When executed properly, a gallery wall can be even greater than the sum of its parts. It can add so much visual interest, dimension, and sophistication to a home or office space.
Here are some design tips for creating a gallery wall, complements of American Frame. More. Less. Both can work.
A gallery wall can be simple and unified, or ornate and diverse. A grouping of similar art pieces can be stunning, but so can a mix of decidedly different ones. It’s called a “collected look.” A “collected” gallery wall has a common color scheme but a mixture of prints and art, different frame styles, and other wall decor.
For a more formal display, matching frames can be hung symmetrically.
For a more casual display, try juxtaposing frames of different styles and of different sizes in an organic configuration.
Your #1 objective: selecting the anchor piece.
Some of the most impactful gallery walls have a powerful anchor piece that’s a bit larger, bolder, or more colorful than the other pieces on the wall. A slightly more prominent frame could make for an effective anchor piece, especially if the frame holds your favorite piece of art on the wall. Your anchor piece creates a focal point, which is beneficial to the overall flow of your composition and the visual balance in your room. Then, select additional imagery.
With the anchor piece established, you have a solid base to build from. Unless you are striving for an eclectic look, the various pieces in your arrangement should have at least one element in common. A set of similar, even uniform, art pieces can look stunning. Or, take it up a notch in sophistication by choosing a mix of art with similarity and
difference. If you use different frames, consider choosing frames within a specific color palette. Include some repeating sizes. Creating uniformity among the frames allows the eye of the viewer to detect a pattern. But don’t go overboard. Limit the number of frames sizes to two or three, with more than one frame in each size. This allows for repetition in your design. Selecting framing treatments that have a common element will also help create a unified appearance.
Weight and balance.
When creating an organic shape on your gallery wall, make sure you maintain a weight balance from left to right and top to bottom. Think about your gallery as a single piece of art. No matter if your arrangement is wide, narrow, big, or small, your wall frame design should be cohesive. The gallery wall can be any variation of size.
Smaller compositions can foster a natural, relaxed vibe. Larger frames will make for a more dramatic impact in the space, and can be as visually dramatic or as subtle as you like.
Adding onto your wall.
If you don’t already have all your art ready, fear not. By using the methods mentioned above, you can establish a base that has a finished appearance, but be able to add framed works over time. Combining newer and vintage prints or paintings is a good way to accomplish this look. Flea markets are good sources for unique items to add to your wall.
Remember, it’s your design. The possibilities are endless. Have fun with it. Depending on the amount of wall space at your disposal, you’ve got the freedom and flexibility to create something big and brash or small and understated.
How to hang your gallery wall.
Contrary to popular belief, placing your art in the middle of the wall isn’t always ideal. Instead, consider the Rule of Thirds. Keep about two to three inches between pieces. But also, experiment. Move your artwork around until it all looks right to you.
A good place to “rehearse” your gallery wall is on the floor. Ideally, find floor space as large as the gallery wall you intend to create. Experiment with the arrangement of your pieces. When you’re confident with your final arrangement, consider taking your planning one step further with the help of kraft paper. Cut pieces of the paper that match the size of your frames. Adhere them to your wall. You’ll be able to “see” your design before making a single hole of driving one nail. If your gallery wall is above a piece of furniture, the bottom of your lowest frame should hang five to eight inches above your furniture. If your gallery wall is on an empty wall, plan for the center of your entire arrangement to hang 57 to 60 inches above the floor.
Now have fun creating your own great gallery wall.