My Living Room Gallery Wall

Beginner Tips for Creating a Gallery Wall

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Gallery walls are super popular and have been for several years now. I have a large one in my living room that was a bit of a challenge to put together. As you can see in the featured photo (sorry about the skylight glare), the wall angles up from 8 feet to 12 feet and I had to incorporate a rather large TV as well.

Knowing where to start with a gallery wall is probably the toughest part of the project. I personally am a fan of using templates to determine placement of the artwork and if you have never done a gallery wall before, I think this is a good idea. A template is basically a piece of paper cut to the size of each frame/object you plan to hang. Some companies, like west elm, provide templates with their frames so it is very easy to hang those on the wall with some low-tac tape before you start making holes with nails. You can easily make templates as well by taping pieces of letter sized paper together and then cutting it to the size of the frame (assuming the frames are bigger than letter size) by measuring or simply tracing around it on to the paper. If you are really stumped as to what to even hang here are my beginner tips for gallery walls:

Use The Same Style of Frame

Gallery Wall Using Same Style of Frame
Part of a gallery wall using the same style of frames

If you want to mix up the colors of your frames and add in some quirky other objects, a good way to make it work together is to use the same style of frame for all of the framed art/photos/fabric, etc. In my gallery wall, I have several different sizes of frames. Some are black and some are white with a yellow and some non-framed items as well. But, even though the frames are from different companies, they are all very clean, simple and modern. That way the frames are not competing with each other and taking the focus off of the art itself. They also add consistency across the entire wall and that is a big part of why it all works together. One of the challenges with gallery walls can be the wide variety of items that people want to hang together and if done incorrectly, they result will look like a big chaotic mess instead of a cohesive design. Using the same style of frame for the majority of items helps eliminate the chaos and downplay any differences between the items. It also makes anything not framed stand out but not in so glaring a way as to seem out of place.

Gallery Wall Using Same Color Frames
Gallery wall using the same color frames

Use The Same Color of Frame

If you have a bunch of disparate frame styles that you’d like to hang together or you’re just not a fan of having them all be the same, consider making all the frames the same color (you can spray paint frames to match if you need to). This again provides a consistency across the entire wall that will automatically make the various items you hang appear to work together. This will be a bit more unique than using the same frame style because it will allow you to mix different styles together while keeping a coherence. It will appear more eclectic and that can be very fun. This one can also be a bit trickier because you need to make sure to create a balance between the styles as you create the overall design (the blue wall photo at the end is a good example of nice balance with disparate objects).

Have you caught on to the theme of these tips yet? Consistency in some way for most of the gallery wall.

Use The Same Shapes in the Art

Another way would be with shape itself. Obviously, most frames are rectangular and if you use mostly rectangles in your design  (as I did and many of the other photos show as well) with a few different shapes here and there you will again create a coherent look. I think it is really cool to add in weird shaped items into a bunch of rectangles too, like animal heads, arrows, signs, etc. The odd shaped items will really stand out so make sure to, again, balance their placement across the design.

Gallery Wall Using Same Colors & Style of Frame
Gallery wall using same colors as room & same style of frame

Use The Same Colors in the Art

Finally, to create a consistent look use similar colors for most of the items you decide to hang together. I purposely choose photos, art and fabrics that had shades of blue, orange and the occasional yellow to go with the rest of the decor in the room. I do believe you will need to marry the idea of similar colors with one of the other tips to have a truly cohesive design, especially as a beginner, but tying the colors in the art in your gallery wall into the rest of the space is a great way to make your whole room feel complete and like it all goes together.

Gallery Wall with Odd Shapes Standing Out
A well balanced gallery wall using rectangles and odd shapes

Gallery walls are a great and often inexpensive way to personalize a wall, especially a large one. I framed fabric scraps, photos and magazine pages in some of the frames on my wall which were extremely cheap or free, but it really pulls the room together. If you use the tips above you can easily create a cool look for even the most disparate of objects. Plus, using art, fabric, photos, souvenirs, etc. that are important to you is what will make your house feel like your home.


Photo Credits: Red & Gold Gallery photo by Andrew Neel from Pexels; Pink & Gray Gallery photo by Pixabay from Pexels; Blue with Mirrors Gallery Wall by Pixabay from Pexels; Others provided by E. Anderson

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