Have you ever been scanning through Pinterest and come across an image of a beautifully curated gallery wall and then went to re-create it? You then became so overwhelmed and discouraged that you give up in the middle of the attempt at recreation? If your answer to that scenario is “yes," then we are about to become friends because, RELATABLE. When my sister and I moved into our new place, we wanted to create a gallery wall for an accent wall in our front room. When it came time for execution…lets just say it took a minute, and few pep talks, to get to a combination that we are happy with. The good news is our struggle is not wasted because through our gallery wall debacle, I learned some major tips and tricks to make curating a gallery wall a breeze.
Picking your Pieces
Tip 01: gallery style
The first thing to nail down (pun intended) when prepping your gallery wall is to figure out what style you are going for. Do you want a streamline gallery wall with coordinated artwork or are you going for more of an eclectic vibe? If you like the coordinated art look check out our own gallery wall in black ink interiors HQ.
Tip 02: color palette
To keep a cohesive look, collect art that includes a variety of mixed media (watercolor, sketches, posters, prints, etc.). It may seem like there is no way you can mix all these different pieces of art without it looking like a hot mess. Not to fear! The variety is good and is actually one of the main elements in accomplishing the eclectic style. The key is that all pieces stay in the same color palette. Think of your gallery wall as a group of good friends. All the friends bring their own style and personality to the group, but those with a clashing personality, or in this case color scheme, may not be invited to be a permanent member of the “squad." The art does not have to match, but it should “go” together and make sense.
Tip 03: orientations; switch it up
This tip, along with the next, piggy-backs off of the previous tip. In keeping with the same idea of your collection of art for your gallery wall like a group of friends, just like everyone in the group looks different, each with their own shape and sizes, the same should be true for your art in your gallery wall. When laying out your design, look to switch up the shapes, sizes and orientations of the frames.
Tip 04: mix & match. frame & matte
Look to create a variety in the type of frames by choosing different colors and finishes. With that being said, keep the variety limited to a max of 3 different colors and finishes. We want the look to be eclectic, but casually curated as well. This will just help in making your art look like its meant to be together, but not in a matchy-matchy way. Another way to add some variety to your wall is to play around with different sizes of matting. Some images can have a very thick matte, while others might have an average size and some may not have a matte at all. The matte is just another way to add visual interest to your gallery. There are different colored mattes, but we would recommend sticking to a shade of white to keep the most classic and cohesive look.
Time to start designing.
Okay! Now that you have your art and frames selected, lets get down to business.
Tip 05: find your anchor
Your anchor piece is the piece that makes the biggest statement and the one you want to initially draw the eye to. Not in all cases, but in most, that piece is the largest in size. Once you know which piece is that anchor, you will want to start adding in your other pieces around it.
Tip 06: lay it all out
This might be my favorite and most valuable tip out of the lot and that is lay your art out on a flat surface (I always lay out on the floor) first before you go to hang anything on a wall. Lay your anchor piece down, like we talked about in the previous tip, and then lay your other pieces around it. Figuring out how you would like your pieces to best fit together is one of the hardest parts of this process. Doing it on a flat surface before going straight to hanging on the wall, allows for you to play around with it. It is like a puzzle, you will figure out where each piece should go, but you might have to try them out in a few different areas before you find its perfect fit. This part can be overwhelming, but you got this!
Tip 07: don’t stress the spacing
Don’t stress about spacing between each of the pieces. The great thing about an eclectic gallery wall is that each piece doesn’t have to be perfectly spaced, in fact, it looks more effortless when it is not. With that being said, the one rule of thumb to stick by is to keep your pieces within a range of 2”- 4” from each other. Spacing does not have to be perfect, but remember these pieces are friends so we want them to be comfortably close and not on separate islands.
To the wall we go!
Once you have finessed how you would like your gallery wall to lay out, it is time to start thinking about hanging. Here are just a few final tips.
Tip 08: the butcher [paper], the better
This tip I’m sure you have seen elsewhere (on Pinterest), but that is because it works! Cut out the shapes and sizes of your art on butcher paper and then tape those pieces in the same configuration you have on the floor to the wall. This is great for not only figuring out where nails are going to be needed, but it is also the first time you will see your gallery on the wall in its entirety. With that being said, this step also allows you to make sure everything is fitting and you can still make adjustments if needed.
Tip 09: measure twice, nail once
You’ve heard the saying, “measure twice, cut once.” The same can be said for nailing into a wall. Take note exactly where the nail actually needs to go on each frame or piece of artwork and then measure and place the nail accordingly on the wall. This may seem like an obvious tip, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve assumed a piece can be hung by the frame only to be greeted by a wire in the back. Go ahead, save yourself the extra step and your wall the extra hole.
All thats left now is to nail, hang and watch your design come to life. I wish you the best in all your gallery wall endeavors in the future. For a chance to be featured on our Instagram, share and tag us in a picture of your own gallery wall designs.
And thats the Tuesday tea for this week.