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4 Easy Ways to Hang a Heavy Mirror

heavy mirror

Ashley Montgomery Design

A beautiful mirror can work wonders in making a room look more elegant, grand, and spacious. But what happens when you stumble upon that perfect oversized, ornate mirror, only to discover it's ridiculously heavy? Well, fear not—you can still hang this beauty in your space—it just takes a little bit of extra planning.

We consulted with the pros to determine the best way to tackle this type of project.

Things You'll Need:

  • Appropriate screws
  • Stud finder
  • Pencil
  • Hammer and nails
  • Drill (if necessary)
  • Piece of plywood (if necessary)
  • Z-clip (also know as a French cleat)
heavy mirror

Cathie Hong Interiors

Step 1: Understand Wall Material

This will affect how you will want to go about hanging something heavy, designer Rozit Arditi of Arditi Design tells us.

"Determine if your wall is brick or sheetrock, as you need to use the appropriate screws for each type of wall," she comments. "If hanging a heavy mirror on a sheetrock wall, we always recommend adding plywood backing inside the wall or hanging right at the studs."

Step 2: Determine Proper Positioning

While you always want to take the time to plan out where exactly something will hang on the wall before grabbing your materials, thoughtfully measuring and determining placement is extra key when it comes to something heavy. Hanging this mirror once will be enough of a project; once it's up, you likely won't want to take the piece down for quite some time.

To get started, determine how high and where exactly you'd like your mirror to go within a given room. "Typically you would want to hang a mirror at eye level or about 60 to 65 inches off the floor, centered over a piece of furniture," Allie Mann of Case Architects & Remodelers says. This step may also call for using a stud finder, Mann adds.

"Utilizing a stud-finder is a great first step to identifying the best 'anchor' to ground the weight of the mirror," Foley & Cox principal Michael Cox agrees. But if this causes issues, Dominic Vitalone of BLDC Design offers an alternative approach.

"When unable to anchor to studs, I use snap toggle bolts to secure to drywall or plaster walls," he says.

heavy mirror

Design: Sarah Lyon, Photo: Allie Provost

Step 3: Look at the Mirror's Backing

Whether the mirror you purchased has wire or hooks will determine your next steps.

  1. If your mirror has a single wire in the back, measure how far down the wire is along the back of the mirror so it hangs at the desired height.
  2. Then, place your nail at the correct height on the wall. Mann suggests taking a pencil to mark this spot on the wall before drilling or hammering.

Be mindful that the mirror will hang about an inch lower than where you place the nail when using the mirror hanging hooks, Mann notes.

If your mirror has hooks on the back, Mann offers another set of tips:

  1. Measure the distance between the two hooks with a tape measure.
  2. Then, measure how far down the back of the mirror they are to be placed on the wall accordingly.
  3. A pro tip from Mann: rub the hooks attached to the mirror on the back of the wall; they will leave a mark that you can use instead of marking with a pencil.
  4. Be sure to use a level to ensure that nails and hooks are going in the right place. 

If you're worried about a mirror being too heavy to hang with its existing hardware, Fox has another suggestion.

"Adding a z-clip (also know as a French cleat) to the back of the mirror and securing the component strip with two to three strong screws into the wall with help distribute the bearing weight of the piece," he advises.

heavy mirror

House of Chais

Step 4: If Needed, Hire a Pro

Not quite feeling up to the challenge of hanging a heavy mirror yourself? Fear not, plenty of pros are extremely well-versed in this type of home repair task and will ensure all goes according to plan.

"It’s important as 'insurance' to make sure things are hung safely and correctly the first time," designer Brynn Olson says. "They'll be able to locate studs and offer advice if alternative methods—a French cleat or special anchor, for example—are advisable. We've even had our installers weld metal pieces onto the backs of mirrors to help reinforce incredibly heavy pieces."