A gallery wall is a perfect opportunity to infuse a space with a unique personality. Your artwork tells a visual story. To most, these magnificently displayed walls read like a Rubik’s cube. Beautifully arranged when done correctly, but near impossible to complete without years of practice and “tricks” from the trade. Fret no more. We are here to help decode the puzzle of gallery walls. By understanding a handful of the professionals’ do’s and don’ts, you can confidently crack the code and create your own magical art display.
DON’T Expect to Spend a Ton
Not everything needs to be new. A gallery wall’s purpose is to tell your personal story. Begin uncovering a handful of meaningful objects or pictures within your home. Select items that create an emotional response. Size is irrelevant at this point. Discovering what to include is the first step. When purchasing additional pieces, try visiting Target for some playful frames or World Market for sculptural imports. Online resources are abundant as well, allowing the opportunity to print imagery yourself at a minimal cost. This is one of the most significant advantages of using this technique on an expansive focal wall in lieu of pricey large-scale pieces. Everything needed can be sourced on a reasonable budget while maintaining a personal flair.
DON’T Do Every Wall
While gallery walls are fun and intriguing, they tend to lose their personality when mass-produced in multiple spaces. Choose a focal wall with enough space as the canvas to tell your story.
DO Decide Sizing Before Purchasing
Determine the wall and location on the said wall before hammering any holes. We suggest leaving a foot of space on each side of the wall. This amount of open space helps create a frame-like appearance, in addition to keeping the wall from becoming too heavy. It is also helpful to avoid hanging any art lower than three feet from the ground.
DO Add Art to Camouflage
Who enjoys the main wall featuring an oversized television, misplaced thermostat, or bank of electrical switches? Everyone tries to conceal these unwanted eyesores but struggles with the solution. This optical issue is the ideal opportunity to introduce the gallery wall. Moving outward and blending the undesired object into the mixed art arrangement will divert the eye and create a colorful and exciting visual opportunity.
DON’T Purchase Without a Plan
Come up with a general theme for your installation. Keep it broad to not get too tied down with specifics. Stay consistent. For example, if a photo gallery wall is a primary goal, being thoughtful with the photo filter but mixing up the style of frames is optimal. If the eclectic gallery wall resonates more, mixing up the colors, textures, mediums, and orientation will apply. Avoid feeling the need to stay faithful to vertical images. Mix it up with some variances. Think of it as a collage.
DON’T Worry About Size
Many of us acquire items while traveling. These collectibles tend to be smaller to facilitate packing. While we initially have big plans for these tiny trinkets, most have taken up residence in junk drawers or become lost in an overfilled bookshelf. By incorporating these sentimental smalls into one more significant moment of remembrance, you give them new life.
DO Space Plan
Before the final execution, try planning out the intended design. You can accomplish this exercise by physically laying out the pieces on the floor within the proper size constraints. You can also plan it out on paper. Professionals suggest that components should hang 2″ -3 ½ “apart from one another. This particular spacing maintains the relevance of everything without over cluttering. When a piece gets too spread out, it becomes detached from the work as a whole.
DON’T Start Randomly
Begin by positioning your most significant pieces first, preferably in groups of 3 or at least an odd number. Step back and assess. It is easier to work backward and outward, ending with minor items. Avoid too much concentration on one area.
DO Stay True to Yourself
The only rule of thumb is there are no rules. The process and final product are entirely interpretable. The gallery wall is an opportunity to illustrate a personal story. Stay true to that intention, and it will turn out just as envisioned.