How can I hang pictures in my apartment?

Hanging pictures can make an apartment more attractive and also feel more like your own individual space. However, it can be difficult to hang anything on your walls without damaging the walls, which is an even greater concern for an apartment dweller, who’s only renting the apartment. Follow these tips so that you incur only minimal damage:

1. Have a Hanging “Dress Rehearsal”

The most common way to make too much damage to the wall when hanging pictures is to make a hole to hang the picture without a proper “dress rehearsal.” If you make a hole, hang a picture and then aren’t satisfied with the position of the frame, you’ll start all over again and have an extra hole. To avoid this, trace the photo frame on a piece of paper and cut out the the shape. Tape the paper on the wall where you hope to hang your picture, step back and decide if you like the position of the shape. If so, you can mark where to drill your hole.

2. Use Non-Damaging Hooks

Instead of drilling any holes into your wall, you can use adhesive, non-damaging wall hooks intended for hanging pictures. When you’re ready to move or change the decorations in your apartment, you can release the hook from the wall via a stretch function and you shouldn’t find any damage to your wall.

3. Avoid the Hammer and Nail

Most people grab a nail and pound it in with a hammer in order to hang pictures, but this can cause hairline cracks in plaster that eventually grow bigger. Alternatives include the non-damaging hooks, which are self-adhesive, or hooks that are held up by more permanent adhesive. (When you remove the latter with a putty knife, you may remove some paint, but that’s easier to repair than a hole.) If you want to make a hole in the wall, install a wall anchor on which to hang the picture instead of a nail. The wall anchor can be fastened securely into place with screws and is less likely to cause hairline cracks.

4. Consider the Straight Pin or Sewing Needle

Although non-damaging hooks may be the best option for hanging pictures in your apartment and wall hooks may provide sturdier, permanent solutions for hanging heavier pictures, you can also hang lighter pictures with minimal damage to the wall. Instead of a nail, a simple straight pin or sewing needle can support a frame of up to five pounds on drywall. These pin-prick-sized holes are barely visible and are unlikely to start spreading cracks along the wall, unlike a larger hole. Just make sure that you select lighter frames if you’re counting on being able to hang pictures from these small supports.

With a little foresight, you can start hanging pictures with minimal damage to the walls. If you do have to make at least one  hole in the wall, be sure to review the rental agreement to make sure that you’re allowed to damage the structure without penalty.