Design Inspiration | Creating a Gallery Wall

A common challenge encountered when decorating a home is how to go about filling empty wall space. Although you might have all the furniture components needed to make a room function, artwork can be the perfect pièce de résistance to make the space pop. A collection of framed prints or three-dimensional sculptures can be a great way to give visual interest to dead wall space. Whether using just a few pieces, or filling a full wall, the key to a successful display is balance. The collection shouldn't seem too sparse, and the pieces shouldn't be spaced too far apart. There shouldn't be a myriad of shades/hues used in the frames or in the prints -- stick to three, maybe four different colors/finishes tops. Overall, you want the collection to be proportionate to either the wall it is filling or the furniture it is hanging above (or both). While you're hanging your pieces (and again when you are finished) make sure you step back and check that everything is laying straight. One way to deflate the impact of your display is to have a bunch of crooked frames looking like they might fall off the wall at any second.

To help you in your quest for wall gallery perfection, we've compiled a few visual aids for what to avoid and what to emulate.


NOT QUITE
Here are a few examples of gallery wall designs that just aren't quite nailing it.

I think I created a display like this back in the day...yikes. Certainly, a gallery wall doesn't have to be an overly-manicured, impersonal, magazine shoot compilation, however, a little cohesion is a must (and binder clips are a no-no). Don't be afraid to throw a mat around some of your prints. It's a small touch that packs a big punch of class. Also, tiny photos do not necessarily need to go into tiny frames. If you have a 3x5 photo, you can put it in an 8x10 frame using a mat border. It actually looks pretty cool!

I think I created a display like this back in the day...yikes. Certainly, a gallery wall doesn't have to be an overly-manicured, impersonal, magazine shoot compilation, however, a little cohesion is a must (and binder clips are a no-no). Don't be afraid to throw a mat around some of your prints. It's a small touch that packs a big punch of class. Also, tiny photos do not necessarily need to go into tiny frames. If you have a 3x5 photo, you can put it in an 8x10 frame using a mat border. It actually looks pretty cool!

Just say 'no' to cutesy-wootsy wall stencils. If you want to use quotes in your display, find a cool graphic print like the ones at this Etsy shop.

Just say 'no' to cutesy-wootsy wall stencils. If you want to use quotes in your display, find a cool graphic print like the ones at this Etsy shop.

Not that you have to frame everything in your gallery wall, but be wary of making it too casual. Also, this is a classic example both of poor spacing and poor proportioning. The content is solid, but a few inches of spacing and some frames would really take this gallery up a notch.

Not that you have to frame everything in your gallery wall, but be wary of making it too casual. Also, this is a classic example both of poor spacing and poor proportioning. The content is solid, but a few inches of spacing and some frames would really take this gallery up a notch.


RIGHT ON
Here are some examples of displays that are right on point!

Okay, so this display might be a little bit hyper-perfect. And who even has that many pictures of plants anyway? Content aside, we love the cohesive grid-like layout of this gallery. The frames are evenly spaced and proportioned. The colors are complimentary and constrained. Even if the collection were half as large, it would still be impressive purely by its orderliness. Not a single crooked frame in the bunch.

Okay, so this display might be a little bit hyper-perfect. And who even has that many pictures of plants anyway? Content aside, we love the cohesive grid-like layout of this gallery. The frames are evenly spaced and proportioned. The colors are complimentary and constrained. Even if the collection were half as large, it would still be impressive purely by its orderliness. Not a single crooked frame in the bunch.

Not all displays have to be oriented horizontally. If you have a thin segment of wall to cover, consider stacking your pieces in columns rather than lining them up in rows. I also love the vintage theme of this gallery. If you have amazing old frames or classic photos of your grandparents or great-grandparents, this sort of gallery would be the perfect inspiration.

Not all displays have to be oriented horizontally. If you have a thin segment of wall to cover, consider stacking your pieces in columns rather than lining them up in rows. I also love the vintage theme of this gallery. If you have amazing old frames or classic photos of your grandparents or great-grandparents, this sort of gallery would be the perfect inspiration.

This is a great example of mixing objects and framed prints. Keeping the color palette in check and maintaining an appropriate spacing between items keeps this gallery from becoming a disjointed mess.

This is a great example of mixing objects and framed prints. Keeping the color palette in check and maintaining an appropriate spacing between items keeps this gallery from becoming a disjointed mess.

This is a rather fancy display, but it uses a perfect balance of finishes/hues (black/gray, white/silver, gold/brass). The content is cohesive and the pieces are nicely spaced and proportionate to the wall and furniture.

This is a rather fancy display, but it uses a perfect balance of finishes/hues (black/gray, white/silver, gold/brass). The content is cohesive and the pieces are nicely spaced and proportionate to the wall and furniture.


We hope these examples will be helpful to you as you start putting together a gallery display for your own home!

Cheers!