Creating The Perfect Gallery Wall


Adding a gallery wall to your home or office is a wonderful way to add interest, color, pattern and emotion. If you’re an art collector, it provides a way to highlight your collection; if you are a globe-trotter, it provides a way to display favorite scenes or memories from your travels. Many gallery walls combine art, photographs and mementos – however, there is a fine line between a well-executed display and one that comes off as a bit cluttered or messy.

Create a Gallery-Worthy Wall in Your Home or Office Space

The following tips will be helpful to keep in mind when assembling your own pieces and formatting the layout for a gallery wall.

  1. Place the furniture first. One of the keys to preventing a cluttered look is to keep things in proportion. For this, you must have a clear understanding of the dimensions you’re working with, and that requires prior furniture placement so you know exactly how low or wide you can go with your pieces. Keep your wall gallery on hold until you are sure about your furniture placement, then you’ll be able to space and place your collection accordingly.
  2. Pay attention to light. Natural light is gorgeous and a bonus to any interior design, however, it will take its toll on wall hangings, photographs and art. Pay attention to how the light spills into your room during the course of the day, and place the smallest groupings – and least important of your pieces – in areas that receive the most sunlight to reduce fading.
  3. Hang the most important pieces first. Determine which of your pieces are the most important and hang those first. The rest of your collection and placement should be considered in relationship to your focal pieces. Your focal piece(s) should be the center of the display, everything else should move out from there.
  4. Find a unifying theme. Perhaps it’s the frame, a specific color or symbol, or a particular genre of art – in most cases, an attractive gallery wall will have some type of unifying theme. If your art does not, consider using the same types of frames to avoid distraction. This being said, it’s a good idea to hang an atypical frame here and there, perhaps for your focal pieces, to avoid monotony.
  5. You don’t have to measure exactly. Contrary to the mathematical formulas you may have found online, you don’t have to measure exactly. Quite the contrary. That being said, you should leave a few inches of white space between two frames to (you guessed it) prevent clutter, but also to provide each piece with a hint of independence.
  6. You should think about a level. There is nothing more frustrating than unintentionally crooked lines. Do use a level to keep the pieces relative to one another and to spare your Type-A and decorator friends from the irrepressible urge to straighten something that can never be straightened without starting over from scratch.
  7. Step back and view from different angles. As you go, do step back every few frames or so and walk to different areas of the room. This will help you determine if your plan is working out as you envisioned it, and will highlight any red flags so you can make changes before you’ve gone too far.
  8. Don’t be afraid to layer or prop. Some of my favorite mantels and bookcase displays involve larger canvases that have another, smaller piece of art propped off-center on it’s surface. Simply propping a canvas against the wall adds a modern, avant-garde touch.

Contact Kristina Wolf Design for professional design assistance with your gallery wall.

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Kristina Wolf Design, Inc., Interior Decorators & Designers, Berkeley, CA