Gallery walls have become so popular in recent years. I’m sure I don’t need to explain what it is, but just to be clear, a gallery wall is a collated collection of photographs, artwork, prints, objects curated on a wall in your home… More often than not in a hallway or living space.
It’s also an easy way to update your interiors scheme, a way to create a focal point, a way to transform a bland wall in your home and add in your personality.
Adding in a gallery wall can be a great option for the renters out there too when there is a no decorating policy but you want to showcase your character.
Deciding on a gallery wall that best suits you and your design style, isn’t always as easy to pull together, so here are some ideas for you to consider.
Q. WHAT KIND OF ART SHOULD I HANG?
You have two options for creating a gallery wall:
Option 1 – Go with what you love, what brings you happiness and what inspires you.
Your gallery wall can include anything that brings you happiness – gorgous family photos, prints, colourful artwork, illustrations and kids drawings.
You could also include personal handwritten letters, vintage advertising posters, sheet music, or tickets you’ve kept as meaningful mementos.
Objects such as a vintage clock, medals, decorative items of significance (a horseshoe for an equestrian lover, an oar for a rower) or inspirational quotes.
The more meaning the items have, the more of a conversation piece your gallery wall will become.
Option 2 – Let someone else do the hard work for you and purchase a curated collection
There are now many places that offer curated collections of predesigned gallery walls to take the guess work out of the equation.
(Is there anything you can’t get on Esty?? Completely in love with the wire wall art from House of Owls)
Q. WHERE’S THE BEST LOCATION FOR A GALLERY WALL?
You can create your gallery wall wherever you have a large empty wall space.
Since a gallery wall is meant to be a collection of pieces of art or items you love, I would suggest you choose a prominent wall so that you can enjoy it every time you pass by.
A staircase wall, above the sofa in the family room, in an open entryway or down a hallway are all good locations.
Q. WHAT ORIENTATION SHOULD THE ARTWORK BE – LANDSCAPE (HORIZONTAL) OR PORTRAIT (VERTICAL)?
The size and orientation of your artwork will depend on the wall you are trying to fill. If you want to fill a long vertical and narrow wall at the top of your stairs, similar vertical frames or items would be best.
Of course you could hang some items vertically and others horizontally. It all depends on how wide or tall your wall is.
Q. DO FRAMES NEED TO BE THE SAME COLOUR AND STYLE?
Personally, I prefer when a gallery wall has a consistent theme, but the choice is entirely yours.
I like a common thread throughout the grouping. It can be the colour of the frames or the colour of the mount board (if you choose to have mount board). When you choose a theme, colour can be the easiest way to tie several different elements together.
When you mix textures, materials and objects that share a commonality, your gallery wall will look much more pulled together.
You’ll see that some gallery wall layouts work better with similar frames (the Triptych) and some are lovely with a mix (the Organic).
Q. DO SMALL ITEMS NEED TO BE IN SMALL FRAMES?
Don’t feel that just because you have a small item to frame, it needs to be in a tiny frame.
You could always group photos or items together in a frame or shadow box. Let’s say you have four small holiday photos that you would like to frame together. They can be in a grid format in a large frame with lots of white space surrounding them.
You can use large mount board and a large frame. This visually enlarges the small photo itself and gives it more prominence.
Q. WHERE DO I START?
Careful planning is the key to a well designed gallery wall. So if you’re the type of person who never measures when hanging a picture on the wall, you may need to show some restraint before reaching for the hammer.
Experiment on paper first. Trace the items or frames on paper and hang them on the wall with painters tape. Move them around until you get a look you like. It’s the ideal way to ensure you’re going to have a gallery wall design that you love.
Q. HOW MANY ITEMS SHOULD BE INCLUDED ON MY WALL?
Even numbers work well when you group items close together in a symmetrical grid (grid of 4, 6, 8, etc.) Odd numbers work well for an asymmetrical grid when you want to create visual balance of items that are not the same size.
Q. WHAT ARE SOME LAYOUT DESIGNS?
The grid is a relatively easy gallery wall template to follow. For this one, it looks nicest if all the frames are the same size. All you need to do is line up the tops of each frame. For a horizontal grouping, decide if you want the tops of each frame to line up, or the bottoms. You can use painters tape to ensure you line them up properly. When spacing artwork, ensure you keep objects about 2-5 inches apart. Two basic grids are below. These are good starting points.
Here’s another option: place your frames within a “box”. Notice how all sides, tops and bottoms of the frames within the box line up.
You can arrange frames of various sizes within the space, as shown below. This may take some time to get right, which is why it’s important to plan things out on paper first.
As the name implies, the Stack layout involves stacking photos one above the other. This is a great way to display family photos or memories from your travels. This is an easy layout to follow and creates a cohesive look when you use similar or identical frames.
You can also do a single stack and rather than line up the frames, you center them in a vertical line. For this type of Stack, the frames can be different sizes and styles.
The Crown layout is another good choice when you have one large piece of artwork and a few smaller ones.
This layout is similar to a grid but has 3 cohesive art pieces side by side in a row. This is a classic layout for hanging prints above the bed. It also works above a console or sofa. Looks best if the frames and mountboard are exactly the same.
The Organic is the original gallery wall layout. You start with one large piece of art which becomes your focal point. Then you add smaller frames and place them around the focal point.
Frame edges do not need to line up. All you have to do is make sure that you have a uniform space in between each frame so that the entire look is cohesive.
This is the classic layout because you can keep adding to your gallery wall on the outside perimeter. You can use a mix of frames in all sizes and styles, as well as mismatched art and objects.
This is more of a “freestyle” design.
“Up The Stairs” Layout
Note how each frame in the example below lines up with another, either on the bottom, top or side.
The key to creating your own gallery wall is to experiment. Start with a basic grid and go from there as you feel more comfortable.