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How to Hang Something From the Ceiling: 13 Tips & Tricks

metal decor hanging on the ceiling

Whether it’s Christmas decorations or a hanging plant, it can be difficult to hang items from the ceiling, especially if you don’t already have hooks or other hangers in place. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available to help, ranging from simple solutions like sticky tack that require no skill whatsoever to more difficult alternatives like installing a ceiling anchor.

The best option will depend on what you’re trying to hang from the ceiling, as well as the layout and materials of the ceiling. For example, there are very different solutions for properties with ceiling tiles compared to those with exposed metal rafters.

Below are 13 tips on how to hang something from the ceiling, taking into account all the possible materials and structures of your home.

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The 13 Tips & Tricks on How to Hang Something From the Ceiling

1. Sticky Tack

hand holding Blu sticky Tack
Image Credit: Ascannio, Shutterstock

Sticky tack is easy to use, attaches to rough and smooth surfaces, and does a decent job of holding light objects. However, you do need to be careful when using it because it can be pulled off by heavier objects and it may pull some of the paint away, depending on the type of paint.

To use sticky tack, roll it in a small ball and push it against the ceiling before pushing the end of decorations or whatever else you’re hanging onto the tack.

2. Adhesive Tape

man holding adhesive duct tape
Image Credit: Studio_Fennel, Shutterstock

If you’re hanging Christmas decorations like tinsel, you might be able to use adhesive tape, but this will pull down easily and it can look unsightly unless you’re able to hide the small amount of tape you use.

Like sticky tack, this is only a solution for light objects, and it doesn’t offer a long-term hanging solution.

3. Adhesive Wall Hooks

adhesive hooks
Image Credit: Luis Echeverri Urrea, Shutterstock

Adhesive wall hooks are designed for use on walls, but they can also be hung on the ceiling and can be especially useful for hanging Christmas lights and string lights. The hooks are typically made of plastic and have an adhesive backing. Pull the cover away from the backing and push the hook against the ceiling until it is in place.

4. Velcro

black velcro
Image Credit: EvaFilms, Pixabay

Velcro can hold more weight than sticky tack and tape and it usually comes with adhesive backing on both sides of the Velcro tab. It also offers the benefit of being able to easily remove whatever is hanging.

Remove the backing from one side of the Velcro and apply it to the ceiling. Remove the backing from the other side of the Velcro and stick it to the top of whatever you want to hang from the ceiling.

5. Thumbtacks

Image Credit: ShaniceRodriguez, Pixabay

Thumbtacks can be pushed into virtually any ceiling surface. However, this will only work to hang lightweight objects because the smooth surface of the tack pin means that heavier objects will pull the tacks straight out again.

Alternatively, you might be able to hang these from the very top of the ceiling, and the horizontal alignment of the pin means that it will be more difficult to pull directly out of the surface.

6. Hooks

screw hook

Screw hooks can be screwed into most surfaces, but they are especially effective when screwed into the wood of a joist or a beam. So, if you have exposed beams, these are a simple solution. You screw them in by hand, rather than using a drill or any other tool, and they can be unscrewed and removed once you take down whatever you’re hanging.

7. Magnetic Hooks

Magnetic Metal Hook
Image Credit: Mega Pixel, Shutterstock

Some apartments and homes have exposed metal beams, and these are ideal for adding magnetic hooks. Available hooks vary according to the amount of weight they will be able to hold before being pulled down, so check the rating and ensure the hook is secure by giving it a light pull before hanging anything from it. Magnetic hooks have the benefit that they will not leave any kind of residue or mark behind when you do remove them.

8. Nails

nails and hammer on wooden surface
Image Credit: analogicus, Pixabay

Nails are a fairly mechanical solution to the problem of how to hang items from a ceiling and rather than using the nail as a hook, you should use this solution when you have something that is moderately light and that you can nail through so that the item is literally nailed to the ceiling.

Don’t use nails that are too long, or you could hit electrical wiring or pipework. And whenever this is a risk, use the appropriate tool to check.

9. Install a Tension Rod

Zenna Home Black 26 to 76-Inch Adjustable Tension Shower Rod

Tension rods are the rods that are used to hand shower curtains or that are found in wardrobes to hold clothes. You put them in place and then unscrew one or both ends so that the rod lengthens. As it reaches the length of the room, the rod tightens against the wall and you have a pole on which to hang or attach items. This does mean that you have a rod running the length of the room, however.

10. Use the Rafters

wooden ceiling beams
Image Credit: JumpStory

If you have exposed rafters or the ceiling is attached directly to the rafters, you can use these pieces of timber to screw into and get a very secure hold. This is one technique that can be used to hold some heavier objects, but if the rafters are covered you will need to locate the rafter before you start drilling.

There are tools available that identify the position of studs, joists, and rafters. Alternatively, you might be able to locate rafters by tapping against the ceiling in different areas. Where there is a more solid sound, this is an indication that you have found a rafter.

11. Use the Ceiling Tile Gaps

Plastic Ceiling Tiles
Image By: Radovan1, Shutterstock

If you have ceiling tiles in your room, you can hang the end of light items like Christmas decorations between the tile and the frame. Place a knot at the end of the decoration to help keep the item in place.

12. Drill into a Floor Joist

house floor trusses and joists
Image By: ungvar, Shutterstock

If there are floors above your ceiling, there should also be floor joists. These are thick and sturdy pieces of timber that will take and hold screws and anchors. Use a joist finder to locate one and then use appropriately long screws or other pieces of hardware to fix into the joist.

13. Use an Anchor

split view of a drywall anchor installed
Image By: ANDY RELY, Shutterstock

If your ceiling has drywall and you can’t locate joists, you might be able to use a drywall anchor. These have wings that open out once the bolt is in place. The wings push down against the drywall and spread the weight that you hang so they can take light to medium-weight items.

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Hanging items from a ceiling can pose a challenge, especially if you can’t locate any floor joists, rafters, or other solid pieces of timber. However, there are solutions, depending on the type of ceiling you have and the weight of the item you want to hang. Above are 13 solutions that should enable you to hang something from your ceiling, no matter your situation.

Featured Image Credit: JumpStory


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