How To Hang A Grid Of Frames Over The Couch (And What Not To Do)

2, 4, 6, 8, Who Do We Appreciate? Planning!

And why do we appreciate it? Because we get burned when we don’t do it. At least we did on the frame arrangement we just hung above our sectional.

Here’s the story. We’ve always planned to take the big empty space above Karl and do a grid of large picture frames. We sort of envisioned it as a larger version of the frame grid that we hung above the couch in our old den…

… but instead of 8 x 10″ frames we’d use oversized 20.5 x 20.5″ Ribba frames from Ikea for more impact (since we already own and love four of them – and they’re just $19 a pop).

After some rough math and holding up a couple of the Ribba frames that we already owned, Sherry and I determined that we wanted to do a grid of six frames (two rows of three) to fill the space in the middle of wall, allowing for some empty space on either side for two table lamps that would sit on the future console table that we’ll eventually build to go behind the sectional. Note: we moved the 5 x 8′ Pottery Barn rug into the guest room for my in-law’s stay, and it will eventually live there permanently, we just brought it back into the living room until we upgrade to a bigger rug, since we’re currently guest-less and Clara appreciates having a soft place to play.

Anyway, back to the frames. We went to Ikea, bought six new Ribba frames (they sometimes vary slightly in color, so we figured it would be safest not to mix and match old frames with new ones, and we have a ton of other spots for the four that we already own) and headed home to begin the whole hang-it-up process. But first we made this iPhone video of Clara in Ikea. The girl is hilarious. Look how much fun she had:

Ok, now that you’ve seen the cutest thing that ever happened in the history of the world, we’ll get back to the whole framing thing. When we got home with our six new Ribba frames from Ikea, I suggested that we tape up some paper to figure out how high we want them to hang and how much space to leave between them. After all, we both know these things are worth planning out. And luckily the paper that comes in the frame is almost perfectly sized to help you figure this out. So we started with two sheets to see how high to hang them.

This is where things veered off course (thanks to me, I’ll admit). Sherry suggested that we tape up the other four sheets of paper to make sure we liked how all six looked together. Maybe I was just an eager beaver and wanted to get to drilling. Or maybe I decided we should blow it off because we had already accidentally thrown away one sheet of paper to complete the all-six arrangement. Whatever it was, I reassured Sherry that it would look just fine and we didn’t need to be all paranoid and hang the remaining three sheets to double-check everything. Famous last words.

She believed me (albeit hesitantly), so I started drilling. Insert happy testosterone filled sound effect here (there’s nothing like a little afternoon drilling). It wasn’t a fast process to measure, mark, and double check everything to make sure it was all lining up, so maybe an hour or so later I had five out of six frames hanging on the wall.

That’s when Sherry broke the news that the arrangement wasn’t big enough. We needed eight frames. As much as I hated to admit it (for more than one reason), she was right – the five frames looked too small on the wall (and adding the sixth wasn’t going to help). They floated awkwardly and just didn’t have the impact we wanted.

**I’d insert a picture here of giant Karl sitting awkwardly below those poorly placed frames but I was too pissed/disgruntled/ashamed to snap one.**

This was all my fault. Had I taken the time to tape up all of the sheets of paper we would’ve realized it before I put a single hole in the wall. I even would have taken a picture of the taped-up configuration to show you what a learning process taping them all up on the wall can be, and how grateful we were to have taken the time to complete that first to save a step. Duh, John. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

The next step was to take down the five already-hung frames with a big ol’ sour face and begin re-measuring everything so that eight frames would be centered above the sectional (and on that middle ceiling beam). Then came the not so fun process of not only removing the ten screws that were already in the wall (I was doing two per frame to be safe) but marking, drilling, and screwing in an additional sixteen. And since we already had two old Ribba frames that happened to match – finally, a lucky break – I was able to hang all eight frames in place without another four-hour-round-trip to Ikea, leaving us with this:

We definitely needed all eight frames. They should be just right when we add table lamps on either side of the arrangement after I build an über long console table.

