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I’ve always loved a great gallery wall, especially given the fact that most of my art is of a smaller size. But when you’re staring at a huge blank wall with a pile of frames on the floor, the task can seem a bit daunting. Where do you begin? How do you choose what goes where? Do you map out a diagram or do you just wing it? There’s a few different answers to these questions and it really all depends upon what your style is. The awesome thing about gallery walls is that you really can’t go wrong. I’ve seen them done well in so many different ways – asymmetrical, monochromatic, with found objects… you get the picture. So don’t afraid to jump in! Composing a gallery wall is much like composing a painting and you won’t be able to envision the final picture until you’re knees deep in the process. Here are some steps to help you get closer to creating your masterpiece.

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1. Choose a color palette… or none at all.

Throughout this entire process, you can either be very methodical and measured or you can be eclectic and whimsical. Both are great! But when you’re collecting or curating the pieces to include your gallery wall, it’s very easy to flip flop between the two. The key to harmony is to be consistent. If you have a color palette you think will fit great for the room, then stick to it. If you find a piece you love that doesn’t fit, keep it and save it for another room or area. On the other hand, you can opt out for no color direction at all, but be sure to take an overall look at what you’ve got every now and then so as not to collect too many similar pieces. Keep it interesting and diverse so that you don’t accidentally stumble upon weird color imbalances. This goes for frames as well; select a cohesive style¬†or be sure there is an actual variety.

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2. Determine the boundaries of the gallery area and collect sizes accordingly.

This is pretty straightforward – unless you feel reeeally confident in winging it. Decide the boundaries of your gallery wall before you finish collecting your pieces. Do they cover the entire wall, floor to ceiling and edge to edge? Or do they inhabit a more specific or intimate area? Both looks can become great statements, bringing your entire room to life. Just be sure you have enough objects to fill the area you’re looking to decorate and that they don’t interfere with other furniture or decorative elements in the room.

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3. Select your focal point (if necessary).

It’s possible that you have one or two amazing pieces in your collection that really stand out – in color, content, or size. These are likely going to be focal points in the room and if you choose to include them in your gallery wall, be sure that you hang them first so that they have the optimal placement. If all your pieces feel like a pretty equal group, then this may not be a necessary step for you.

4. Maintain balance by adding gradually.

Whether you’re mapping it out on paper or just hanging as you go, be sure not to rush the process. I know it can be nerve-wracking to see a project only halfway completed in your home, but trust me when I say you need to be able to step back and think about your choices. Gallery walls are amazing because they create great visual impact, so you want to make sure that’s happening as you are placing your pieces. Add gradually to each side and don’t be hasty. (Thankfully nail holes can always be patched up.)

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5. Step back and take a look.

This is a final iteration of the last step. Take a step back, and I mean all the way back to the entrance of the room. The first impression. Does it all look like it makes sense to you? Taste is subjective, so only you will know/feel when it’s right and harmonious with the rest of your space. If something feels off, then maybe you need more pieces. Maybe you need to rearrange. Either way, don’t be afraid of change. It’s just a wall, after all.

I hope those tips were all helpful! I know they weren’t very specific, but maybe you feel just a little bit safer about nailing in those holes. Do you have any other tips when it comes to composing a gallery wall? Please share with me – I’d love to hear about (and see pictures) of your own decor success!

For more inspiration pictures, be sure to check out my living space board on Pinterest!

[ images from top to bottom, left to right: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 ]

4 Comments

  1. Nice roundup! I like the ones best with mixed-up frames because they look collected over the years, not contrived. One more tip is to lay out all your pieces on the floor before committing to the wall.

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  3. Christine Hicks Reply

    I loved this post because I love the gallery wall. It seems in some way it has always been around, especially in hallways and stairways using family photos, but using art as a gallery focal is so fun. I love framed artwork in any form and combining them for a gallery wall is perfect for this.
    One tip I got from Martha Stewart is to trace the frame onto a paper bag, cut it out, and poke a hole in the paper for nail placement. Lay these templates out onto the floor first and then tape to wall to inspect before nailing up art.

    • littlelovelylittlefool@gmail.com Reply

      Great tip! That Martha knows what she’s doing.

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