Ask the Interior Designer: 9 Tips to Build a Gallery Wall

Posted by Benjamin Strusnik on

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Abigail Pfriem

Are you looking for a little guidance on how to display your artwork at home just like the pros?

We asked expert interior designer Sophie Moore to share advice to help you build a gallery wall that's professional, yet personalized. Explore tips on how to create a vibrant mix of paintings, prints, photographs, and other artwork at home.

Ask the Interior Designer sophie moore

1. Start with the space in mind

As the first step for most interior projects, it's important to think about the space in which you're displaying your artwork, and this holds true for building a gallery wall. There are aspects of utility and design that are important to consider. 

For example, a gallery wall within a narrow space or hallway won't give your pieces the attention they deserve.

If you're creating a feature wall in a space without a lot of natural light, ensure lighting is a consideration.

For smaller spaces with shorter walls, filling the space all the way toward the ceiling will create height and give the room a more spacious feeling.

""Starting with the location, I think gallery walls are best showcased in areas of a home like an entryway or office where there are large wall spaces that could use some variation to make the space more interesting.""

2. Create a color palette 

If you want your interior to look a little more curated,  sticking to a color scheme is the way to go.

Try a stand-out vibrant color to base build your gallery wall upon to accent the decor. Or, a keep your pieces similar in tone, texture, and intensity. For example, in that vintage painting gallery wall below the colors were neutrals, blues, and hints of golden brown.

Tips from the Interior Designer

3. Utilize a statement piece

Place your largest pieces first, and build around them.

We recommend the four-corner model. Put one of your biggest pieces in either corner depending on the size of the collection. Or, forget the corners and place the piece slightly off of center. 

When the piece is off-center, it leads the eye travels around the gallery wall, rather than just straight to the middle.

Looking for some statement piece inspiration? Browse our gallery of recent abstracts and home decor-focused commissions.

4. Mix Horizontal and Vertical shapes

To keep your gallery wall feeling inspiring and aesthetic, a healthy mix of vertical and horizontal pieces is recommended.

If your largest pieces are horizontal, try placing a smaller vertical piece next to it (centered or bottom aligned), and vice versa. This is a good way to let the eyes naturally travel from left to right.

Building Your Perfect Gallery Wall

5. Explore more textures and color through a variety of frame colors and styles

Add some paintings with frames and some without. The more pieces you have, the more you can mix. This creates a vibrance to the wall and ensures the way you build your gallery wall is artistic, versus feeling "boxed".

A simple, clean, option could include several large white frames, some small black frames that are a bit thicker and bolder, and a wood option. To create more of an eclectic look, add a pop of color.

Maybe this is a dark red or bright gold, perfect for the holidays. Or, a color that may bring out other features of the room like your sofa or textiles.

""The frames you pick will also add to that story so don’t be afraid to mix different styles. I suggest playing around with the layout on the ground first to decide what pieces you like side by side, and then map out the frame size on the wall to make it easier to just hang in place.""

6. Add lighting to standout pieces

Beautiful works of art (especially custom paintings!) deserve attention. A light can create a stand-out piece that is the cornerstone of your gallery wall. Especially in darker or tight spaces, lighting is an important consideration.

Standing floorlamps are a simple way to bring a soft light to the space. If you have some nice artwork, uplighters are a great investment.

These chic neon signs could be the perfect way to add your own style to the wall or gifts to family and friends.

Gallery Wall Inspiration
Interior Designer's Tips

7. Keep your own artistic flair at the heart of your decor

What is YOUR unique aesthetic? Are you an ""everything black with a standout pair of shoes and bag"" kind of dresser? Do you stick to timeless elevated neutrals? Do you love to collect colorful artifacts of trips and memories?

Think about the styles that make sense to you and your space.

When building your gallery wall, incorporate elements that reflect your hobbies such as a sports team or music genre. All in all, figure out your strongest personality traits and shop for elements that feel right when decorating your space. 

""Choosing the collection of pieces to go on the wall should be fun, whether they are old pieces or recently obtained. Curating your gallery wall should be a fun project, and don’t forget you can always add to it or take something away!""

How to Build a Stunning Gallery Wall
Paintru co-founder Eric Kettani

8. Plan it! Sketch a grid of your wall

Measure twice, cut once. Measure twice, one hole in the wall vs. a few! Lay everything out on the floor, and measure, before you start making all those holes.

Then, you can play around with the art placement without damaging your wall.

PS - A really great way to hang artwork damage-free is to use Command Strips, which come in a wide variety of hanging type and weight options.

Try and keep space between all your pieces at least 3 inches apart. That way things don't get crowded.

9. Mix art with objects 

Get creative. Mixing objects into your gallery wall helps it from feeling ""pre-packaged"" or overly uniform.

Shelves and mirrors are really simple elements that can anchor your art. This article has a variety of mirror options to choose from with cool colored frames and designs.

If you like music, hang old records to add a sense of style to any boring wall. We've even seen some incredible gallery walls with framed dried plants, and memorabilia like tickets. 

And remember, anything can be art! A cocktail napkin from a first date, an ultrasound, even your vows. Anything.

""There's no need to make it perfect, in fact it's most appealing when it tells a story and someones eye is drawn around it to make something of it.""

Building a Gallery Wall - Ask the Interior Designer
Gallery design tip from Create description cards for each piece. Every work of art or photograph has a story to tell, especially custom commissions. A description card can give a brief story or history of the art that gives some background about the piece, such as:

- The title of the painting or sculpture
- The artist’s name
- The date that the art was created
- The history of the piece
- Any back story behind the art you find interesting, including how you acquired it.

Need a painting to jumpstart your wall gallery collection? We deliver customized paintings right to your doorstep. Upload your favorite photo and start decorating your indoor decor today >