Are you the type of person who goes crazy if a picture is slightly crooked? A lot of people are and there is good news for everybody. There are some easy techniques using simple tools to make sure your art collection, mirrors or anything else you want to put on the wall will be perfectly centered and straight when you finish pounding that nail.
Interior designers say that art and mirrors should act as focal points that guide your eye around a space and create interest. Good to know, but how do you determine where the focal points should be and get them to hang straight?
Center the Object
Begin by figuring out approximately where you want the object to be in the room. If you're trying to center it on a wall or between two other objects—maybe chairs or windows, start by measuring the distance between the two objects with a tape measure and divide by two. Take that number and measure from one of the chairs or windows to determine your center spot. Use a piece of painter's tape or a pencil, and mark the center of the space.
The rule of thumb for determining the proper height is 5 feet (60 inches) up from the floor. Measure up from the floor 60 inches and move the tape to that spot. Ideally, that's where the center of your picture or mirror should go. Examine the back of your picture or mirror to see where and how the hanging hardware is configured.
Of Brackets and Bubbles
If there's a jagged-tooth type mounting bracket attached to the back of the frame or an existing hole at the top of the frame, measure the distance between the center of the frame to the bracket or hole. Move your tape up that distance. Hammer in the fastener or hanging hardware and use the jagged teeth bracket and a small hand level to adjust the picture as needed to make the top of the frame even. The best way to use the level is lay it on the middle of the frame and adjust until the “bubble" appears in the middle of the level. Release and back away.
If your object has a wire stretching across the back of the frame, use your finger to apply tension to the wire, measure the distance from your finger to the middle of the frame, move the tape up that distance and pound in the fastener or hanging hardware. Use your level to fine-tune the hang by sliding the object up or down on the wire as needed.
Mastering the D-ring
Some objects d' art have two hooks or D-rings on the back of the frame. In this case, measure the total width of the back of the frame and divide by two to determine the center. Put a piece of tape or make a mark with a pencil on the center of the back of the frame and parallel to the D-rings. Then measure the distance to the D-ring or hook. Use that same distance to pinpoint the location of your first fastener or hanging hardware. Measure the distance between the two D-rings and use a level and a ruler to make a second mark on the wall level and parallel to the first. Hammer in the fasteners or hangers and hang the object.
It's an Art
Keep in in mind that hanging art and mirrors is, well, more of an art than a science. Trust your own eye if something doesn't look quite right, even if the measurements say otherwise. It's okay for something to move a little bit this way or a little bit that way. After all, you're the one who's going to be looking at it.
More Functional Objects
You can use this same set of basic skills when it comes time to add or replace accessories like towel racks. Moen actually makes things even easier for you by offering a system called "Press & Mark." Use your tape measure to figure out where the accessory needs to live in the room. The rule of thumb for the height of towel racks is 30 to 48 inches up from the floor. Toilet paper rolls should be 26 inches up from the floor and 8 to 12 inches from the toilet. Use a pencil or painter's tape to mark the height and location of the object.
Moen's system provides a small, self-adhesive level that you stick onto the middle of the object you are hanging. For towel bars, put the bar near the spot where you want it to go, use the bubble in the level to make sure it's straight and press the bar against the wall. Two dots of ink will appear on the wall. Drill holes in those locations, mount your hardware and mount your bar. Thanks Moen!