Eight Easy Steps for Hanging Your Decor

You’ve found the perfect piece of decor for your apartment: It’s gorgeous, it matches your apartment’s aesthetic, and it gives your space a ton of added character. Now how do you get it securely onto the wall? Nails, screws, drills, and other tools might seem overwhelming, confusing, or just plain annoying to use, but if you follow these eight easy steps for hanging your decor, you’ll have no trouble getting your favorite new decoration securely in place.

1. Make sure you’re allowed to hang decor

In some leases, your landlord will explicitly state that you’re not allowed to make holes in your wall, whether with a drill, screwdriver, or another object. Other leases will permit you to make holes in your walls if you cover them up after you remove the screws or nails occupying the holes. Some leases will make no provision in this regard at all, in which case it’s best to check with your landlord before taking the below steps for hanging your decor. 

2. Gather your tools

Once you know that you’re allowed to hang your decor, you’ll need some or all of the following tools:

  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Power drill
  • Nails or wood screws
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Stud finder
  • Drywall anchors
  • Hammer

3. Look for studs

To hang decorations, you’ll need to drive a screw into your wall and then hang the decoration from the screw. Ideally, you’ll drive screws into studs, which are wood slats located beneath your apartment’s drywall to support, stabilize, and frame the wall. 

You can always find studs at corners and next to electrical outlets. From there, studs are supposed to be placed 16 inches apart. However, not nearly every home perfectly matches construction regulations, so you’ll want to use a stud finder to locate studs. Slowly, gently drag your stud finder along your wall, and when you feel your stud finder magnetically grip the wall, you’ll know you’ve found a stud. Mark the location of the stud with a pencil.

What if I can’t find studs?

It’s possible that you’ll struggle to find studs. If this is the case, then between taking steps five and seven in this guide, you’ll need to follow step six. You’ll also want to take step six if you’ve found studs, but you’d still rather hang your decoration in a non-studded wall area.

4. Determine your decoration’s location

Before you drill a hole into your stud (or non-studded wall area, if need be), you should determine exactly where you’d like to hang your decoration. With your pencil, level, and tape measure handy, outline where exactly you’d like your decoration to go. For framed objects, keep in mind that the frame will rest atop the screw, so you’ll want to insert the screw not at the top of the object, but at the lip of the frame.

5. Drill a hole

Once you’ve found a stud, you’ll need to drill a hole into it. Do this slowly, or else your hole might be too big, and the screw you’ll use to hang your decor will be far too loose and therefore unsupportive. When you drill over a stud, you’ll eventually encounter resistance, which indicates you’ve fully drilled into the stud. At this point, turn your drill off and remove it from the hole.

6. Apply a drywall anchor

Note: This step is only necessary when hanging objects on non-studded drywall. If you’re drilling on a stud, skip ahead to the next step. 

With your hole drilled, take your drywall anchor and gently lock it into place. Depending on the type of drywall anchor you’re working with, you’ll use either a hammer or a power drill to insert the anchor. You should also keep in mind that each different type of drywall anchor works best for a certain decoration weight range – using an anchor capable of supporting 10 pounds for a 25-pound painting could damage your walls. Use the following drywall anchor types for the following weight ranges:

  • 10 pounds or less: expanding plastic sleeves, screw-in anchors, picture-frame hangers and nails, tap-in expanding anchors, hollow-core door anchors
  • 10 to 25 pounds: expanding plastic sleeves, screw-in anchors, picture-frame hangers and nails, molly bolts, hollow-core door anchors, plastic toggle bolts
  • 25 to 50 pounds: molly bolts, hollow-core door anchors, metal toggle bolts

Once all the way in, the drywall anchor will permanently latch into your wall. Keep in mind that drywall anchors can be difficult to remove, thereby posing obstacles to properly covering holes when you remove your decorations and screws.

7. Insert the screw

With your stud hole or drywall anchor fully ready, take a screw and insert it using a power drill or Phillips-head screwdriver. Leave some space between the wall and the head of the screw so that you have something from which to hang and support your decoration.

8. Hang your decoration!

If you’ve followed the above steps, then you should be all set to hang your decoration. Take a moment to marvel not just at your newly hung decoration, but the fact that you did this all yourself.

Do you have any special tips for hanging decor? Sound off in the comments!

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