Gallery walls are one of the biggest interior decor trends of the past few years and they can completely transform the way a room looks. Although they look simple, however, when it comes to getting the right look, it can be harder than you think to nail it in real life.
So before you get stuck into your gallery wall, follow these tips to make sure your project goes smoothly, and it makes a statement you can be proud of.
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- Decide on your theme
Will you use an eclectic mix of pieces, or will you use your wall to showcase a collection or an interest you have? The best gallery walls tell a story about their owner. Think about the kind of story you want to tell with your gallery wall, maybe about places you’ve traveled to, or a hobby such as theatre posters, and pick pieces that express it.
- Pick either a grid or a freestyle arrangement
If you have a selection of prints that go together or you’re showing off a collection, then a grid might be for you. A symmetrical grid layout is the easiest type of gallery wall to get right. It will look sharp, but it can seem formal, so consider the look you want to achieve. If you’d prefer to be less regimented, a freestyle arrangement lets you be more eclectic with what you show on your gallery wall.
- Consider color
Frames and prints don’t have to be matchy – and they often look best if they contrast – but for a freestyle gallery wall layout, it’s a good idea to include a common element like a particular color to tie everything together.
If you are looking for more inspiration and tips on decorating with color, check out these resources and products
Living with Color BookThis is the perfect book for anyone who wants to learn more about decorating with color
Color WheelLearning how to use a color wheel will completely change how you pick shades for home decor or any kind of design project
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- Don’t rush
Don’t expect your gallery wall to be a quick job, unless you already have all of your prints pre-selected. Your gallery wall should feel like an interesting collection, that’s been curated over time. It shouldn’t look like something that was put together in a weekend.
- If you’re stuck
If you aren’t the kind of person who looks at a lot of art, and you don’t know where to start, go to an art gallery and take your time looking around to see what inspires you. Pinterest is a great way to collect ideas you like as well.
- If you’re still stuck
There’s nothing wrong with selecting one main ‘hero’ image and basing all of your other choices around that. All of the best gallery walls have a stand-out piece that catches the eye.
- If you’re really stuck
There are also ready-made sets of gallery wall frames or prints you can buy that are already designed to look good together. Check out Etsy for sets that are ready to hang.
- Place it around an arrangement of furniture to stop it looking formal
You want your gallery wall to be admired but you don’t want it to be mistaken for an actual art gallery, so hang it around an arrangement of furniture or to set a scene.
- It doesn’t have to be expensive
Buying printable downloads from somewhere like Etsy and printing them yourself can save a lot of money over buying a ready-framed print. You can also choose exactly the frame and size that you want your prints to be.
- Don’t use frames that are too similar
Unless you’re going for the symmetrical, grid layout where you’ll want to choose frames that are the same. Otherwise, for a freestyle arrangement, choose frames that contrast in size, style and color.
- Save on frames
Check out flea markets and thrift stores to save on money on frames and get something unique. You can always paint or stain them if they aren’t the color you want.
- But spend on mats
You might be surprised by what a difference matting can make for a professional look (and this is where professionally framed prints can be worthwhile). A good quality mat can make a low-cost print look expensive, whereas a bad mat will make an expensive print look cheap.
- Add in other items for extra interest
Don’t feel limited to prints in frames, use other wall art such as signs, decorative plates, sculptures, animal horns, or anything else you take a shine to. Use it as an excuse to collect things you like and be a magpie.
- The bigger picture
Think about using an accent that ties your gallery wall to other things in your home or life. For instance, a cactus print to link it with your ornamental cacti, or a vintage tequila ad to complement your shot glass collection.