One of the most popular topics I get questions on as an Interior Decorator surrounds gallery walls. In my opinion, there are 2 approaches to creating the gallery wall you are looking for.
1. Gallery Walls: Symmetrical Approach
This approach is where all of the artwork in the gallery wall is hung at the exact same distance and height from one another. No matter how many pieces of artwork you’re using, all the frames should be the same colour and size. The selections of prints or portraits should be the same theme as well. For example, black and white landscapes or all family portraits with the same saturation. This approach creates a large scale focal point. It is great for oversized walls or spaces where it is unconventional for furniture placement but you still want to add some visual interest. The end of a hall, and corner of a living space are a great example of where this approach will work really well.
2. Gallery Walls: Asymmetrical Approach
This approach (and probably my favourite) is a lot more forgiving in nature. The idea is to create visual interest but with no direct symmetry involved. This approach uses a collection of unique frames that are complementary to one another without matching. Mixing various styles, sizes and colours of frames is important but the key is trying to keep the saturation of the images similar. If you are working with a vintage approach make sure that the sepia look is carried throughout the artwork selected. This helps it feel intentional and not like you went awol with your gallery wall.
Here are 5 pro tips to help you with your gallery wall configuration
- Pick your frames before you pick your artwork. It is much easier to size a print to the exact dimensions of a frame then it is to find the perfect frame to fit your oddly sized artwork.
- Create a layout. Measure the space you are planning on placing your gallery wall and even map it out on the floor if you have to. This helps to stay within your desired focal point. Cut out similar sized pieces of paper or cardboard to your frames and tape to the wall prior to to be sure you like your placement before nailing holes in the wall. If you are creating the asymmetrical look, remember to play with vertical and horizontal placements.
- The center of the gallery wall should be at eye level. When hanging any artwork gallery or not, the center of the art should be at eye level. This spot is where your center is and everything else should revolve around that.
- Consistent distancing. Try to keep each frame the same distance apart from one another regardless of their size. 2-3” apart is an average distance.
- Use painters tape and a level. This will help you get it right the first time. Oftentimes (even if you have the exact same frames) the hooks are never placed in the exact same location. If you place painters tape over the hinges of the frame and mark where your nails will go then you can place that tape on the wall knowing exactly where your holes should be.
Get creative with your gallery wall and use unconventional art like pressed flowers or artifacts that are repurposed from its original intent. If you plan to create an asymmetrical style, play with shapes and sizes, directions and colours.