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How to Create a Stunning Gallery Wall + 10 Examples

a gallery wall in a mid-century modern living room

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Creating a gallery wall is an amazing way to display your favourite artworks, make a statement, and fill up empty spaces on your walls, meanwhile providing you with creative freedom and an opportunity for self-expression through your interior design.

Deciding on the layout for your gallery wall can be a bit daunting, especially if you're hanging pictures with nails or have limited space to work with. There are so many different ways to arrange a photo wall and things to consider when curating your collection.

In this post, we'll cover some techniques for putting together a great gallery wall, from choosing the right wall and layout to finding a good balance of colours and designs, along with 10 examples to give you some inspiration for creating different types of gallery walls.

Planning Your Gallery Wall

One key takeaway from this blog post is the importance of planning. When creating a gallery wall, careful consideration of the layout and desired look is crucial before making any permanent changes, such as hammering nails into the walls. Here are some initial considerations to help you get started.

Choosing the Right Area

If you haven't already chosen a location for your gallery wall, this is the first step. Consider the available wall options and the amount of artwork you have to fill the space. If you have more artwork than can fit on the chosen wall, you might want to consider using the excess pieces to create another gallery wall in a different space.

As a general rule of thumb, when selecting which wall to use within a room, typically the widest wall makes for a good choice, depending on the layout of your furniture.

Some good options for gallery walls are above central furniture pieces such as a sofa, bed, or dining table. We've also seen people create stunning gallery walls above bathtubs, and toilets, between doors in hallways, and above staircases. With proper thought, a gallery wall can be placed anywhere, but be sure to look out for areas that look noticeably bare and could do with some sprucing up.

Measure and Outline

Measure the wall you're using and the wall art you want to put up, taking into account how much spacing is needed or wanted between each piece.

To ensure precise placement, gather some pencils, paper, a tape measure, some painter's tape and a spirit level. Then, make a list of the dimensions of each art piece, the desired spacing between each piece, and the dimensions of the wall area where you want your gallery wall to be situated. It can be helpful to use the painter's tape to map out the area in which you want the artwork to fit.

Choosing Artwork for Your Gallery Wall

A gallery wall is the perfect place to reflect your personality and taste. To create a cohesive look, consider using multiple different artworks that repeat certain art styles, colours, or patterns while keeping each piece varied for visual interest.

When it comes to size, there are plenty of options. Uniform galleries, where all the pictures are the same size, are perfect for displaying photos or artwork that share a common theme, such as family or travel photos. For a more dynamic, eclectic or artistic look, consider mixing up the sizes and orientations of your artwork.

Choosing Frames

If your artwork or photographs require a frame, consider whether you want to create a seamless look with a single frame texture or finish, or if you want to create a more dynamic feel with varied finishes. Mixing wooden, coloured and metallic frames, or opting for canvas artwork or poster hangers for a minimalist look, can work beautifully for interior design styles such as dopamine decor or maximalism.

Choosing a Layout

There are many different ways to arrange a gallery wall, and it all depends on the type of artwork you're working with and the space available. If all your frames are the same size, it can be more straightforward to arrange them in a symmetrical and level way. However, if you have a large range of frame sizes and orientations, your layout might look better staggered.

A classic option is to place the largest pieces of artwork in the centre of your gallery wall and then gradually spread smaller pieces so that the smallest frames are on the outside.

Experiment with different layouts by arranging your artwork on the floor first so you can get an idea of how the images fit together. Alternatively, cut out pieces of paper to the same dimensions as the picture frames your art is in and arrange them on the wall with painter's tape. This way, you can visualize what the arrangement will look like without fully committing.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Some things to avoid when putting together your gallery wall include:

Don't Overcrowd the wall: Make sure to leave some space around the edges of your gallery wall so that the wall has room to "breathe". This will help your gallery wall stand out as the focal point and maintain a sleek and orderly look.

Don't Ignore Spacing: The space between each frame is important for making for your gallery wall look purposeful and refined.

Poster Store says: "For the best balance, the distances between the frames should be based on the furniture it hangs above. If the gallery wall is large in comparison to the furniture, the distances should be small and vice versa." 

Don't squeeze your images together for the sake of saving space. If you need to remove a few pictures so that the spacing is spot on, do so. Similarly, don't put them too far apart. A typical rule of thumb is to assess the heaviness and thickness of the frame - thicker frames might need more spacing, otherwise they can look too bold, while thinner frames allow for slightly closer spacing. We like Under the Roof Decorating's guide for providing more detail on this.

