How to Create a Gallery Wall by Yourself
One of the most impactful yet most often intimidating elements of interior design is certainly a gallery wall. Heck, we can even feel the stress coming over you while reading this headline. Yes, mastering a gallery wall can be a bit tricky as putting together a visually pleasing concept requires a lot of thought and some patience, but it is by no means impossible to achieve. With the right attitude and some professional guidance, there will be nothing stopping you from translating your personal aesthetic into a beautifully designed vertical concept.
It is way easier than you may think. Ready or not, we are about to teach you how to create a high-end looking gallery wall on any budget.
Image source: The New York Times
Pick Art that Speaks to You
Art is very personal, so you don’t want to rush yourself into any hasty decisions. Remember, the gallery wall you are coming up with will soon become a focal point of your space and the last thing you need is a daily reminder of the money spent on the wrong piece. And sometimes a lot of money, too.
It takes time to curate a collection of pieces that feel right both to you and with each other, so don’t stress over that empty wall and give yourself some space for thinking first.
Image credit: Chambers Austelle
Create a Concept
Now it’s time for the most interesting part – coming up with a concept! The fact that you have a bunch of pieces you just can’t take your eyes off of doesn’t necessarily mean that they will look good when placed next to one another.
To make sure you will end up with a natural, relaxed flow of the gallery wall concept, lay all the pieces on the floor first and play with the layout until you are satisfied. This extra step will provide you with a test drive on the road you’re heading with your collection, and allows for easy touch-ups that won’t leave ugly marks on the wall. Take images. A lot of images! And later decide what’s your favourite collage.
There are some templates you can follow, but the best advice is to follow your eye and see what makes it happy.
Image source: The Design Files
Choose the Colour Scheme
Choose the colour scheme wisely and make sure it plays well with the rest of the room. You don’t have to be very strict about it and by all means, feel free to allow for other colours to sneak in. They will bring depth to the room and prevent it from looking overly designed. But make sure to keep these extra shades low key. Your statement colours should dominate the view and set the mood for the rest of the space.
If you have an extraordinary collection of quality artwork, let it shine! Dark, heavy frames usually compete for the limelight, so make sure to opt for light frames inside your colour palette instead. A couple of black frames can work too, but in this case, ground them with some extra elements like cushions or a vase so they look intentional.
Always use three or more different kinds of frames as opting for just one would look way too flat.
Image source: Design Sponge
If you just throw a random bunch of pieces on the wall chances are next to zero that you will end up with a pleasing look. But the same is true for overly symmetrical layouts.
Don’t obsess about being perfect. It’s boring! Aim for a playful and laid back look.
Balance is key! Especially in terms of colour. Avoid grouping visually heaving pieces together and let the eye travel seamlessly across the space.
Use as many different mediums of art as you can (as long as it makes sense). Oil paintings, contemporary abstract art, movie posters, prints, drawings, doodles, school charts, photos, embroidery, macrame… using different forms of visual art in a single gallery wall display is what makes a difference between a rookie and high-end designer.
Image credit: Luke Edward Hall
Mix Different Sizes of Artwork
Vary the size of the pieces in your collection and make sure to balance out both proportions and colours. Start with the largest piece and build upon it. Don’t overcomplicate it. Let the child inside you guide your way.
Oversized art is always a much better choice than too small, so when in doubt – go large! Don’t just think horizontal and vertical, look for circular too!
Image source: SFGirl
How to Know Where to Hang the Art
Now to the most tricky part! You have the art, the concept and the tools, but you are clueless about where to hammer, right?
First of all, never lose sight of the bigger picture. The gallery wall should be looked as a whole, and not as a group of individual items. A general rule of thumb is to hang the art to ‘eye level’ (60 inches), the same should be applied in this case too. Always keep the same distance between the individual pieces (1-3 inches) as otherwise, they will be left floating without any purpose or connection to the group.
But rather than consulting the rules about inches, consider the room itself. The gallery wall and the furniture should relate to each other and create a bond, not just coexist in the same space. The majority of people hang their artwork too high, but you know better.
Recruit a helping hand to hold the items next to the wall, so you can take one more look at the display from a distance before you mark the correct nail placement.
You can even cut out the papers in sizes of the artwork and place them on the wall for a final review of the layout and then mark where the nails should go.
Image credit: Maia Lapiere
You see, its not that complicated after all. And if you change your mind eventually, you can always make edits. It’s not like you have to knock down a wall. It’s just a mark. Not a big deal.
Feature image: Planete Deco