We’re still debating exactly what to put in them (maybe family photos? maybe something more graphic?) but we’re certainly glad to have the whole frame hanging part over with. Even if it involved a lesson learned the hard way. At least it was a mistake that only took time and energy (and a bit of humility) to fix. You know, as opposed to a big wad of cash. Oh and speaking of time and energy, there are still some holes and pencil marks from the first attempt that need patching. Sigh.

Wait, who am I kidding. That’s Sherry’s department. Have fun with that babe.

What about you guys? Surely we can’t be the only ones who’ve made the mistake of not planning well. Or maybe we are. But we’d love to hear some of your stories if you’ve got ’em. Bad planners unite!

Psst- Speaking of frames, we found a really cool one for displaying kid art (or any art that you like to rotate out without taking it off the wall and removing the back). Check it out over here on BabyCenter.


  1. says

    I JUST did the same thing! I went through all the measuring, hanging, and then my hubs took one look at it and didn’t like it. I didn’t either, but it took me a little while to admit it :). I was so bummed to take it down and start all over, but our new arrangement looks so much better. I love the way these frames look over your couch!

  2. Amy says

    Unbelievable! I am dealing with the exact same problem this morning! Went all willy nilly with the frame hanging thinking it would look more “organic”, nope, just looks…….bad. On my way to fill holes and PLAN. Martha Stewart is never wrong :)

  3. Andrea says

    I have FUBARed hanging frames more times than I care to admit. At least ikea gives you those papers to help out!
    PS I just wanted to be among the first to comment LOL

  4. says

    First, the video of Clara is adorable!! I usually don’t click on videos within blogs, but I’m so glad I looked at this one!

    We haven’t done much to our condo in the almost 3 years living here… but your blog is helping inspire me to start soon. I think our first step will be a backsplash in the kitchen. We do have proof of the previous owners lack of planning– they did their own crown molding, and it is terrible! We actually got a $1500 credit for it when we bought the condo, but we haven’t done anything about it yet.

    The frames look great in the end!

  5. Kristen says

    I would leave a comment about the frames, but I honestly can’t get over the video of Clara. She is beyond adorable, and that video pretty much made my morning!

  6. Katie G says

    Looks great! Do you think it’s better to center frames over furniture or on the wall? In my daughter’s nursery, her crib is in a corner next to the closet and I can’t figure out how to center everything! Thanks!

    • says

      Generally speaking (although there are tons of exceptions) I think frames make the most sense when centered over furnishings instead of centered on the wall (when you’re forced to make a choice and can’t have both of course). Since art should “connect” to whatever is under it to create one big composition that feels balanced, it just seems to look crazy if a frame is shifted to the left or the right so it’s centered on the wall instead of being centered over the desk/dresser/crib/etc. Hope it helps!


    • says

      Ooh very pretty! We’re a bit scared about how light it is with a pup and a baby (especially since the living room is the room where Burger goes in and out for bathroom breaks), but we’ll have to think it over for sure!


  7. Samantha says

    Hahaha! You’re not the only ones, BELIEVE me.

    Am I the only one who’s going nuts about Karl’s placement? I am DYING to nudge him (and now the picture arrangement) a foot or two closer to the window and away from the doorway. Maybe I’m just crazy… and that DOES make sense, what you said about keeping everything lined up with the beams.

    Can’t wait to see what else you guys do! Love the blog, house, and Clara vids!

    • says

      Yup, when you’re in there the placement totally makes sense with that odd light hanging in the corner over the table and the beams centered with the art centered on them. But I think once we nudge him forward about a foot after building a big console table behind him it’ll make even more sense to everyone!


  8. Lindsay says

    I just don’t have the gift for decorating so y’all are saving my house with your ideas! Yesterday I hung curtains and after it all was up – they were crooked! I find out my ceilings are not completely level so it makes it totally look uneven. Instead of starting over, I wedged something in the curtain rod hook and bam…problem solved! Curtains will hide it anyway, right!?

    ps…you guys are pretty much amazing!

  9. Christine says

    I like how there’s four frames on one side of that center ceiling beam, four on the other. Nice balance there! And Clara’s crazy ride on the shopping card cracked me up. Isn’t it amazing how easily a happy baby makes all the big people happy, too?

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