Take a look around you … if all you see is a sea of taupe, then maybe it’s time to hang a few photos and artwork. Sure, it’s an intimidating prospect — hanging things on your apartment walls. The idea of trying to spackle all of those holes when the day comes to move out … and then having to paint over them … it’s no wonder you are living with blank walls. But blank walls are boring! Here’s how to enjoy great artwork and photos without creating too much work for yourself later on:
Before you begin, be aware that some apartment communities won’t allow you to put holes in the walls. Check your lease or ask the apartment manager if you aren’t sure. But even if you can’t put any holes in the walls, you can still hang photos – consider using poster putty (a favorite of teachers everywhere) or removable hooks. Wall decals are another great option to consider. They add interest and color to the room and can be easily removed without any damage to the walls.
Many people tend to go a little overboard when hanging photos, using drywall screws and anchors or trying to locate studs to hammer into. None of that is necessary. Instead, use picture-hanging hooks. They are stronger than they look and the hole will be a pinpoint rather than a gaping wound, leaving less fix-up when you decide to move. Make sure you buy the right size hook for your artwork’s weight. To avoid having to constantly straighten crooked frames, use two hooks per photo.
Hang your artwork and photos at eye level. Even if you live in a loft with soaring ceilings, you still want your artwork roughly 50 to 60 inches off the ground. When arranging your photos, group photos with photos and paintings with paintings. If you aren’t sure how you want to arrange your photos or paintings, trace around the frames on poster board. Cut the poster board shapes out and use tape to secure them to the wall. Be sure to leave about two inches of space around each painting – sides, top, and bottom. You can rearrange and reposition without adding holes, and you can live with the “mock-up” photo grouping for a few days before hanging the actual photos.
When you are ready to hang, simply mark the wall at the top of the photo with a pencil before removing the poster board, and then hang your photo. Don’t use anything but a pencil – a pencil mark is easy to erase. Using a marker or pen will leave difficult-to-remove or even permanent marks on your walls.
Choose pictures and paintings that mean something to you. If you are an amateur photographer (and even if you aren’t), print and frame some of your favorite shots – perhaps a group of photos from your last vacation. Consider printing your photos out in black and white or doing something creative with them first. If you’d like some enlarged to poster-size, send them to a photo processing company who will enlarge your photos for a small fee.
Perhaps you collect mementos and aren’t sure how to best display them. Consider making some shadow boxes – these are great and show off whatever you’ve collected, even items you’ve found in nature such as seashells or leaves. Arrange the items in the box with push pins and hang them. Shadow box frames can be found at any craft store or in the craft section of any discount store, or you can try making them yourself.
Now, stand back and survey the results. Photos and paintings add a homey touch to your apartment, as well as color, depth, and charm. Do you have photo-hanging tips? Share them with us on Facebook!