So many people forgo having wall art in their house because they aren’t allowed to make holes in the walls, or they are afraid of damaging the walls. And then, when you do hang wall art with nails or screws, when you leave you have to fill in the holes, either with spackle or by painting the entire wall. If you’re not sure what kind of walls you have, you can easily make large, unsightly holes that are much more difficult to take care of than nailing or screwing into plaster can create craters, and it’s easy to pull a big chunk out of drywall if you hang something too heavy without the proper anchors. It can be a lot of work to hang wall art this way, and many rented apartments or houses forbid it completely, afraid that their workers will have to clean up the mess of damages.
So what do you do if you have wall art to hang? Just prop it against the wall on the floor, or set it up on tabletops? Get rid of your books, and use your bookshelf to support the art? Believe it or not, people actually do things like this, when they own wall art from previous homes or buy something new that they really want to hang. Sometimes people come back from traveling with oddly shaped or heavy art pieces they found abroad and just had to have, but don’t really know how to make it work once it’s home. And everyone’s seen something out shopping that just caught their eye – you knew you had to have it, even if you didn’t know how to hang it. Adding colors to your walls brings a new vibe to the space and helps create a certain mood.
This guide will teach you how to display any kind of art in your house without the hassle and damage of nails or screws.
Tape is the easiest, cheapest, and simplest solution, but it won’t work for everything. Tape is best for smaller and lighter art like posters, but it also won’t stick to every kind of wall surface, or if it does, it might fall off eventually, especially if you live in a humid environment with a lot of moisture in the air. Be careful with tape, too, as it can be just as damaging to wall surfaces as nails and screws can. If you use tape that’s too heavy-duty, like duct tape, you risk pulling off chunks of paint and plaster when you remove it. But if you use something too lightweight, like Scotch tape (or poorer quality alternatives) your art will fall and possibly get damaged.
Double-sided tape can be a great option, as it’s usually sticky enough to adhere to most wall surfaces. The only danger with double-sided tape is that it can destroy the backs of posters when you remove it.
Pro tip: lay a square of single-sided tape on the backs of your posters. Then, stick the tape you’ll use to hang the poster on top of that tape. That way, when you remove the hanging tape, it will peel right off of the bottom layer of tape without damaging the poster.
Display easels are another easy option, and they can look very hip and quirky in a space if you arrange them nicely. Display easels are a little more sleek and elegant than painters easels – and less covered in paint! – but you can, of course, use a new painters easel or even an older one if you’re going for a trendy artist-in-residence vibe.
You can prop unframed canvas paintings right on the easel, and even display multiple canvases at a time. You can use the easel ledge for one or two canvases, and then hang another canvas from the top to make a trio. If you want to create an art cluster effect—or just make the most of the easels you have—you can even lean pieces against the easel legs.
Display easels don’t have to look like afterthoughts. If you want to go an easy extra mile, your living room can look like a museum display by just adding a frame to a single, standout art piece. This works for posters just as well as canvases.
Adhesive Velcro can be the most fun and exciting way to hang wall art, because it allows you to change things up and move things around, if you plan well from the beginning. And adhesive Velcro sticks well—better than double sided tape, actually—but can usually be removed without making holes or a mess. And Velcro gives you the same flexibility as hanging paintings on nails: you can pick things up off the wall and rearrange them whenever you want. But unlike with screws or nails, you can just pull Velcro hangers off of the wall when you move out or don’t want art in that location anymore.
Stick several pairs of Velcro ‘backs” to your walls in the places you want to hang art at a measured, consistent distance apart. Be sure to keep this distance little enough to hang your smallest piece of art. Then, add the Velcro “fronts” to the backs of your art pieces, making sure to stick them at the same distance apart as the “backs.” Hang the art pieces in the locations you chose. Then, whenever you want a change, simply rearrange your art pieces to different Velcro backs!
3M Command Hooks
If you’ve got huge framed paintings to hang or wall art made out of some kind of heavy material like metal or wood, Velcro might not do the job, and double-stick tape certainly won’t. These are the kinds of pieces often come with a hanging wire in the back, and do best hung from a couple of nails. But don’t worry, even if you can’t hammer nails, you don’t have to keep your piece leaning on the floor or propped on a side table. There are nail-free tools to hang even the heaviest pieces, and 3M command hooks are one of the best.
Simply press the adhesive backs of the 3M command hooks into the wall for a hook sturdy enough to hang most heavy wall art. In the unlikely event that one isn’t strong enough, you can easily hang two up to support a single piece. And the best part: when you take the 3M hooks off of your wall, they leave no residue whatsoever. No holes, no stains or gummy marks, no peeling paint, nothing.
Though not nearly as common as tape or command hooks, a clothesline is a very effective and underrated way to hang art in your house without making new holes in the wall. You can use anything for the clothesline: quilting thread, twine, string, or fishing line. Fishing line and clear quilting thread are good options, as they are invisible, so you won’t be able to see the wire stretched across your wall. But even if you can, it’s not a huge deal, since it’s quite common to see hanging wire peeking over the tops of framed paintings, for example. You can even use wire if you want something really stable.
It’s easier to use this method if you have nails in the wall already because then you can string the line between the nails. But if you don’t you can use something like a window frame or curtain rod. Be creative. Find any two things that sit flat against your wall and string a line between them. If you’re hanging something heavy, like paintings in frames, be sure to make the line quite taut, or you’ll only be able to hang one thing in the middle where it sags. If you’re hanging something light, like posters, prints, or postcards you don’t have to pull the line tight. You can experiment with it, draping it in a loose “U” on an empty wall or above a couch or table or another piece of furniture.
If you’ve pulled the line taut, you can hang paintings or artworks with hooks right from the line. If it’s loose and hanging, use tape or paper clips to attach your lightweight artwork to the clothesline. When you’re done, you’ll have a line of artwork hanging on the wall. If you’ve used invisible thread or fishing line, it will look like they’re hanging on their own, like magic. There are numerous stylish examples on Pinterest – start collecting some inspiration!
What if you could have wall art without having to hang it up at all? That’s the whole idea behind wall stickers, another amazing and highly underrated way to hang wall art without nails. Wall stickers are a fantastic way to decorate your home without leaving any permanent marks. They’re a good option for people who can’t make nail holes or paint on the walls, or for people who like to redecorate and change their space up frequently.
You have so many options with wall stickers. You can get wall stickers that are murals or other huge art pieces that take up entire walls and act as centerpieces to a room. There are geometric patterns and shapes and other simple patterns you can use for a more subtle and neutral look that changes the atmosphere without being too dramatic. Cover one wall with a brick or stone pattern like wallpaper, or use smaller wall sticker decals—like flowers, for example, or clouds—as accent marks to the wall color you’ve already got. Stick a quote to your wall to add some inspiration, and then change it when you need new inspiration. You can even get wall stickers that look like paintings, frames and all if that’s the look you’re after!
Now that you have so many different ways to hang wall art, there are no excuses for bare walls. No more paintings leaning stacked in corners or propped on tables. Go on and give your home the art that it deserves, all while keeping your walls and landlord happy!