Hess
Simply Staged Inc. - Rockford, IL
Home Stager Rockford - Simply Staged Inc

Awesome tip David!  I will check it out too.  My family just gave me a Black and Decker Accumark level for Christmas and I love it.  You can adjust the orange circles to mark where the hangers are on the art and then transfer to wall.  Great for when there are hangers on each side of frame.

Black & Decker

Jan 17, 2009 10:55 PM #6
Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

Hi David, Thanks for the post. Why is it we never think of this ahead of time! LOL!

I too use something similar to your product and will now be getting a second one from Home Depot for $ 20.

Like Michele above, my family bought me a laser level for a gift and I use that when we have two people hanging at the same time in different rooms.

Jan 17, 2009 11:07 PM #7
Kathy Passarette
Creative Home Expressions - Mount Sinai, NY
L.I. Staging/Decorating

David ~ Good tip!  I'm going to look into the one you mention and revisit the Black & Decker one Michele H. mentions.

Jan 18, 2009 12:42 AM #8
Charles Wood
Brite Ideas Home Staging & Redesign - Sacramento, CA

Good information!  Where can I purchase a Picture Plumb??

Jan 18, 2009 04:51 AM #9
David Peterson
Synergy Staging ~ specializing in vacant home staging - Portland, OR
Home Stager Portland OR-Synergy Staging-Portland Oregon

Zeeshan ~ We also have one with a level and like that too.  We have found that eyeballing a picture is a little more successful since rooms are not always straight and a perfectly straight picture may not look straight on the wall.

Maureen ~ Thanks so much for the feature.  Look forward to hearing your experience with two!

Michele ~ We got one of those for Christmas last year.  Glad it's working for you.


Jan 20, 2009 02:32 AM #10
David Peterson
Synergy Staging ~ specializing in vacant home staging - Portland, OR
Home Stager Portland OR-Synergy Staging-Portland Oregon

Michelle ~ Glad the post was helpful.  Hope that getting a second one makes your jobs go quicker.

Kathy ~ Each tool works a bit differently.  The advantage of the picture plumb is that you can actually see the art in place on the wall and make your mark.  With the other you can put up the art, but then you have to mark and measure which requires an extra step.  And as I said above - using the level for art doesn't always result in the perfect look necessarily. 

Charles ~ You can purchase a picture plumb at this link:  http://www.picture-plumb.com/getone.htm

Jan 20, 2009 02:37 AM #11
Sandra Hughes
Redesigned Spaces - Northern Virginia - Fairfax, VA
Redesigned Spaces - Fairfax County, Virginia

I actually have one and it works well unless the art is real big and real heavy.

Jan 25, 2009 01:54 PM #12
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.

Nope this would have been my choice too.  Mary DeBella introduced us to this handy dandy tool.  It's amazing and saves so much time.  Thanks for sharing with everyone else.

Jan 25, 2009 05:44 PM #13
David Peterson
Synergy Staging ~ specializing in vacant home staging - Portland, OR
Home Stager Portland OR-Synergy Staging-Portland Oregon

Sandra ~ Large art is still a challenge with this tool - so sometimes we are forced to use another tool or back to the tried and true version of measuring and marking!

Terrylynn ~ We got our first one from Mary also!  It really does save time and works like a charm.

Jan 26, 2009 02:20 AM #14
Pangaea Interior Design Kitchen & Bath Design, Remodeling
Portland Oregon - Portland, OR

I do use picture plumbs & love them. I have two of them. There are two instances where they don't work for me. One is if the wire behind the picture is too low on large pictures. Then the handle is in the way. I do wish the picture plumb arm was extendable. If anyone finds one where the arm can be extended longer, I'd love it. The second is when I am hanging canvases, because you can't press on the canvas to make the hole with the picture plumb. For my canvases, I buy the little saw-tooth hangers that are bent at each end so you don't need nails to pound them into the wooden frame. I put one on the top in the middle, and they hold well.

The other thing I like are the 3M velcro type picture hangers. If your art has a good flat place on the back, these work well and are very fast!

Jan 26, 2009 01:53 PM #15
Beth Lester
Beth Lester Designs - Torrance, CA
Home Staging & Interior Decorating

Everytime I hang big artwork, I say....'There has to be an easier way."  I know I spend way too much time doing it. 

My husband likes to use his laser level, but my tripod often isn't tall enough, so we put it precariously on a plastic box and tell no one to breathe around it!  I've gotten pretty good at measuring from the ceiling (except it's a pain to get the 16ths inch correct - the hooks are never at the same level on both side of the picture).  And then there was the time that the ceiling changed heights in the middle of the room and I didn't notice it until after the nails were hammered.

Thanks for the tips - I'll check it out.

Jan 26, 2009 09:40 PM #16
David Peterson
Synergy Staging ~ specializing in vacant home staging - Portland, OR
Home Stager Portland OR-Synergy Staging-Portland Oregon

Pangaea ~ I agree that an extender arm would make it the perfect tool.  And your canvas tip is great.  We have typically placed the canvas on the wall where we want it and then lift the art up the width of the frame, usually about one inch, level it, and then mark the wall near the two corners.  Those are the two nail holes that we hang the frame on.  Thanks for your feedback, as always!

Beth ~ We also use a laser level, but we attach it to the wall usnig putty adhesive, so we're not relient on the ceiling or floor being level.  Or balancing on a box =)  Good luck!

Jan 27, 2009 04:33 AM #17
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Home Stager Portland OR-Synergy Staging-Portland Oregon
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