House & Home

Beginner’s Guide to Hanging Art in Your Hamptons Home

Invitation to a picture hanging.

If art is kept in a climate controlled storage facility and no one sees it, does it really exist? People have been hanging art in the home since the 19th century when falling printing costs made reproductions possible. And as art has progressed and evolved from cherub-filled scenes of Biblical reckoning to black squares to paint dripped on a canvas from above, more and more art, both reproduction and originals, has been hanging in our homes.

We’ll assume you know what you want to hang in your Hamptons home. But “how to hang it” is a viable question. First, some things to take into consideration before you spend the time, energy and money hanging your art. We’re all prone to wanting to hang our favorite artwork prominently above the fireplace. If you use your fireplace, however, the canvas can become damaged over time. The same thing goes for hanging your art over a radiator or in direct sunlight. When hanging art, professionals recommend using double fixtures on either side of the frame—as opposed to a single, central fixture. This prevents the art from hanging too far forward and makes it more stable should someone brush against it.

Picture rail is a unique and eye-catching way to hang art. It’s common in homes built before World War II and therefore in many homes within East End villages. It’s often mistaken for crown molding, but its different in the fact that it’s designed with a small lip on top to accommodate a picture rail hook. We’ll wait here while you go check yours, to see what kind it is.

Using picture rail offers the opportunity to hang your framed art without any wall damage and, if installed properly, the rail could hold heavy frames and mirrors. It also makes hanging and rearranging framed art a snap. All you need are the rail hooks and wire. Keep in mind, you’ll want to make sure the picture rail is installed using strong nails on every stud.

Don’t mistake picture rail with plate rail—another simple method for displaying your art. Plate rails of varying intricacies can be found at just about any home improvement store and are easy to install. You’ll probably want a level to make sure your art doesn’t slide straight off, and maybe a stud finder and/or the proper anchors, nails, bolts, or clips, for the weight of your art. Then, just place the frame on the shelf and lean it on the wall. Art can also be leaned against the wall on tables, or simply leaned against the back of a chair.

If you’re looking for a fun way to hang some unframed art, keep it simple with push pins and binder clips. Simply press the thumb tacks into the wall, clip your art with the binder clips and hang the clips from the pins. This method is an easy way to switch out your unframed art, without damaging it, as often as you like. Side note: This is an excellent method to organize unsightly wires, too. Collect the wire in the binder clip and hang it from a push pin stuck in the wall.

If you want to skip the binder clips, you can also find magnetic push pins. These are equally easy to use. Each magnetic push pun comes as two pieces. One piece is pushed into the wall; the unframed art is then placed between that piece and another and the magnetism holds your art on the wall.

The bane of a picture-hangers existence is getting the wire they can’t see onto the nail they can’t see. Well, picture-hangers of the world, prepare to have your mind blown. Simply place the teeth of a fork on the nail in the wall. Then, slide the wire down the back of the fork. When the wire comes to rest on the nail, remove the fork. Voila!

Of course, you could always call in a professional and have them take care of everything. But where’s the fun in that!?

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