From artwork and bookshelves to televisions and towel rails you can use your vertical surfaces for both the pretty and the practical. But how and while we’re at it, what and where? Don’t worry hanging objects on walls isn’t difficult if you bear three things in mind. Placement, surface and weight.


Like most of this process how you arrange your hanging objects depends on what they are and what they are used for.

  • Artwork like paintings and posters: For blank walls without furniture standing in front or other obstructions the general rule of thumb is to hang the artwork (or artwork group) with the centre at 150 – 160 cm from the ground or about three fifths of the way up the wall. In other cases arrange the art (or art grouping) in the centre of the wall space you are hanging it in. Have a look here for more about arranging art.
  • Shelves: Place shelves based what you intend to put on them. You can place display shelves like artwork. However shelves for books, tools or clothing need to be easy to reach and use.  In all cases the biggest thing to check that they will not interfere in the movement of people or the use of any doors or cupboards.
  • Television screens and speakers: Mount television screens so that they are at an easy angle for people in the intended viewing area. Place speakers so that they are directed at the “ear height” in the intended listening positions.
  • Functional hanging objects like towel rails and hat racks: Like bookshelves, place these objects where they are convenient to get to and use while not obstructing people or other furniture.

Get it straight.

There is nothing quite so subliminally distracting as hanging objects that are skew or out of alignment. And once you’ve noticed it, you can’t stop noticing it.  Make sure you measure for all corners at least twice and use a level. Better still make yourself a paper template and prestik or masking tape it to the walls. The you can move it around to help you decide on placement. Mark your template with things like drill holes and wire extension for hook placement. Drill or drive nails through your template and peel it off the wall once your holes or nails are in place. That way you’ll be sure that your objects are mounted where you want them to be.

Wall surface and object weight

The material that that your wall is made out of and the weight of the object that you want to hang will help you determine what hardware you need to hang your object.

  • Brick walls: A lot of South African homes have predominantly brick walls. These hold things better but are a lot harder to drill into than the drywall walls you find in office complexes. If you don’t mind working with a drill have a look at using concrete fasteners and masonry screws. Otherwise have a look at these drill-less options for light-weight objects.
  • Wood: How you hang things on wood depends very much on the thickness and composition of wood and if and how that wood is attached to anything else.
  • Drywall: Drywall is not that common in most South African homes but is fairly common in office spaces. If you are looking to hang things on drywall have a look at this comprehensive article on the subject.
  • Anything on anything: This fairly comprehensive article explains quite nicely what hardware to use in what circumstance. It also has pictures and descriptions of a lot of the hardware available.

Go hang… something.

Whether you’re putting up Christmas decorations or still need to hang last year’s gifts, give it a try. It’s not difficult as long as you remember placement, surface and weight. If you’re looking for other DIY projects why not try building a braai or a birdbath. Or have a look at fascinating fasteners.

Photo by Jonny Caspari on Unsplash