Gallery wall ideas are at the forefront of my mind as we enter a new season. Building a photo gallery wall has been on my DIY to-do list for quite some time and I’m so excited that I finally got to it.
Do you also have a project that you’ve been wanting to do and haven’t yet?
If creating a gallery wall is something you’re considering, I’ve got all the tips for you. From choosing the perfect frames for your decor to the easiest way to layout your wall.
Before we get into it, I suggest checking out my guide of Essential Tools You’ll Need for Your DIY Home Projects.
Why You Need a Gallery Wall
Even a simple and streamlined gallery adds a touch of personality to a home. Simply put, a showcase of your favorite art or precious family photos is a good way to complete your interior.
And the best part? It’s relatively easy and inexpensive.
It’s a low-cost investment that brings a big reward: a home you feel happy in!
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Although every gallery wall will be unique, there are a few universal considerations to keep in mind before you get started.
Plan Your Vision
Every successful home project starts with a vision.
As you’re considering building your gallery wall, you might find yourself in either scenario:
1. You have a room in mind that you want to embellish with a gallery but no specific pieces/pictures ideas yet
2. You have a curated gallery of art and/or pictures that you want to hang up but are unsure where they fit
If you relate to number one, try choosing one focal picture or piece of art that is special to you. Then build around it by color coordinating or adding pictures and elements with a similar style and theme.
Overwhelmed by too many gallery wall ideas? Remember that your wall is meant to evolve with you over time. Perfection is not the goal.
Leaving room for future memories and being ready to adjust your masterpiece is all part of the fun!
If you relate to number two, follow your gut. Any room can have a gallery wall. There are no rules. On a practical level, let the color scheme or the theme of your pictures/art guide you.
Choose Your Gallery Wall Frames
Once you have a vision, it’s time to get practical by choosing your preferred style for frames. You have two main options. You can go for either a cohesive & curated look, or bold & elevated. Here are my tips for whichever style you decide to adopt.
Cohesive & Curated
To ensure cohesion, it’s a good idea to use frames with a consistent color or similar tones. It leaves room to grow your gallery in the future minus the worry that you won’t find identical frames.
In terms of materials, prioritize frames that fit your décor and furniture. For example, if you have an earthy and minimal aesthetic, white or wood frames bring a natural look. On the other hand, if your space has a modern and luxurious feel, metal or black frames will work best.
Still not sure what to go for?
Here are a few options from my favorite frames:
Bold & Elevated
To create a gallery wall that is eclectic and a lot more “you”, your imagination is the only limit. You can mix and match vintage frames with newer ones. You can play around with different sizes, shapes, and finishes. Varying what your put in your frames is also a good idea. Prints, pictures and art can all work together to create a visual story.
Gallery Wall Frame Tips
Frames can get pricy, especially if you’re looking for very large ones. Here are some ideas to help you stay within budget.
• Purchase large affordable artwork with frames from stores like Target, carefully remove the backing and change out the art inside.
• Flea markets are great to find large and unusual frames.
Create Your Gallery Wall Layout Before You Hang It
There are a few ways to figure out your preferred layout before bringing out the drill.
Method I – Cutouts With Scrap Paper
Create cutouts by tracing your frames on scrap paper. Then you can experiment with the spacing and positioning of your future gallery.
Keep the cutouts in place on your wall using masking tape or painter’s tape.
Method II – Layout Template With Brown Paper
The tried-and-true method of laying your frames on a large piece of brown or kraft paper on the floor and tracing each frame is also an easy solution.
1. Measure the wall you want to use to create your gallery wall.
2. With a brown or kraft paper roll create a template with the measurement of your wall.
3. Lay out your frames on the paper. Play around with your frame placemat until you like it.
4. Once you have figured out your layout, outline the frames on the paper.
Gallery Wall Layout Tips
• Use a variation of sizes and orientations (vertical & horizontal). Think of 1-3 larger pieces mixed with medium and smaller frames.
• Start with your first frame placed in an offset position and not centered.
• General rule is to space out frames between 2″-4″ but don’t stick to it 100%. You may find that some spacing that is more than 4″ wide looks better for your space.
• Mix frames with a mat and frames without a mat.
Tip: if you need a custom mat without breaking the bank, visit your local craft store
Add Personality With Gallery Wall Decor Accent
For a refined look, consider adding personal touches to your gallery. You can scale frames you already owned with spray paint. It’s a unique touch (and will save you money).
Having 3D elements such as a suspended plant or wall hangings adds dimension and eliminates awkward space.
Additional decor items like travel memories/mementos or cultural accents are also good starting points to make your gallery wall unique.
How to Select Art Pieces or Photos for Your Gallery Wall
Your gallery wall is a reflection of your life. Your personality, your style, and what you like is your guide. In short, what do you want to see every day?
From there, it’s all about storytelling and striking a satisfying balance visually. Do you want to display your love of travel? A time capsule in your family’s life?
Having your theme or story in the back of your mind will make you gravitate towards certain pictures or art without you overthinking it.
When it comes to achieving a balance between your pieces, think of harmonizing colors and the graphic elements of your pieces. Do you have too many cool colors, or is it too warm? How many pieces are visually heavy vs. light on the eyes?
How to Hang Your Gallery Wall
Center your gallery at eye level height or about 57”-60” from the floor. Or 6-8” above your furniture. To hang the frames leveled, use this picture hanging tool or a leveler with painter’s tape to mark the hanging location onto the wall.
Use damage-free picture-hanging nails to hang your frames. They hold up to 20lb and can be used for multiple hanging hardware.
What do you think of my completed gallery wall? I think it turned out amazing.
Where are you planning to build your own? What are some of your gallery wall ideas?
I’d love to know about it in the comments below. I’m always curious to find out more about your DIY home projects and how I can help!
Speaking of which, have you seen these previous home projects?