How to Hang Art from the Ceiling or High on a Wall

We've been taking a closer examination of some unusual places and spaces for displaying art, as well as creative ways in which to do so. Many art enthusiasts are very deliberate in how they care for art and may want to avoid multiple holes in their home's walls or identify damage-free options for displaying art in a rental.


Whatever the reason, some people prefer to display art utilizing a hanging system, suspended from a railing mechanism placed along the top of their walls. Some are uber-creative in their art display, actually suspending art from the ceiling or the top of a window sill.“Birds in Flight” by UGallery artist Javier Ortas

If all of this sounds a bit confusing, we're here to shed light on the practical and playful ways in which people can hang art from a higher elevation.

Modern Picture Hanging SystemsPhoto by Rachel Claire

Hanging pictures in creative ways can make the display more pleasing. You don't have to own an upscale Manhattan art gallery to showcase your artwork in a sophisticated manner. The commercial products that create great gallery presentations are available in simplified and affordable do-it-at-home formats as well.

There are a number of products available on the market for hanging art utilizing picture hanging systems. The basic components to consider with this type of cable system include:

  • If you don't have an existing railing or crown molding, the system should include railing that can be mounted flush to the wall. Usually, the railing is lined up on one side along the top edge where your wall meets up with your ceilings, although you can also mount a system lower on the wall but high enough for the art to hang along sightlines.
  • A system of hooks and cables which attach directly to the rail, with cables featuring a slidable hook along the cord on which art can be directly attached.

Although most systems include these standard elements, the specific types vary and there is a range of options such as wall-mounted, ceiling-mounted, optional lighting attachments, and railing colors.


Old Fashioned Picture Rails

Suspended art from picture rails harkens to an old house ambiance, which makes sense given its roots in 19th-century homes. If you're hoping to achieve this classic charm in your own home to hang pictures on your existing rails, the application isn't terribly complicated. (If you don't have existing rails, HGTV shares the following DIY how-to.)



You can buy kits to make the process a bit easier, but the basic idea is the same when it comes to these rail hook mechanisms to hang artwork. This approach typically involves utilizing a heavy-duty cord or wire and connecting it across a single hook attached to the picture rail, then threading it downward vertically, through d rings or other looped attachments placed on equidistant sides of the backside of the artwork frame. The pieces should then be securely knotted together to create the anchor for hanging artwork.

This look can be made even more interesting and classic by utilizing gorgeous ribbon or attaching multiple artworks along the same cords in a vertical row, though the execution is a bit more complex.

Direct Connection to the Ceiling

If for some reason your walls are altogether unconducive for hanging artwork, Martha Stewart advises that you can drive hooks directly into the ceiling, and then utilize rope, leather, or chains to hang artworks. This could be accomplished along a ceiling beam utilizing ceiling screws as well. We recommend using care to ensure your artwork is secure, especially if hanging a heavy picture or other substantial pieces.“Free Falling” by UGallery artist Jill Morton

If you’re exploring new and interesting ways to display your artworks, we hope these suggestions have been useful. If you’re in the market for additional original pieces, you can shop new art weekly on UGallery’s website.