How to Create a Gallery Wall

By Rachel Hartman

Let your personality shine with a customized gallery wall, as seen in the Archer floor plan by Drees Custom Homes in Leander, TX.

Photo: Drees Custom Homes

From eclectic and fun to bold and beautiful, the art you display on your walls provides the perfect opportunity to portray a personal touch. Adding a gallery wall, which is typically a strategically arranged group of framed art and photographs, to one or more of your new home walls can be a good way to add that personal touch in a stylish way.

“The possibilities are endless when it comes to gallery walls,” points out Erika Bodine, assistant sales manager at LuxeDecor.com.

It’s really about what you — and your family — want to enjoy and show guests when they visit.

Yet putting together a gallery wall takes time and effort. Act rashly, and you could end up with a mishmash of paintings that are hard to look at.

Follow these steps to create a stunning gallery wall that you’ll be proud to show off.

1. Find the perfect spot.

When pinpointing a location, “decide what you would like the focal point of the space to be,” suggests interior decorator Ashley Rose Marino.

If you have a place that naturally attracts attention, consider placing the gallery wall near it. For example, if your living room has a standout piece, such as a vintage Italian leather sofa, you could install the gallery wall above it.

Other options for gallery walls include a large space above a bed or counter, or a wall alongside the dining room table.

2. Select your style.

A gallery wall can be used to display family photos, an art collection, or fun memories. It can also fill a space to fit in with a design plan.

“There is no right or wrong answer when deciding what to feature,” Marino says. The key is to choose a theme and let that guide you.

“As long as the pieces you have fit within the color scheme you’ve created for the space and are aesthetically pleasing together, there’s no limit to what you can include on your wall,” Marino adds.

You can even go beyond displaying art. If you want to feature family heirlooms, frame your grandmother’s silk scarf or your grandfather’s timepiece and hang it amidst the collection. In addition to photos, you may want to include posters, textiles or mirrors in the mix.

3. Think through mounting.

“Don’t hesitate to use various frame types and mounting options to create depth among your selections,” says Mariam Naficy, founder and CEO of Minted. “Mixing and matching will help achieve that sought-after ‘collected over time’ look.”

Look at your color themes when deciding on the right frames. If one of your prints has rose gold hues, you might be able to complement the tone by using a copper-toned frame for it.

Bright art can be combined with white to provide balance. “Matting can actually tone down art that might otherwise be too bold for your overall composition,” Naficy explains.

And if you’re on a budget, look for ways to mix in less expensive frames. Hanging some pieces with clips or wooden dowels can also combat the overall cost.

4. Remember spacing.

“There are fundamentally two types of gallery space,” notes Beverly Solomon, creative director at Beverly Solomon Design.

One of these is the “white box” or minimalist look. The other tends to resemble an English Manor or Paris apartment: in other words, “cram in as much as possible,” Solomon says.

Regardless of which look you want to create, try to keep at least three inches between each piece.

If possible, “hang frames at eye level,” Solomon says.

To add a visual element, try creating an invisible horizontal line that runs across all, or part, of the display. Place some pieces above the line, and some below.

5. Test the layout.

Trace the images you have on craft paper, and then tape the pieces of paper on the wall to get a sense of how the art will fit.

Another option: lay the pieces on the floor to make sure the composition is well balanced.

You can also make small scale-size cutouts of what you want to hang. Then shuffle them on paper until you find the right look.

When you’re ready to hang the artwork, start from the middle and work your way to the edges, Marino advises. This helps ensure your design is centered over the piece you have chosen to be the focal point of the room.

6. Look at lighting.

“Proper lighting can be a challenge,” Solomon says. While gallery-style track lighting can help illuminate your pieces, floor lamps are another practical option.

If possible, keep art and photos out of direct sunlight. For pieces near windows, add UV protective glass to the frames to help prevent damage.
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Rachel Hartman is a freelance writer who frequently covers home and lifestyle topics.

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