Frame Academy IX Now, in ‘Frame Academy IX’, we tell you how to hang pictures on the stairs so that they look well-arranged.
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Frame Academy IX

By Paul Dunwell, writing for EasyFrame
© Copyright EasyFrame 2019

What This Article is About

In ‘Frame Academy I’ we provided a run-down of essential terminology as a prelude to further ‘Frame Academy’ pieces that have been spanning more complex aspects of the dark art of picture-framing.

In ‘Frame Academy II’ we gave you a step-by-step idiot’s guide to making a picture frame. It served, alternatively, as a resource to help you understand the processes involved if you go to a 3rd party to have your frames made to your specifications.

In ‘Frame Academy III’ we ambitiously explained how to gild a frame and add an ostentatious touch to framed work that is already precious to you.

In ‘Frame Academy IV’ we retraced our steps a little and asked ‘Why would anybody bother with a frame?’ And ‘With so many options to choose from, what sort of framing solution should I be looking for?’

In ‘Frame Academy V’ we examined interesting things to do with old picture-frames.

In ‘Frame Academy VI’ we explained how to choose mat and moulding colours in the context of the work to be framed and the surroundings in which the framed work is to be hung.

In ‘Frame Academy VII’ we outlined how to hang a large and/or heavy artwork.

In ‘Frame Academy VIII’ we focused on hanging your picture at the correct height.

Now, in ‘Frame Academy IX’, we tell you how to hang pictures on the stairs so that they look well-arranged.

Hanging Picture Frames

The Problem

The problem is that we’re surrounded by images of perfectly-aligned pictures alongside staircases. Yet it’s actually harder to hang the works in such situations, and for the results to be aesthetically-pleasing, than one might imagine.

Solving that Problem

We are obviously left with a need to generate rules-of-thumb. They may not suit everybody and every situation but the following makes sense.

  • You should start by deciding on what seem to be sensible rules (though you will have to try them out and maybe adjust them). The rules might not be ideal, but the eye will spot randomness that doesn’t work very quickly (see the photo above to the left and the caption which accompanies it) whilst any regular arrangement is less likely to jump out as being a failure.
  • That rule-making might begin by assuming, for example, that the bottom or middle of every frame is going to be at 4 feet over the stair below it, and that importantly the centre of the frame will always be over the centre of the stair.
  • The frames themselves should unify your collection in most circumstances. Thus at this point you could simply have the whole lot reframed so that frames employ the same materials even if they have to be different sizes (you could have EasyFrame put the whole lot into three or four different-sized frames that all match!
  • The next step could be to stretch a piece of string between the aforementioned 4 foot level on the top stair and the bottom stair (you will have to adapt this solution to any turns on the stairs). Then remember that this line (as it passes the middle of the stair below it) represents the bottom or middle of each frame (refer to your own rules).
  • Count your stairs and count your works to be hung. You can place the works on the stairs above which they might hang. Thus you might end with a work every three stairs, one every second stair, two per stair, two pair second stair (as a pair beside each other) or similar. You might miss out the first few stairs so the concentration is on the middle. Play around with possibilities. Compare the aesthetics for different solutions.
  • Consider the running-order too. This might be determined by many factors. If the works were photos of a single family-member then they could be in chronological order. If they were works of different sizes then the first might be small and the sequence could feature a rise to the biggest in the middle before a reduction in size to the last one. Or you could have a sequence featuring the smallest at the bottom and the largest at the top. Or you could have a sequence that might be big, small, small, small, big, small, small, small, big etc. Toy with different ideas.
  • You should think horizontally not vertically.
  • Remember that stairs vibrate and so do the walls in the vicinity. Therefore fixings must be more secure in stairwells than they would need to be elsewhere. You can even double them up.
  • If the pictures are heavy and/or awkward to juggle with then you can make placeholders from card or similar that are the same sizes and shapes as your frames. Then use low-adhesive tape to hold these in position above the centre of the stair below and touching the string you have already put in situ.
  • Then put each fixing through the placeholder into the wall at about 45 degrees, before removing the placeholder, as soon as the whole sequence looks to be in the right position.
  • For more suggestions, and some illustrations, see and


Hanging artwork in the right position is important. Not least because you and guests or workers want to enjoy it. But it’s harder on the stairs than anywhere else. So you’ll have to apply logic to your scheme.

If you are framing something precious it’s always worth going straight to a professional framer like EasyFrame for advice. You could have them either do the entire job or help with part of it (whatever has left you racked by self-doubt!) EasyFrame can also certainly supply much of what you need to do the job if you contact them. So they will help you to unify your collection, with picture-hanging hooks and hangers as well as picture mounts and picture frames. Moreover they’ll help you to limit risks.

EasyFrame is on 01234 856 501 aand emailable via

Article Posted: 23/07/2019 12:55:04

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