Gallery Walls 101: 7 Ideas For an Artful Arrangement

Everything you need to know about gallery walls is right here...

We love the gallery wall. When it's right -- like in interior designer Max Humphrey's Los Angeles home, shown above -- it's oh-so good. Creating a gallery wall isn't something that comes naturally for all of us, though; there is definitely a science to this art. So read on for some tried-and-true tricks; we promise, it's not too hard...

THE ARTWORK

The beauty of the gallery wall is that it can give almost anything visual impact, be it sketches on a napkin, children's artwork, or magazine tearsheets. You can even hang framed mirrors instead of artwork for the same effect. There are a couple avenues you can take in terms of what you display.

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Think of a Link

The first option is a cohesive collection. Displaying a collection such as, say, black and white portrait photography you've been collecting for years, can provide a really distinct point of view about what your aesthetic is. Meanwhile, hanging images of every horse that won the Kentucky Derby would showcase your hobbies and interests.


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Mix It Up

Another option is to display a mixture of artwork. Perhaps it's vintage movie poster, a color landscape photograph, a black and white squiggle, and an abstract acrylic painting. You can use all printed art pieces in your gallery wall, or you can display multiple mediums, such as a watercolor, a lithograph, and a painting. Mixing mediums, color and black and white, and high and low will give your wall more dimension.

 

In all cases, the gallery wall is your opportunity to make a statement about who you are and what you like. So showcase what you truly love, and the distinct perspective of you will come through!

 

THE FRAMING

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Step Up Your Frame Game

No matter how cohesive the art collection may be, the most successful gallery walls have a variety of frames. Using the same frame for every piece (I'm talking to you, IKEA shoppers) will make the wall fall flat. It's important to have a variety of frame widths, sizes, and materials. So mix skinny, one-inch metal frames with thick, four-inch wooden frames with hefty gilded antique ones. Some should be beveled, some should be flat, some should be carved. Scroll through the slideshow above, and you'll see that this is pretty much a rule.

 

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To Mat or Not to Mat? You Choose

Like frames, you should also have a mixture of pieces that are matted and some that are not. Fortunately, this usually happens organically as you grow your art collection. As for the color of your mat, you shouldn't be too concerned about matching. It's important to choose your frame and mat based on the artwork -- not the room you plan to display it in. Every good framer knows this. So choose the mat that looks best with your piece, and your wall will come together beautifully.

 

HANGING YOUR ART

 

Now we're getting down to business. The way that you hang the art in your gallery wall can have just as much of an effect on the look you create as the artwork you display.

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Go Freehand

If you want a funky, laid-back, country vibe for your gallery wall, then put down the ruler and just eyeball it. If you're working with a small wall surface, you can even crowd a bunch of tiny framed pieces together -- but this probably won't work on a larger wall.

 

 

 

 

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Make a Plan

Want something a little sleeker and more thoughtful? The best piece of advice we can give you is to make a plan! Our favorite trick is to cut out pieces of adhesive Con-Tact paper (in a dark color) sized to match your artwork, then rearrange them on the wall until you've found a layout you like. Take a step back, admire it, and then adjust it until you actually get it right. Measure carefully where your nails should go and make a dot on the wall with pencil. Then begin by hanging the largest, most central piece. Continuing hanging pieces outward and make adjustments as needed.


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What NOT to Do

The worst thing you can do -- and there are so many guilty offenders of this -- is to hang your gallery wall in a tight box. A gallery wall should be a living, breathing thing that reflects what you love and what you find. Creating a tight box leaves no room for that, and there's just something about it that looks unsophisticated. So beware.

Most of all, have fun with it! Don't get stressed out. Go show the world what you like.


Do you have a gallery wall in your home? Tweet or Instagram us a photo @domainehome -- we would love to see it! Photographs: 1. Burnham Design photographed by Sarah Dorio for Lonny, 2. Bruno Suet (photographer and source), 3. and 5. Eric Piasecki (photographer and source), 4. and 6. Floto + Warner (photographer and source), 6. and 7. Francesco Lagnese (photographer and source), 8. Maura McEvoy (photographer and source), 9. Melanie Acevedo (photographer and source), 10. and 11.  Ngoc Minh Ngo (photographer and source), 12. and 13. Paul Costello (photographer and source), 14. Richard Powers (photographer and source), 15. Swedlow Design (designer and source), 16. and 17. William Abranowicz (photographer and source), 18. and 19. Brittany Ambridge (photographer and source)

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