While I was stationed in England with the Air Force, I toured castles and stately homes. I just love touring old homes. Victorian homes have a certain feel because of all the ornate woodwork, wallpaper, and sometimes cloth panels on the walls. The one thing I don’t see is a myriad of holes from pictures hanging on the walls.
Looking at the ceilings, I began to notice something they seemed to have in common- a picture rail. This is a length of decorative molding located about a foot from the ceiling with decorative hooks. Wires, cords or ribbons ran from the hooks to the backs of the pictures. Hardly anyone noticed any wires, and often the cords or ribbons were of a matching color to the wall so they weren’t noticeable.
The hooks themselves were decorative, and sometimes covered with rosettes or hidden behind other decorations.
To help avoid having walls reminiscent of a pincushion, install a picture rail and hang pictures and decorations from it.
You will need:
• Measuring tools, pencil and notebook
• Decorative molding
• Mitre box and saw
• Coping saw
• Sandpaper, paint or sealant
• Construction adhesive
• Finishing nails longer than the width of your molding, hammer, nail punch
• Wood putty and knife
• Drill with small bits or electric nail gun
First, measure the length of each wall for the picture rail. If unsure of the molding width, cut different widths of cardboard and tape them to the wall. Choose the one that looks best to you and take that to the DIY store. Some rooms look best with wide, heavily ornate rails while others are better with plain and narrow rails. Try not to go under three inches wide.
There is no need to encircle a room with a picture rail. A single rail or a rail on each side of a narrow room with hanging mirrors can give an illusion of width.
Cut the rails to length. If unfamiliar with molding and fitting corners, practice first with a few scrap pieces. Every DIY store has a bin with short molding scraps for almost no money at all. Here’s a good site for fitting molding at the inside corners. Bob Villa gives clear videos, free for viewing about inside and outside corners.
If using an electric nail gun, make sure it’s set for finishing nails. If it doesn’t have that setting, don’t use it. It could send the nails through the wall.
Here’s another method. First, make installation marks on the wall. Insure the rail is level, then apply construction adhesive to the wall and the back of the rail. Hold for the appropriate time and allow to dry for 24 hours. With the electric drill, drill pilot holes first, then drive the finishing nails into the molding carefully. With the nail punch, drive the heads just under the wood. The nails provide extra holding power to the construction adhesive. At the wall studs, I like to use longer nails.
Sand and stain or paint according to your tastes. Attach doorknobs, hooks or picture hangers and hang pictures, bulletin boards, posters, etc. Using heavy duty fishing string allows the items to hang without being visible. If desired, cover the hooks with rosettes, paper flowers or other decoration.
No more pincushion walls.
I think I’ll install them in the office. It’ll be a great way to get the bulletin board off my desk and above my computer without more wall holes.