10 tips for creating a gallery wall
Gallery walls are a great way to showcase your favourite artworks and add some interest to a blank wall. Here are 10 helpful tips to get you started.
Gallery walls have quickly become a popular choice for adding personality and interest to a blank wall. From sophisticated dining room displays to bright and beautiful artworks hung above a sofa, to retro prints following you up the stairs, they are a great way to bring life to a room.
The beauty of gallery walls is that they are so unique, and there really no rules – so these are just some tips to help guide you towards the look that you’re going for.
1. The bigger picture
First thing is to decide what you’re really hoping to achieve with your gallery wall, as this will dictate pretty much everything else. Do you have a collection of favourite artworks you’d like to display, or are you planning to collect as you go? Is there a bare wall in your house that’s calling out to be decorated? Is it more of a sentimental feature perhaps, made up of treasured photos and keepsakes? Go into it with a purpose, and everything else will start to fall into place.
2. Use a template
Some of the best gallery walls look the most effortless, however, achieving that effect often takes some degree of planning. Start by laying out all your pieces out on the floor in their frames, playing with layout, how the colours work together, and anything you want to keep as a focal point. Once you have this, take a photo and cut out pieces of paper the same shapes and sizes as each piece, which you can tape to the wall to make sure it works in the space. Hang the pieces one by one until your gallery wall is complete!
3. Don’t forget about frames
The picture is only half the story – the frame you choose will also play a bit part in dictating the style and overall effect of your gallery wall. It can be great fun to go to charity shops and antiques markets to pick out beautiful frames that will add a unique edge to your pieces. If you’re going to do this, go all in. A mix of colours, textures and shapes, from ornate aged brass to elegant ovals, will look fantastic together. Or, you could go the other way and let the pictures do the talking by getting identical minimal frames for each piece – black or wood tend to work best. These could all be the same size, or many home stores sell multipacks of the same style frame in different sizes.
(Image credit: @inside_number_thirty)
4. Find the right layout
The layout that you choose is really decided by the pieces you have. For a really sleek and satisfying effect, it can look great to have a huge grid made up of prints of the same size. If you’re working with piece you already own, however, a good rule of thumb is to start with the biggest piece and place is somewhere near the middle, but not quite at the centre as this would draw the eye to that alone. Place other large pieces next, spaced apart from the first one, and then fill in with smaller pieces. If there are some with colours that you particularly love and fit well within the room, these can also be more central.
5. Choose a cohesive colour palette
Don’t be mistaken, we’re not saying you can’t have a bold rainbow of colours in your gallery wall. The key thing here is tone – choose a rough category to stick to such as pastels, bright primary colours, monochrome, muted neutrals or a more retro palette. Within any of these categories you can mix colours as much as you want, but having a similar tone will keep everything looking cohesive and curated.
6. Showcase your gallery
You could have everything in place for a stunning gallery wall, but will the setting show it off sufficiently? If you already know where you’re going to hang everything, consider things like whether it’s well lit, whether the colour of the wall behind will be cohesive with the pieces, and if the shape and size of the wall works. There are several tricks you can use if you need to. You could add lamps to help display your artworks in the best light, or paint the wall a block colour that tonally matches the images. If your frames are looking a little lost on a large wall, you could also experiment with painting an archway or geometric shape to frame them.
7. Mix it up
Though they’re called gallery walls, pictures don’t have to be the only things you display. If you’re going for more of an eclectic, quirky look, mixing in other items can work brilliantly. Think small mirrors with interesting frames, vinyl album sleeves, embroidered wall hangings, decorative plates…the options are endless! This can also be a really good way to incorporate sentimental items that you’d love to display but don’t quite have the right place for.
8. In a pinch, DIY!
It’s frustrating when you have everything ready for your dream gallery wall, but there’s just one gap left that needs filling. If you’ve searched high and low for the perfectly sized, perfectly coloured print to complete your gallery wall and have had no luck, why not make the missing piece yourself? It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. Think about the colours, size and subject matter that would work best in the space, and use acrylic paints or cut out coloured paper to create a really easy, minimal piece that fits your brief.
9. How about a picture ledge?
An alternative to the conventional gallery wall which is growing in popularity is the picture ledge. These are great if you like to change up your artworks every few months. Rather than having to find pieces that will fit the gaps exactly, or fill, sand and make new holes every time you want to hang a new piece, install narrow picture ledges which you can use to display an ever-changing calendar of artworks. This can easily have the same effect as a gallery wall – stack two or three picture ledges which will create a grid effect one pictures have been added, or place ledges of varying lengths at staggered heights to get that more effortless look.
10. Let nature in
We know plenty about the benefits of bringing plants into our homes, so if you’re a lover of nature why not introduce some greenery into your gallery wall? This can work especially well if you already have some plant-themed artworks. Metal and wooden display cubes can be used to frame succulents or hanging plants; bunches of dried eucalyptus or lavender can look beautiful when hung from a hook and will also provide a lovely scent, and flowers pressed in a glass and metal frame add a delicate touch.