Saturday, September 24, 2011

Proper Use and Enjoyment of a Picture Rail

Many of my clients are just starting to become interested in restoring an old house and decorating their homes with vintage elements. From furniture to light fixtures, switch plates to door knobs, the majority of my clients really want to showcase the vintage aspects of their house.

All of the homes I've owned have had the "picture rail" around the top of the living room and dining rooms. These are great fun if you know how to use them and save a lot of wear and tear on plaster walls. Your artwork becomes very easy to relocate.

I found my first picture rail hooks at Home Depot in the display that sold all the other hooks, wire, and brackets for hanging pictures. This was a few years ago, and there were two hooks in a package for about $3.

I then found a bunch of vintage hooks at a flea market. I bought about half a dozen for $1 each - a bargain by anyone's standards. I wish I had bought all of them!

As I was researching more options for historic house hardware, I found a company online called Historic House Parts who sells a variety of these hooks for $2-$3.99 each - a little more if you want to get really fancy. And a trip to JoAnne's Fabrics netted me a supply of medium grade drapery cord to use for hanging the picture. I discovered a few tricks too. I make sure the picture has the usual eye hooks on each side, and I start by looping the cord through one side, and then the other - but I DON"T cut the cord until I have it hung on the wall and test it out with a simple not first. Then I adjust as needed, making sure I securely knot both sides, and then I leave a little extra incase I decide to move the picture to another location in the future.

It's a snap to do - so much so that I use it for my staging prints as well. The photo shown above is a print I use when I stage homes, and I've moved it from listing to listing with no problems.

One note of caution - make sure your picture rail is secured to the wall! Sometimes they come loose over time, and it's wise to make sure it's securely attached before placing any weight on the rail.

Here is a link to Historic House Parts' website. They are also running a sale on the drapery cord - at 99 cents a yard, it's a bargain!

Happy Decorating!


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