5 Tips for a Perfect Gallery Art Wall

Another nail hole in your wall and you feel like you've failed. No worries! I got you.

We move a lot, so I do art walls often, on top if it being the universal ask of most clients. We all have random pieces of wall decor that can look flat by themselves.  Maybe you're merging households, or into a first apartment where you have mismatched items from childhood and adulthood. The more varied the items the better the wall so don’t despair over your husbands fave #1 Golfer plaque or the clay hand from your niece. They will all live happily on an art wall together.

1. Gather your goodies
Bring all items that could be hung on your wall to the floor in front of the wall, not just photos and art, but plaques, clay pieces, a plate, or a small mirror. Try to gather items that you know you want to hang and then find those flyer items that can be added for interest. Look in the garage or junk drawers for the unusual bits you may have and have forgotten about, and don’t worry about size sometimes that tiny piece is the chefs kiss.

2. Leading lady or ensemble
Decide if you are going to have one large piece as a focal point or similar sizes with no dominant piece. Either way works, it depends on what you own. When you have a larger piece, think about placing it to the left rather than center. You don’t always have to place the largest piece in the middle, sometimes its nice to be to the far right or left with the supporting pieces carrying off from it. It’s going to be a diva no matter where it is, so the choice of placement is yours.

@bij_danny gallery wall

3. Places everyone 
When you've made your decision, look at your wall and visualize a large frame. One that fits the wall with the same amount of space on the top and bottom. You can tape it out, but I just visualize and use the large frame to mark your boundaries. When you have a number of objects of different sizes but their frames all line up, then visually you feel like it makes sense. You can choose that all four sides work to the 
line or you can choose what I call the TBC wall, where one side is left loose as if it trailed off to be continued later, that way its an ongoing collection and your art wall remains current to who you are as a family. 

Visualize a border to work within, try placing large item to the left. Ignore this line, trail off and continue the wall as you collect more. Keep spacing about the same (3 inches) between your pictures.

4. Mix Not Match 
When looking at your pieces, vary the frames, sizes, and textures of the pieces. For example, if my 'leading lady' was a black and white photo, surrounding her might be a small canvas with a textured paint, a clay bit of sculpture or a framed album cover. Mix graphic prints with vintage paintings; old and new, black frames with chunky gold frames all create visual interest. One of the best to do this is Rita Konig; her mix of a modern and vintage is interesting and playful.

Pro tip - large over small works on art walls giving them a bit of life and interest.

5. Tool Time 
Really, the only thing you need is a hammer and some nails, but life is easier with a measuring tape and painters tape. If you are far more patient than I am, you can use large art paper to create a template once you have placed all your items, and a laser level if you want to make sure its straight.

Pro tip - if you have a picture that has two holes for hanging, place painters tape across the holes and place the tape on the wall so you know where to put your nails.

Get the Look


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