Style Tips

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First, select the proper hardware.

Picture hook:  best used for lightweight artwork and used in plaster or sheetrock walls.  To minimize chipping of the wall finish, tape an “X” with masking tape on the wall over the spot to be nailed before hammering.

Plastic anchor:  best used for medium-size pieces of artwork.  These anchors have two pieces – a plastic sleeve which is inserted into a hole drilled into the wall, followed by inserting a screw into the sleeve.

Toggle bolt:  used to hang heavy pieces of art in sheetrock or plaster walls.  Once installed in the wall, the “wings” of a toggle bolt will open and provide more support for your art.

Mirror hangers:  use two mirror hangers to hang heavy or soft woods, or when the piece has hanging hooks instead of wire.  Never add wire to a picture that is designed to be hung with hooks only.

Second, determine the right level.

Eye level is the generally rule of thumb when hanging art.  However, eye level is different for everyone.  Here’s the simple formula used by most professionals:

  • Measure up 60 inches from the floor
  • To this, add half the height of the framed picture
  • Subtract the height of the wire (the height of the triangle that the wire would form if the frame were actually hanging).  That’s the ideal spot for your picture hanger – regardless of the height of the ceiling or even you.

On The Level

To make sure that a picture or mirror is level, and you don’t have a level, hold a half-full glass of water along the top of the frame.  Use the water surface as the level.


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Mats are more than decoration, they protect the surface of the art and keep it from laying directly on the glass.  To decide which mats to use, look to the colors in your art for inspiration.  Using multiple mats will add to the beauty of the finished piece.  Here are a few basic rules:

Dark colors tend to contain the art, while light colors tend to expand it. 

Mats should be at least twice as wide as the frame width.  In a multiple mat combination, that means the top mat.

Vary the amount showing on each mat in multiple mat combinations to avoid “striping.”

The top mat can be whatever color is predominant in the art.  You can also use a neutral top mat with lower mats as accent colors.


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Think outside the box.

  • When decorating your home with framed art, consider “unusual” areas for display.
  • Lean framed art on a table, shelf, or fireplace mantel for a dramatic effect.
  • You can also suspend art in windows with ribbons or raffia.

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Deck The Walls carries hundreds of frames in different woods, styles, colors, and finishes.  At Deck The Walls we are trained in the “rules” of how to choose an appropriate frame.  Here are some of the things that we will keep in mind as we work with you on your project.


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Size – the trick to making any size frame “work” with a piece is to control the proportions with matting.  A wide frame requires more matting than a narrow frame.  A solid background (shown left) requires a wider frame for balance.

Style – the color, subject matter, and tone of your art will all point you toward an appropriate selection of frames.  The frame should continue to carry the “message” of the art.  If you feel what you’re framing doesn’t really have a message, use the décor of the room in which the piece will hang as your guide.

Type – wood frames will look good on almost any piece of art.  We use walnut, cherry, oak, ash, basswood, poplar, and pine – all domestic woods – in our frames.  Stained wood can be plain, carved, simple or ornate.  And, many wood frames are available in lacquer finishes, faux finishes, and gold or sliver leaf.  We also carry metal frames, which work well with certain décor, or with modern pieces and posters.


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Don’t underestimate the importance of the glass you choose to put on your treasures.  Your choice should be “clear cut!” and each type of glass has specific benefits.

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Museum Glass® – this is the best choice for any type of artwork, documents photos or keepsakes considered valuable or containing a lot of detail.  This glass effectively blocks 98% of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.  This glass does not glare or produce distracting reflections on your art.  It actually enhances most images such as portrait photography and impressionistic landscapes.  This glass virtually disappears on your art.

Conservation Clear Glass – this glass is very similar to Museum glass and should also is used on artwork that is of great value or is very detailed.  This glass effectively blocks 97% of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.  The main difference is the reflection you see.  Conservation Clear glass has virtually the same appearance as regular glass.

Reflection Control Glass – this is the best choice, other than Museum, for artwork hung opposite a window or lamp.  Because it’s only etched on one side, it does not glare or produce distracting reflections on your art.  It actually enhances some images such as portrait photography and impressionistic landscapes.  Also available with ultraviolet coating.

Plexiglass – generally used with artwork that is very large or heavy, as it reduces the total weight of the finished piece.  It can also be used for art that will be hung in high traffic areas or areas where broken glass would be a hazard, such as a child’s room.  You may also consider Plexiglass if your art is extremely valuable or irreplaceable, since it won’t damage your art if it’s broken.  Plexiglass is available with conservation properties.


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Hanging your art in just the right place at just the right height will help complete the look you’re after.  There are many ways you can display art these days.  Long gone are the traditional displays of one piece over your mantel or couch.  Today’s trends lend to multiple pieces displayed in unique patterns.  Here are a few rules of display which you can use when decorating.

When hanging art down a staircase or in a hallway:

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 NOTE:  Lighter colored images and frames toward the top.

When creating an arrangement over a mantle, couch, and/or credenza you want to follow one of the following patterns:

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Designing and hanging a wall arrangement can be challenging, and leave you with a wall full of nail holes.  To determine the right placement:

  • Trace the outline of each piece onto newspaper or Kraft paper (kitchen grocery bags also work well) and cut out.

  • Number the cutouts and artwork to correspond with one another.

  • Arrange the pieces of paper on the wall, securing lightly with tape.  Move the papers around until you are satisfied with the arrangement.

  • Measure the placement of the hangers on your framed art and mark each piece of paper accordingly.

  • Hammer your nails or install picture hangers in the wall, then remove the paper diagrams.

  • Hang your art arrangement and enjoy!