FAQ's: Creating a Gallery Wall

Updated: Jun 15, 2020

You have asked, and I am happy to share! Here are my Gallery Wall FAQ’s:

How do I start my Gallery Wall?

Start with a piece of art or a photo that speaks to you… and then find more!

You can create a theme based on color, frame, subject matter, the possibilities are really endless- so don’t get too hung up on “matching”.

Add dimension to a gallery wall using 3D objects- flowers, metal wall art, hanging ceramics, a shelf, etc. This provides great variation and visual interest. The succulents we display on the wall in the shop are a perfect example!

Think outside the box. Making a family photo gallery wall? Add in tickets from a show you went to together in a shadow box. My favorite kind of gallery walls are ones that evoke feelings and have sentiment in every addition.

What do I need?

Your art, nails, a hammer, a tape measure and a level. And paper, scissors and painters’ tape if you’re going to do the template method. I always keep some scrap paper and pencil near by too.  

What pattern should I follow?

I usually make this decision based on the amount of artwork that I want to display, or a layout that inspires me for a particular space.

Want to draw the eye up? Bring the gallery floor to ceiling. Have lots of hard angles in the space? Loosen it up with a more abstract design. Want a super clean and crisp look? Keep the lines really defined and use those angles!

Keep in mind the size of the wall you will be putting your gallery on. Also keep in mind that you can change the size of each piece by using a smaller or larger frame, and/or adjusting the size of your print.

Once I have all of my components, I like to lay it out on the floor. I will also take photos of different arrangements and decide at which ones feel best to me.

How do you keep a uniform look?

If pattern is your thing, stick to one. Be aware of your negative space- as in, keep 3 inches between frames, or whatever number you decide.

You can also use the same style frames, same mats, or keep a color scheme to create a cohesive look.

Any tricks for the actual hanging part?

Measure twice, hammer once. And jot down some notes!!

There are 2 types of gallery wall hangers- math equation or template users. There are probably plenty more, but these are the ones I hear most. I am a math equation user.

Always check your math!!! If your picture is going to hang with a 3 inch negative space from the one below it- your measurement needs to be from nail to nail. So it would be the distance from where it hangs (the saw-tooth hanger or like) to the bottom of the frame you’re hanging + the 3 inch negative space + the space from the top of the frame below to where IT hangs. Catch that one?  I made a visual to help make sense of all those words.

To make your templates, just trace each frame on some paper, cut it out and mark exactly where the hanger is on the paper. Then tape the templates up on the wall and hammer right through! This method is great if you are having a hard time deciding on your layout because you can play with it, risk free.

I also use painters’ tape to help with tricky frames. This way you can put the tape on the frame, mark on the tape where the nail needs to be, put it on the wall, level it and bam! It’s done. Or double check the measurement, get your nail, hammer it in and then BAM!

Then, step back and admire your work. Or if all of this stresses you out… hire someone!

My best piece of advice is to go with what feels right. If you feel like you like a particular layout- go with it! The same goes for artwork- if it makes you smile, and you love it- it’s for you. Sometimes we get so hung up on if something “works” that we forget that décor is a facilitator for us to enjoy our space. If you love it- it “works”. You can always add a piece to complete it or even switch something out down the road! But if it feels right, it’s usually because it IS right- for you.

Happy Hanging!

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