You may think that hanging a picture is pretty straightforward, but there’s more to it than just eyeballing a spot and hammering in a nail (though many a husband would doggedly disagree). There are a few techniques that the pros use that can make your picture hanging endeavor so much easier — and help you avoid putting multiple holes in your wall.

1. Find the center.

First, your picture or group of pictures should be centered on the entire wall or over a piece of furniture. Using a tape measure, find the midpoint on your wall and work off that as your center. This is especially important if you plan to hang a group of pictures. Also, be sure to leave about 5-6 inches from your pictures to the nearest wall or furniture when you are planning where your artwork should go. This will avoid your wall looking too crowded and cluttered.

2. Map things out.

To get an idea of how an entire gallery wall of pictures will look, trace your pictures onto brown butcher block paper. Then affix each piece of paper to the wall using painter’s tape. This way, you can rearrange how things look without worrying about a zillion little picture holes and you can get it just the way you want it.

3. Consider a ledge.

Of course, instead of nailing holes at all, you can affix a picture ledge to your wall. That way, you can change out the shape of the pictures and frames often and not worry about holes in the first place. If you like the look of pictures on the walls themselves, you can also use adhesive picture hangers instead which tend to work better for smaller pieces.

4. Use the right hardware.

Once you’re ready to hang your picture, make sure you’re using the proper hardware. A picture hanging nail and hanger kit will hold a picture more securely (and will leave less of a mark on your wall) than just a nail.

5. Decide on the picture height.

Hang the picture so that the center of the picture is eye level for the average adult. If you’re super short (like me) or super tall, remember that important rule when hanging your pictures and adjust accordingly. The bottom of the picture should be no more than 4 feet off the ground.

6. Mark everything first.

Now, mark the top of your frame near the center mark and measure the distance from there to where the picture hanger is on your frame. Mark where you are going to hammer the nail in, keeping in mind that it should be aligned with the mark you made for the wall’s center.

7. Hang the picture.

Hammer in the picture hanger at the desired location. One tip while you attempt this — because you usually hang pictures as the finishing touch in a completed space, try affixing a Post-it note just under where you are going to hammer in your nail. Then, fold the Post-it in half — the crease will catch any falling dust as you hammer in that nail. Brilliant!

Sure, picture hanging can be easy, but if you do it wrong, it can make a whole space look off. Of course without pictures at all , a space can look unfinished. Use the tips above and hang your pictures right — and right away — the first time.

Related on MNN:

7 steps to hanging the perfect picture
If you don’t want crooked artwork or random holes in your wall, read this.