Decorating your apartment is one of the more fun activities associated with moving into a new place. You probably have an image of how you want everything to look and have started compiling all your various pieces of wall art.

However, hanging things can get a bit tricky. Drywall isn’t exactly sturdy stuff, so using the right tools and techniques is super important. Here are some decorating tips for creating a space you love with various types of equipment:

When You Have a Stud


The most secure way to hang a coat hook, wine rack, picture or other type of wall art is to attach a screw to a stud. Studs are pieces of wood beneath drywall that act as the wall’s frame. Most structures have vertical studs spaced 16 inches apart. You can also find some that run horizontally.

There will always be a stud in a corner and next to an outlet. Use those to guide you to find a stud in the center of the wall. Simply measure from the corner outward and mark each 16-inch increment. You can also use a stud finder to locate the wood in your wall.

Once you find the stud, get out your power drill. Use the drill bit to slowly create a hole in the spot you marked. Insert the drill and pull it out slowly once you’ve made your hole into the stud.

Next, attach your screw to the drill and insert it into the pre-made hole. Now you can hang your picture securely! Be wary of plumbing and electric cords when drilling.

When You Don’t Have a Stud


Because drywall isn’t very sturdy, you must be careful hanging pictures and art from a spot that doesn’t have a stud. Here are some options for hanging pictures without a stud:

Anchor: Drywall anchors look like hollow plastic screws and they can be a great ally. These objects have a hook at the tip that lodges into the drywall. It’s like a one-way valve. The anchor slides into the wall, then the hook deploys and it can’t be pulled back out.

You would insert this tool between the pre-drill and the screw phases of a normal hanging procedure. It ensures that your art will remain on your wall. This is especially important if you’re hanging a coat rack or other heavy object.

Adhesive Strip: Hanging pictures without nails can be tricky, but sometimes you just don’t have the equipment you need (or your landlord won’t let you make holes in the wall). No matter the situation, you can still hang your decorations using adhesive strips.

These double-sided products stick to the wall and your art without damaging the paint (as long as you follow the instructions properly). Depending on what you’re hanging, you may have to use multiple strips.

Nails: Hang light artwork using nails. Simply pick the spot you want to place the painting and mark it with a pencil. Use a hammer to tap the nail into the wall.

Many paintings and mirrors hang from wires, in which case you could use several nail and hook combinations per painting. This technique creates a more secure hold.