How to Hang Pictures: How about a Picture Rail?

How to Hang Pictures: How about a Picture Rail?photo via BH&G

Picture Molding

I love finding creative ways to hang pictures. We always had those picture rails and hooks in our old houses, which made it much easier to hang art without messing up our plaster walls.

But when I saw this photo (above) at BH&G this weekend, I realized I could add in picture molding at this house too, even though we have drywall. And, the molding wouldn’t have to go along the ceiling. There are OPTIONS! I love how they hung it next to the stairs!

So cute, huh?

I’m inspired and now I’m looking for a place to use some picture rail!

Happy day! I’ve got a fun post on paint colors as well as introducing something new here on The Inspired Room, so check back soon!

Have you ever hung photos from picture rail or molding? 


  1. Amazing idea! I’d love to try that at home, but do you have any idea how much weight these can accept?
    Thanks for sharing!

    • I would guess that it depends on how well you put up that rail. I think that securing a solid rail to all of the studs along the wall with properly angled nails should hold a lot of weight.

      The depth of the rail (how deep the hook can attached to what we can’t see behind the rail) and the type of picture hangers (a good S hook style) would be important.

      At least, that’s what I remember from my college days which was the only way we could hang pictures on the wall.

  2. This is really cute and a great idea to bring in more character to your newer house. I love these stairs, with the bookcases too!

  3. kelly in georgia says

    Gracious at the color and pattern in that photo!! That will wake you up on a Monday morning! Cool idea of the picture rail, but did you notice the little “taggy-things” (such great vocabulary here – ha!)in the mats? I really like THOSE. I’ve never used a picture rail..I am just a fearless make-a-hole-wherever-you-want-in-the-wall kind of girl.

    • Well it is good to be fearless, I am forever making holes in my walls. Although with plaster walls you can’t always hang things exactly where you want and sometimes your plaster crumbles every time you hammer nails! Makes it challenging to hang things sometimes!

    • Oh yes love the taggy things!!!

  4. Lovely idea, but what about those of us who live in 750 sq ft with large families who love to display photos of our loved ones? Any suggestions to keep it simple, creative without cluttering/using every inch of wall space? I’d even like advice on whether same color frames v varied colored to keep ooms appearing as large as possible. All suggestions welcome. Thank you! Oh, one more little thing. Where can I find realistic ideas for budget conscious small space living makeovers? Again thank you so much. Happy Monday!

    • In a small home you can make big impact on one wall with something striking like this — without overwhelming the rest of your house with photos. And if you hang the molding yourself it is inexpensive for a small wall! Check out Jewel Box Home for small house ideas!

  5. love this idea!!! i have a friend who has different lengths of crown molding placed at varying heights on her walls and then displays pics, frames, block letters and such on top of them. it’s so cute and totally different and really makes her creativity stand out. happy monday!!!

  6. Love this idea! I love the bookshelves they have lining the stairs, too. This would work well in my stairwell. Thanks for sharing.

  7. The photo looks adorable, but it’s not really my style. Keep sharing the ideas, though … they help me find what I DO love!

    • Yep happy to throw ideas out as they come to me just in case they might inspire someones creativity! And yeah that is how we all learn! Sometimes ideas we don’t think anything of at the time pop back into our heads later and inspire us when we have a need for an idea like that! Amazing brains we have to file ideas away just in case!

  8. Oh so nice!

    The black and white just POP against the red! I just love the use of the otherwise-just-sitting-there staircase …

    And yes, those “taggy things!” are one of the first things that grabbed me. I have them on several different vintage oak pieces, one in my bedroom with cosmetics, journals, legwear, and scarves on their labels. And the office cabinet displays envelopes, electronics, etcetera, games, maps, files, and paper on their “taggy things.”

    I think I’m getting inspired to do a post!

  9. Melissa, I love picture rails. You see them in historic homes a lot. Never thought about using one along a staircase…very cool!

  10. Now that is a bright red! But it looks great! I’ve always liked picture rails. It would make my hole-in-the-wall-phobic husband happy ;-)

    • Oh yes my husband cringes at my eyeballing methods of hanging things and then changing my mind or being off enough to warrant more holes in the walls!

  11. I love the placement on the stairs! Our old house is without picture rails, but I’m definitely not opposed to adding them.

  12. What great timing on this post! We are currently working on installing picture rails in our home. However, we’ve had problems finding the hardware for hanging the pictures once the picture rail is up. And when we ask about it at the store, they look at us like we’re speaking a foreign language. Any ideas where the hooks in this photo might be found and what they’re called so we can search for them?

    • I don’t know what they are called but I used to buy them at Rejuvenation hardware in Portland Oregon. The decorative ones were spendy so I bought the basic ones! You could always call them to ask what they are called and then search for an online source!

  13. Thank you for posting that picture! I have a staircase/stairwell configured just like this one – but unpainted and undecorated. I have been tearing my hair out trying to find inspiration photos that take our odd little shelf/edge into consideration and this is perfect. I will definitely not have red, black, and white, but the concept of the moldings and pictures is great.

  14. Courtney M says

    This post is so timely being that I saw this & have been trying to figure out how to copy it at home.

  15. Love this idea! We have an awkward ledge along our stairs too & the bookshelves give me a great idea. I’ve got pictures hanging there now & they don’t look very nice. This inspires me.

    Thank you!! :)

  16. WE have been thinking about hanging a picture rail above our bed in our new house because we don’t want to put a bunch of nail holes in the new walls. This picture reinforced the idea for me! We are thinking of creating a little bit larger rail using crown molding, perhaps. We downsized from our 2-story century-old home to a 1-story new home, and adding something like this will help give it personality and make it seem more like home.

    Thank you for your great ideas, Melissa!

  17. I have so many great photos of my family but, they rarely make it to a frame, never mind the wall. A picture rail may change that because, it looks like a rail makes it hard for the framed photos to be crooked unless the rail is crooked :) Just might work! Thanks!

  18. Great idea and I do love the red walls (since my walls are red).

  19. Melissa,
    This is a great idea. I’ve seen these rails in a few magazine images but never had one. I really like the way it looks on the stair case.

  20. LOVE that inspiration image! Your post is well-timed; I’m working on a picture rail wall in my own home (figured it would allow me to change things up without numerous holes in my wall). Can’t wait to see how you incorporate one into your own home! xo

  21. Oh that is a good idea! I love BHG :) I’ll have to give this a try in the room we are re-doing ! Thanks for the inspiration

  22. I love these hangers. But I really want to see the whole house! Check out the wallpaper in that bathroom…I want to peek around the corner and see what else is going on! That carpet on the treads is sweet too, I just don’t know if it would clash with my dust bunnies and dog hair, haha. I love the built in shelving up top, I am somehow convinced that the more shelving I have, the more organized my life will be, anywhere you can squeeze in more shelves is good in my book!

  23. I like how they used the rail to space the pictures. It adds a great detail to the wall!

  24. Thank you for this post! It came at a perfect time when I was trying to figure out my next project (involving a bunch of antique maps I had). I love your blog and it has quickly become a favorite! Thanks for the inspiration!

  25. I love picture rails which are common in older Australian homes. I just posted some pics from our home. In two bedrooms we painted the walls white above the timber picture rails and buttercup yellow below. We hung prints simply close to the rail. Above one of our fireplaces we hung four decorative plates on the picture rail.

  26. I like your idea of a picture real. Great!

  27. I love the picture rail molding and have some in my bathroom. We put up new patterned wallboard and I didn’t want to put holes in it to hang a decorative mirrow (32×21) so bought the picture rail molding and it works great.

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