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Alternative Ways to Hanging Artwork

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Artists provide creative methods for hanging your masterpieces that won't ruin your walls. 


By Brigitt Earley,

If you're starting to build a collection of art, chances are you want to display your investments proudly. Otherwise, maybe you simply want to show off your favorite family photos. Whether photos or paintings, wall hangings have the profound ability to pull a space together in an instant. But what if you rent your place and have to keep the drywall intact or have intricate millwork that you don't want to mar with nail holes? You aren't relegated to a world with drab white walls. There are plenty of ways to hang artwork without making a single hole in the wall. 

The most common way to hang artwork without nails is by using Command Strips. You simply plan how you want to arrange your picture, then apply one half of the hook and latch strip to the wall and the other to the frame. Then, you stick them together to secure the picture or painting to the wall. When you go to remove them, they don't cause any damage to paint or drywall.

To go beyond this common hack for hanging artwork, we asked the pros—artists, DIY experts, and interior designers—for other creative solutions. Here's what they had to say.

Magnetic Paint 

To design a gallery wall that can be rearranged on a whim, use Rust-Oleum Magnetic Paint and adhesive-backed magnets to the back of lightweight prints or photo frames, says Audrey Van de Castle, manager of Stanley Black & Decker's Maker Initiatives. You can even try painting the magnetic paint in fun accent shapes around the artwork.

Display Easel 

Try showing off larger paintings on a display easel, says artist Corey Paige. "No matter what the piece you're displaying is, it automatically adds a unique touch to your space," she explains. "You don't typically expect to walk into someone's home and see art displayed on an easel—it's always a conversation starter, since it highlights the art."

String and Clothespins 

Another option? Use tape or mounting putty to string a piece of twine across your wall, then use decorative clips or clothespins to display prints along the line, says Van de Castle.

Suspended from the Ceiling 

If you have tricky wainscot or tiled walls, drive hooks into the ceiling instead, says Lindsay Pumpa, owner of L Pumpa Designs. Then, you can use rope, leather, or chains to suspend the framed artwork.

Wire Grid 

If you're looking to occupy more vertical space, a wire grid is another method that's perfect for your desk area, says Paige. Simply use clothespins to attach your favorite prints or photos.

Ladder Shelves 

Framed prints look great displayed on a ladder shelf, since leaning art is a great way to add dimension to a room, says Paige. Simply frame your artwork and prop it on the shelf. If your ladder shelf leans against a wall, you can display a larger framed print on the top shelf.

Room Divider 

Another fun way to arrange small works of art into a sort of gallery wall? On a folding screen or room divider, says Pumpa. This serves as an excellent way to divide a studio apartment into multiple "rooms," while also creating a cool focal point.


Brigitt Earley is a freelance writer and editor based in New Jersey. Her work has been published in a wide range of women's lifestyle magazines, including Martha Stewart, Real Simple and Oprah.

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