Techniques for a Stunning Gallery Wall

Now we've covered the basics, let's look in more depth at some techniques and inspiration for creating the perfect gallery wall.

1: Focal Point Gallery Wall

a wall gallery with 5 picture framed showing mountain landscape photos

If you have a particular piece of artwork that you want to showcase, a focal point gallery wall might be for you.

Typically, this would be the largest piece in your gallery wall, but this doesn't have to be the case. You can easily create a focus on a smaller piece that means a lot to you.

Hang the focal piece centrally in your gallery wall and arrange it accordingly depending on how many pieces of artwork you want to hang in total.

If you use the image above as an example, you can see that the main image is both central and at a higher height than the others, putting even more emphasis on it.

2: Alternative Wall Decor Gallery Wall

a gallery wall made up of hand-weaved baskets

While framed or canvas artwork might be the first thing that comes to mind when creating a gallery wall, you can definitely incorporate other decor items as well, such as fabric wall hangings, shelving for small ornaments, or other small wall decor items.

You have the option to mix other mediums of artwork into your framed posters, prints, and paintings, or take a completely different route and create more of a display wall. For example, you can use baskets to achieve a beautiful effect, as shown in the image above.

3: Corner Gallery

a corner gallery wall on an orange wall in a bedroom

Consider creating a corner gallery if you don't have space for a traditional gallery wall or if you want to explore a different design direction. Corner galleries can transform empty corners, adding interest and a cosy feel to the space.

4: Wall of Mirrors

a wall covered in mirrors in vintage style frames above a sofa

If prints, posters, or paintings aren't your cup of tea, why not consider a wall of mirrors? This is a great alternative if you're struggling to find artwork that works for you or if you want to create a slightly different aesthetic. Mirrors can make a room appear bigger and help to bounce light around the room, making a mirror gallery wall perfect for small or dark spaces.

5: Grid Gallery Wall

a grid gallery wall with images of heather flowers

Creating a grid arrangement of gallery walls is an excellent way to make a statement. This method works especially well if you have multiple images of the same size and orientation, along with similar frames, which can give off a sleek look. Grids are particularly good for displaying a series of family photos or a collection of pictures with a shared theme.

6: Minimalist Gallery Wall

a minimalist wall gallery of two vertical pictures - one of a beach, one abstract shapes above a couch

A minimalist gallery wall is perfect for simple spaces like those inspired by hygge or wabi-sabi designs. You can achieve a sleek and impactful look with just two images, or you can add more if you prefer. The key is to use neutral colours and choose images with a cohesive theme to create a seamless look in the space.

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7: Themed Gallery Wall

a gallery wall above a couch with a colour theme of green, blue and yellow

These sorts of gallery walls are ideal for bright, colourful spaces, or those with a specific style. Choose images that share a common colour, theme, art style, or pattern. If you want to establish a lively and unified space, think about coordinating the colours in your gallery wall with your furniture and/or wall colour.

8: Leaning Gallery Wall

a leaning gallery wall  on a mantle above a dining table

A leaning gallery wall involves leaning multiple frames against a wall, and it doesn't require hanging any pictures (although you can lean some and hang some above if that works for you).

This method is ideal for people who have picture rails on their walls, as it allows you to adjust the images without worrying about hammering nails into your walls - also a bonus for renters. It can create a beautifully sophisticated and trendy look.

If you don't have a picture rail, you can also create a leaning gallery wall with shelving, on a mantle piece, or on top of a console table or chest of drawers. You can even use the floor!

9: Eclectic Gallery Wall

an eclectic gallery wall above a couch

An eclectic gallery wall incorporates a wide range of colours, themes, patterns, and styles throughout the entire artwork collection. This type of gallery wall looks stunning in maximalist or dopamine decor spaces, giving you the creative freedom to curate a gallery wall that reflects your style.

10: Artist-Inspired Gallery Wall

a gallery wall with pictures doe by the same artist

Image Credit: Inkmakers | Buy on Etsy

Many artists produce themed series of paintings and prints that look stunning when displayed collectively on a gallery wall. While these artworks may not always share a common theme, they do often share the same art style or subject, resulting in a cohesive and purposeful look.

Creating a stunning gallery wall is a way to showcase your personality and style while adding visual interest to your space. Make sure you carefully plan the layout before making any permanent changes. Get out pencils and paper; a tape measure and a spirit level can be extremely helpful in getting your gallery wall perfectly aligned. Make careful choices with your frames and consider the aesthetic you're trying to create and the space you have to work with. With good planning and thoughtful attention, you can make a stunning gallery wall that will make your guests want to stop and stare forever.

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