A gallery wall can be a striking and cost-effective way to add visual interest to a blank wall. It’s great for sharing memories or small pieces of art while commanding attention in a room.
It can be daunting to create a gallery wall at home. But it is possible to fill your walls with beautiful and unique pieces without spending a fortune or requiring any art industry knowledge. Candita Clayton, the renowned gallerist behind Candita Clay Gallery in Pawtucket (RI), says, “All you need to do is choose pieces that make you feel something.” You’ll be able to make any piece of artwork if that’s your starting point.
These expert tips will help you make your gallery wall a success if you don’t know where to start.
Identify your subject matter.
Jessica Davis is an interior designer at JL Design. The first thing you should do is to take a step back to decide your subject matter. Are you going to have a gallery wall with family photos, children’s artwork, or travel photos/memorabilia?
Let the frames tell the story.
“When hanging an art collection or gallery, I would stress that the frame tells part about the art story, and the frame selection is crucial to the process,” says Lisa Howie, curator consultant to Hamilton Princess Hotel’s contemporary artwork collection. She says that simple, minimalist frames can communicate art. This allows the art to stand out by itself.
Get started with a template.
Nikki N. Klugh, the principal designer at Nikki Klugh Design Group, Inc., says that a template can give you an idea about the final product and show you where each frame will be hung. It will also let you see how many frames and art pieces you will need to create a gallery wall.
You can create an organic or linear pattern where the elements feel random but are very carefully placed. Or you can plan out exactly how many frames you will need to get the desired look.
Klugh shares that a good rule of thumb when it comes to gallery wall sizing is for the entire collection to be between two-thirds and four-fifths the wall’s size. This ensures that your art piece will fit perfectly on the wall. It should not be too large or too small. It’s just right.”
Although frames can be expensive, Bass recommends mixing frames and keeping some pieces, such as canvas, unframed. Bass says that the texture mix creates an appealing visual approach.
Choose from eclectic art and photography.
Bass warns against choosing a matching set of prints or photos. Bass suggests that you look for pieces from friends, Etsy items, or your own photos.
Howie suggests that you choose mismatched frames if your goal is to create an eclectic look. This can reduce the cost of buying only new, uniform frames. She explains that other frames with more intricate details can help add layers to the narrative. For example, a frame made of gold and hand-carved may be the best choice for an artifact that is historical.
Quick tip: If you want to go for the mismatched look, thrift stores often stock tons of frames that you can get on a tight budget.
Balance and symmetry are important.
Lisa Modica, an interior designer at Cherry Tree Interior Design, says that it is important for the whole group to be symmetrical and balanced. To ensure a balanced shape, you can place pieces of complementary sizes on each side of your gallery.
Quick tip: You can always swap out new art for a different look. Clayton suggests that you can rotate the arrangement and placement of abstract pieces to refresh your space.
A gallery wall may look easy and require little effort to create an attractive wall, but there are steps you can take to make sure your wall is balanced and level. You can choose to use quirky art or silly photos, as well as unframed canvases and frames. But, it is important to plan your layout and ensure that each frame is properly spaced and level.