A much-loved tool of inspired interior stylists, a gallery wall is a super-cool creative outlet to both show off your style, taste and favourite finds, and to add interest and intrigue to an otherwise ordinary wall.
The best bit? It need not be expensive, as the type of art (or artefacts) you choose to hang is entirely up to you. Framed, unframed, home-made, happy snaps, one-of-a-kind finds, original commissions, or replica prints – the way you mix, match and create the mood is a design decision only you can make (unless you call in an expert that is!)
- Do your homework
Perusing Pinterest, Instagram, Houzz or magazines is an ideal way to get your inspo flowing, making notes or saving images as you go to narrow down the gallery-wall styles that push your buttons.
Next you’ll need to choose your target wall and arm yourself with the tools of the trade (and by that we don’t just mean the prints) which may include a hammer, nails, spirit level, tape measure, masking tape, pencil and eraser or some other wall-hook mounting system.
Idea # 1: Bold & bright
2. Pick your prints
Whether you collect pieces that grab your attention over time or hit the shops for a full-on day of fossicking, the most fascinating gallery walls are generally those that combine a range of frame styles, print sizes and types of art – oil, watercolour, Polaroid, print, abstract – but often with a common theme or colour throughout.
Incorporating a range of shapes and sizes, including both portrait and landscape orientation, rectangular and square pieces, small and large sizes and an item of an unusual shape or texture can be the key to a look-at-me wall you’ll love.
If you can wait until you’ve accumulated a range of art that you love: flea market finds, travel maps, children’s art, black and white family photos or originals from up-and-coming artists – these are often the key to having your gallery stand out from the crowd.
Idea # 2: Modish Monochrome
3. Size does matter
While the range of sizes on a successful gallery wall may look random, usually that’s anything but the case. The most important guideline here is to begin with one larger piece to anchor the display, and if you don’t have a single iconic piece, then pair two identical-sized pieces close together in matching frames to create the illusion of one larger look.
Idea # 3: Artful Animals
4. The arrangement
When it comes to planning your pieces, it’s all about patience…and practice. One of the most popular methods is to measure the wall space and then use masking tape on a large floor space to mark out the area so you can plan (and play) with the arrangement.
You can either trace your pieces on the floor, then cut out and tape paper replicas to the wall to see how it will look before committing to the tools, or you can artfully arrange it all on the floor, measure and make a note of the spacing and take photos to help you recreate it on the wall.
While the experts agree you should hang your largest piece first, don’t feel the need for it to be in the middle of the gallery, off-centre often works best, looks more casually put together and helps ensure that one piece doesn’t completely steal the stage.
Unless your ceiling heights are vast, it’s best to keep art roughly around eye level, which means not stacking your art more than three prints high if the pieces are on the smaller side, or two if they’re large.
Also avoid putting pieces too close together, clever curation is not about crammed, but don’t space them too far apart either or it will look like something’s missing, or they’re not part of an intentional installation.
Idea # 4: An eclecitic edit
5. You’ve been framed
Generally, the more consideration you put into your frames, the more elevated your collection. While the typical rule of thumb says you should choose a frame to suit each artwork, print or photo; if you prefer a more cohesive, classic look, choose frames in one or two colours (such as always-in-style black, white, silver or natural timber) to tie the whole look together.
Idea # 5: Fabulous Frida
6. Call the cavalry
This is not a solo DIY job. Not only do you often need two people to hang the artwork, especially if there are larger pieces, it pays to have someone else standing back and surveying your handiwork to ensure it looks right – and straight.
With a wide range of whimsical artwork on offer, Matt Blatt is your go-to for gallery-wall inspo galore.