Leaning Pictures and Mirrors
(The Easy Alternative to Hanging Art)

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This leaning mirror brings added dimension to the room.This rustic leaning floor mirror brings added dimension to this room. Photo by overstock.com.

Leaning pictures and mirrors against the walls is an easy and informal decorating alternative to hanging them up.

It's also the best way to display artwork and mirrors for those who have a fear of commitment.

Leaning artwork results in a less formal, casual look that is very appealing and handy for those who love to change out their artwork often.

My mother, who is a natural born interior decorator, has been leaning pictures and mirrors against the walls as far back as I can remember, long before it became vogue. 

Whether you are redesigning your home decor or planning to do your own home staging in preparation for selling your home, the following ideas for leaning pictures and mirrors should inspire you.

Keep reading for creative ideas on the many different decorative objects that can be leaned.



Benefits of leaning pictures and mirrors

  • It's just so darn easy!
Fireplace mantle vignetteMirrors add extra dimension and light to your home interior.
  • You can display pictures or mirrors without the hassle of measuring and putting toggle bolts or nail holes in your walls.
  • Leaning allows you to display artwork against a brick wall or area where you can't place a nail.
  • Leaning a floor mirror against the wall in a small space will make it feel larger.
  • Leaning pictures, instead of hanging them will prevent window glare from obscuring the art.
  • Leaning pictures and mirrors lends a casual, yet elegant look to your home design. If you prefer a formal look, hang your artwork instead.
  • You can quickly change out artwork to another part of the house when you get bored with the placement. 
  • Leaning pictures and mirrors can be used to hide unattractive things like; electrical panels, wall outlets, unsightly wiring or damaged walls.
  • You will never have to straighten pictures again! They will always be level.
  • Leaning pictures and mirrors is the ideal room decoration solution for renters— they won't have to repair holes in the walls when they move.

Where can I lean pictures and mirrors?

Practically anywhere!

Black and white themed bathroom.
  • Fireplace mantels
  • On the floor, against a wall
  • On shelves, inside bookcases
  • Chair railings
  • On flat surfaces, like sofa tables, consoles, buffet tables
  • Windowsills
  • The top surface of an upright piano

  • Display pictures on an artist's easel. Easels are ideal for interior decorating because you can move them wherever you want.
  • I've even seen pictures leaning on back of a toilet and bathroom countertops, as pictured. 

Personally, I wouldn't place artwork on my bathroom countertop because of possible water damage.

What kind of artwork can be leaned?

Artwork design interior picturesLeaning pictures and objects of similar color and style will unite them.

You aren't limited to leaning pictures and mirrors alone. Any kind of flat decorative object will look more interesting if you lean it. 

Look for exciting "leaning" possibilities at your local antique and second-hand stores.

Spend a day wandering around a flea market, imaging what would look fun leaning on your fireplace mantle, a shelf, against a dresser mirror, even on the floor.

Here are just some decorative objects for the home that would look great:

Lean artwork or mirrors on a fireplace mantle.Fireplace mantles are the perfect place to lean your artwork and mirrors!
  • Stained glass
  • Old salvaged doors
  • Rustic or brightly painted shutters
  • Rustic iron bed frames with ornate design elements
  • Flat architectural objects
  • Serving trays, platters, flat baskets...
  • Weathered wood, reclaimed barn siding
  • Large letters, old neon numbers or letters
  • Large coffee table-sized books
  • Picture frames
  • Flat sculptural objects
  • an old gate, weathered fencing
  • old store signs
  • Paper products, like vintage greeting cards or sheet music


Layering pictures and mirrors; creating vignettes

Leaning pictures and mirrors creates a casual look.Layer pictures and mirrors with other objects to add dimension and excitement to your home decor.

Layering pictures and mirrors by overlapping will add dimension and whimsy to your home decor. 

When layering, DO NOT allow acrylic canvas surfaces to touch, as they will often stick together, especially in warm weather.


Layering your leaning picture or mirror with other artwork and objects will make it look intentional, rather than a mistake, as if you temporarily left the picture sitting there...


Experiment by incorporating some of the following room decorating ideas:

Design interior picturesOverlap leaning artwork, so that each item is partially visible.
  • Vary color, texture, height and shape of objects.
  • Overlap artwork slightly, so that a part of each item is visible.
  • Large heavy objects on the floor, like mirrors or shutters, look great when layered with live potted plants and sculptural decorative objects from the garden. Be sure items are in proper scale to the size of the room-- don't use small objects in your floor arrangements.
  • Group old picture frames in varying sizes, contrasting colors or frame styles.
  • Arrange items according to theme; landscape pictures, antique pictures, beachy items, black and white photographs, and so on.
  • A stack of hardcover books, a candle base, or small box can be used to raise smaller objects.
  • For a sophisticated look, group canvases or frames in the same color palette.
  • For a bohemian look, lean artwork of varied colors and patterns and add stacks of books.

Objects that work well in layering with pictures and mirrors; dried starfish, attractive hardcover books with the jackets removed, rustic ironware, baskets, trays, plates, candles, vases, candlesticks and lamps. A lamp will add height and light to your display.



How to keep pictures and mirrors from slipping


If you live in an earthquake prone area like me, (Alaska!) you will definitely want to secure your artwork.


How to secure leaning art:

Place a thin piece of carpet grip or rubber drawer liner under leaning items on table tops to prevent them from slipping. Place it at the back of your leaning object so it won't show.

Or, place a heavy object in front of leaning pictures and mirrors. A pretty rock, (like a geode or fossil) a large candle, a stack of books, or a small piece of statuary will hold things in place.

If you have a house for sale, you may not want to display personal photos. Why? Because buyers will be distracted by them, making it harder to see themselves in your home.

When I was a real estate agent showing houses, it never failed... home buyers always stopped to check out personal photos!

Decorating with floor mirrors

Leaning mirror in the living room.A leaning mirror will bring added dimension to any space. Be sure to attached large floor mirrors to the wall. Photo by Potter Barn.

When you decorate with a large floor mirror, you should always consider what the mirror is reflecting. If a mirror is reflecting an air conditioner or other unattractive feature, try another area.

A good rule of thumb is to place a mirror where it’ll reflect the outdoors. This will create a feeling of spaciousness and light.

If this isn’t possible, try placing the mirror where it’ll reflect an artificial light source, like a pretty chandelier. This will scatter light around the room.

Avoid leaning small pieces of artwork or mirrors on the floor. They will be lost in the overall landscape of a room.

How to secure a large leaning mirror to the wall

If you are decorating with a large mirror and have kids running around, you should be concerned about your heavy mirror falling.

The easiest way to secure your large leaning mirror is to install an L-Bar to the wall. Watch the video below to learn how easy it is!

See the video below on how to secure a leaning mirror to the wall. Video by MirrorLot of canvaslot's channel.

Make your own floor mirror

If you've always wanted one of those popular floor mirrors but couldn't afford it, watch the DIY video below. It shows you how to make your own affordable leaning floor mirror. Video by pinksofoxy.

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