After my gallery wall post the other day, I thought it might be helpful to share some tips and tricks for creating one. They can be a little intimidating to start, but they’re really not as complicated as they may seem.
A couple of years ago, I started this gallery wall up our stairwell
At first, I only had maybe ten pictures, and I’ve been slowly adding to it since, but way before I started, I took some time to think about the look and feel I wanted for the space, and gathered photographs I wanted to display. Having everything collected and ready to go made hanging my wall surprisingly easy.
If you’re thinking about creating a wall of your own, but are unsure where to start, the following tips may help:
Pick your space. I wanted a large space to display favorite family photographs and memories. I knew it was something I wanted to continuously add to from year to year, and I’ve always loved the look of a staircase accented by a collection of photos, so this seemed the most natural spot for me.
Choose your items and/or frames. There are no rules here. I’ve seen gallery walls with all matching frames (color, size, mat, etc.), those with nothing matching, and everything in between – and I’ve loved them all. It just depends on the look and feel you’re after. I wanted something that felt collected, but cohesive at the same time, so I chose to do frames in a similar finish, but mixed up the style, size and mat color.
Decide on a layout. Do you like a collected and casual display like mine, or do you prefer something with a bit more symmetry and order? I wanted something that evolved over time and allowed me the freedom to add to it as I pleased, so I chose to do something a bit more random.
Once you’ve selected your space and gathered your items, you can start planning the arrangement. The easiest way for me was to lay it out on the floor. I cleared a spot in my living room and started playing around until I found an arrangement I liked. Be sure to stay within the dimensions of the wall you plan to use – you might come up with the most perfect arrangement, but it will be of no use if it won’t fit on your wall!
If you’re choosing to hang items that are all the same size, this will probably go a lot faster – if you’re choosing all different sizes it may take some more time. I like to anchor my display with a larger piece in the center. If you have multiple items that are large, you may want to spread those pieces out and use the smaller pieces to fill the space in between – it’s really all trial and error until you stumble across something you like.
Once you have decided on a layout, choose a spacing distance. I chose to hang my frames two inches apart. Keep in mind, my frames are all different sizes, so some distances between frames are more or less than two inches, but at least one point is always two inches away from a neighboring frame.
If you’re confident with your layout, or just simply lack the patience to do any more prep (like me), now is the time to start assembling your wall. You’ll want to have a tape measure, a level and a pencil handy. I found it easiest to start with the center of my display – I treated my center item as a focal point and hung it at eye level. Then I just built everything out from there using my two inch space as a guide.
If you have everything laid out on the floor the way you think you want it on the wall, but still can’t get a vision for how it will look once it’s up, try one (or both) of these options:
Trace your items onto paper, cut them out and tape them on the wall where you think they should hang
If I were doing this for real, I would use a paper that didn’t blend in with my wall so I could actually see the shape if I stood back, but I just wanted to provide a visual here for you to see. Jordan suggested I take the entire wall down and tape templates up so you could see the whole process…I love you all, but no. 🙂
OR measure the dimension of each item, and using painters tape cut to size, tape the outline of each piece on the wall.
This will give you a basic feel for how the wall will look when it’s complete, and allow you the opportunity to change anything you don’t like before any holes are made or Command Strips are wasted (Psst – I love Command Strips and use them every opportunity I can – not only do they not put holes in the wall, but they also keep things hanging nice and straight).
Once you’re happy with how your templates look on the wall – simply replace them with the real thing and your gallery wall will soon be complete. 🙂
What do you think of gallery walls? Is this something you might try, or do you already have one in your home? Share with me below!