a man hanging a bright blue paining in his new home

How to attach pictures, shelves and curtain poles

25 November 2019

As you settle into your new home you will want to start adding the finishing touches such as pictures, shelves and curtain poles, but before you go drilling holes into the walls, you need to know what sort of fixing you’ll need.

The type of wall fixing that you use depends on the weight of the item you want to hang and the construction of the wall that you want it to hang from. Here’s an overview of what to use, where to use it, and how to use it.

Before fixing to walls, remember to always check for hidden pipes and cables using a detector – these can be purchased from any DIY store.

In masonry (blockwork) walls

These are the strongest walls in your home and can therefore support heavier items. Here you’ll need screws with wall plugs and you will need to ensure that both the screw and plug penetrate right through the plasterboard and deep into the blockwork.

In timber frame walls

Timber frame walls can also support heavier items, so long as the fixings are attached to the timbers within the wall and not just the plasterboard. Vertical timber studs are typically found at 600mm spacing across the width of the wall but you should use a detector to determine their exact position (the detector will pick up the metal fixings). If the studs are not in a suitable position, you might find it necessary to spread the load by screwing a piece of wood between the two studs and fixing directly onto that instead.

If the timber studs are not in a suitable location and the item you are wishing to hang is lightweight, proprietary products are available from DIY stores that may be suitable.

In proprietary partition walls

Partition walls are not suitable for heavy items. However, they can accommodate relatively light loads providing you use the right fixing device available from DIY stores. Some proprietary partition walls are not suitable for any fixings – if in doubt, check with your builder.

Unsure as to which walls are masonry, which are partitions? Your HUG floor plan may indicate this, but if not – check with your builder

Every new-build home in the UK that is sold with an NHBC Buildmark warranty and insurance policy comes with a secure, online Home User Guide (HUG). HUG is a free, personalised portal where you can store all the information you need about your home. It also contains useful advice about moving into a new home, designed to help you settle in as smoothly as possible.

This how-to guide and the accompanying videos are just part of the guidance available on HUG. If you’re in the process of buying a new-build home, or have recently bought one, with Buildmark cover make sure you check out HUG. It’s also the place where you can most conveniently accept your Buildmark cover.

Remember, most repair and maintenance ought to be carried out by a professional.

Take a look at our other how-to guides:

How to attach a floor fixing

Decorate your new-build home

How to connect a kitchen appliance

How to bleed a radiator

How to re-pressurise a sealed central heating system