Source: From the Right Bank

Do you have a big, blank wall in your home, just staring at you every time you walk by it, empty because you haven’t yet found the right size piece to hang?

Or perhaps this wall does have a print hanging on it, but the picture seems so lost and alone there by itself, because it isn’t the right scale for the wall?

Maybe you have a bunch of artwork and photographs just sitting in a closet, just waiting to be hung?

Then it’s time to create a gallery wall!

A gallery wall is a great way to display lots of prints and photographs together.  Interior designer Charlotte Moss is an expert on creating beautiful, organic gallery walls that look evolved over time, even if the prints were all hung together at the same time.

All you need to get started on your gallery wall is some thought to positioning; some picture hanging tools; and some patience (hello, 100 year old plaster wall).

To begin, lay your pieces down on a floor or table and play around with a design until you come up with something you like. Not sure which design to choose? Here are a few formats:

Grid pattern 1: use the same sized frames and arrange them in a grid pattern on the wall. Incorporate two or three rows of frames. Keep the golden mean in mind – 2:3  – and use two rows of three frames, or 4 rows of 6 frames, etc.  Space out the frames evenly. For more visual conformity, keep the space between each frame the same width as the frame itself.  If you don’t want to do this, just make sure that the space between the frames isn’t more than the width of the frame, or else your gallery will look disconnected.

Grid pattern 2: use two different shapes for the frames, such as square and rectangle. Arrange them in a grid pattern: use a rectangle frame on top and hang a square one directly underneath. Then for the next set of frames use a square on top and hang a rectangle below. Again, keep the space between the frames consistent.

Organic:  Mix different shapes and sizes of frames. Don’t worry about rows but do keep the frames fairly close to each other so that they don’t appear disjointed. If your arrangement starts to look a bit messy then align the edges of the frames so that they line up with each other.

Here are a few more tips for your gallery wall:

  • To keep it cohesive, try to create a theme by repeating a pattern. The pattern could be style – metal or wood frames; color – pops of red or gold in various pictures; or image – line sketches, portrait photographs, bucolic prints, etc.
  • Use picture shelves if you don’t want to put a lot of holes in your wall. Hang a few shelves, and lean frames of different sizes for visual interest on them. 
  • If you do have plaster walls, sometimes it’s helpful to put masking tape over the spot where you plan to put a nail before you hammer. This could keep the plaster from flaking. Use the smallest nail possible.
  • If you are using a drill and screw, you might want to insert a wall anchor first. Just drill a hole large enough to insert the anchor and carefully tap the anchor in until it’s flush with the wall. Then drive the screw into the anchor and leave a bit protruding to hang your picture on.

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Lexi Nielsen

Lexi is an interior decorator living in Oak Park. Her projects range from simple color consultations to gut rehabs. She fully appreciates that not everyone salivates at the thought of shopping for home...