Stairway Picture Hanging

It may not be a new idea, but there’s a science to hanging picture frames along your stairway wall. Living with an engineer has its perks… including solutions to a somewhat daunting task. Here’s our process to a successful hanging.


painter’s tape
hammer (and nails)
ruler & level
& that leftover cheap Christmas paper



1. Trace all of your frames onto the Christmas paper. If you use the cheap stuff, tracing with a sharp pencil will also “cut” the paper.

Frame Cutouts

2. Tape the frame cutouts to the wall. There are several recommendations to the dos and don’ts of picture frame spacing. We used the gallery height rule of 65″ (at center) and 3″ between frames. This is also a good time to make sure that the paper is level to avoid having to do it in step four.

Measuring Cutouts

3. DON’T REMOVE THE PAPER! I’m sure you share our pet peeves of multiple nail holes and pencil doodles. Measure where the hangers are on the back of your frames and then mark it on the paper. At first it’s tedious, but once you get the rhythm (not to mention the results), it’s well worth the effort.

Sidenote: Don’t assume same size frames have common “hanger” measurements. We’ve purchased the same type of frame from Pottery Barn over multiple years. The distance between hanger and frame has changed over time.

Nail the Paper

4. Nail through the paper and keep it taped until you’re ready to hang. It’s a beast to guess which nail goes to which frame.

Finished Project:
Finished picture hanging project

Here are more pictures of our stairway/landing project.