Gallery Wall Guide

Gallery Wall Guide

Five easy steps to get the look
| September 24, 2015

Ever since we were children, we’ve used our walls to showcase our personalities by plastering them with the things we love. From posters of our favorite musicians, athletes or cars to mementos of vacations and photos with friends and family, we took pleasure in decorating our space to highlight our goals, tastes and style. Now, older and wiser, our taste in posters has (hopefully) matured but our desire to decorate our spaces to reflect our personality should still be as important as it was when we were teens.

One way to make an impactful showing of your unique style is to arrange a curated selection of art into a gallery wall. Yes, we’re talking about the popular decorative trick that shows up in the pages of the trendiest interior design blogs and magazines. But the gallery wall is popular for good reason, it gives you a creative way to showcase a number of different art pieces in a cohesive manner and adds a strong focal point to your interior. Plus, it adds richness and texture to your space.

Let’s start out with the easiest: you’re going to need a wall. We’re guessing that there is an area that comes to mind immediately- a boring hallway, that empty wall in your living room- but if not, think creatively about the opportunities in your home. Walk around a few times with clear eyes viewing your space as if it were the first time you were seeing it. Your gallery wall can be as big or small as you want, but the most important part about making one is expressing your individual style.

The foundation to your gallery wall is the art, so make sure you start out with the strongest elements. Round up more art than you’ll need for the wall you’ve picked- you want to be in a position to cut pieces rather than have to use unin- spired filler. Honestly, a good collection takes time- and a bit of money- to build. Don’t let this deter you, though, because a gallery wall is practically made for adding to as you go - let it grow with you as your collection does. Take time to find pieces that are of different sizes and shapes. If you’re up for it, take the project to the next level by adding 3D objects either placed in shadow boxes for a clean, tailored look or left in the open for a relaxed, artistic feel. More than anything, make sure the pieces you’re gathering are things you love.

If your art is framed, great! You can jump right ahead and skip this step. If not, now’s the time to take inventory of what needs framed. Gather the measure- ments of the pieces and check IKEA for affordable yet elegant framing solutions or try your luck at your local thrift store, you would be amazed at what you can find there. You don’t necessarily have to have matching frames, but keeping them in the same tones, i.e. all white frames with white wood and light metal or black frames with dark wood, etc, keeps the collection unified.

So, your wall is picked out, your art selected and your frames are filled, now it’s time to get creative and figure out how it will all go together. This is the fun part, but also the most time consuming part, as you’re going to want to have have a plan before you start hammering nails. Try laying the pieces out on a large open area of floor. Use the largest, most captivating piece and work out from it. This step is a lot of trial and error, too; you’re trying to figure out which pieces work next to what and that can take a little bit of time. You want the wall to be exciting, spontaneous and appear as if it was brought together over time. To achieve that look, don’t overthink it- follow your instinct. Go for the feeling of a puzzle and embrace imperfection, concentrating on balance rather than symmetry.

Once you have your pieces laid out on the floor, you have two options: just go for it and try to telegraph the frames onto the wall and patch holes as necessary, or take a little more time and measure it out. For best results, measure. Again, start with the main focal piece you identified when you were planning the layout and measure out from there. Keep in mind spacing around each piece (about 3” is good breathing room) and remember to factor in the spacing of the nail hole on the back of each piece. Start going at it, adjusting if needed as you go and leveling as you go. Once you’re done, you’ll have a fantas- tic accomplishment to be proud of.


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