If you’ve got a few Food For Everyone posters and other pieces of art strewn around the house, it’s time to bring them together with a gallery wall.
As well as creating a focal point in any room, a gallery wall makes a great conversation piece by evoking memories or telling a visual story, injecting extra personality into your living space.
Gallery walls are a great way to fill a vast empty wall and can be a more affordable option than one large-scale piece.
But there is an art to building a gallery wall—from colour to composition, here is our guide on how to get started.
Location & position
First up, location, location, location. Gallery walls work well in spaces like living rooms, hallways, and staircases where there is ample breathing room for the collection.
Keep in mind that the wall you pick will ultimately inform the scale and shape of your gallery. A smaller wall suits a smaller vignette of two to three smaller pieces; a staircase lends itself to a diagonal flow.
You will also need to factor in any furniture or fixtures that are up against the wall and work this into your composition. If you’re arranging art above a couch, you want to make sure there is enough room above it so that no one hits their head against a frame. If it’s above a buffet, make sure there is another space to account for lamps and knick knacks not interrupting the art.
If your canvas is a totally empty wall, choosing the base point for the gallery is important—too low and your art can look cramped, too high and your art can look ominous and like it’s about to float away. Generally, a good point of reference is to have the bottom of the frame sit around 150cm from the floor.
Theme & colour
The goal here is to create a sense of cohesion. A gallery can span several art styles, but selecting pieces with a similar overall tone can help achieve a harmonious visual relationship.
An easy way to create unison within your composition is to repeat colours 2-3 times in adjacent pieces or select art that reference colours that already exist in the space in textiles or interior finishes. Another tactic if your art pieces vary greatly is to unite them with frames in similar wood stains or colours.
Keep in mind that not everything in your gallery has to be a print or painting—you can incorporate elements like plates, ceramics, textiles, or lighting into the composition. And not everything has to be framed in wood either, using magnetic poster frames, clips, photo strips to create a nice visual break.
Arrangement & spacing
Now for the fun part—to decide the best formation for your gallery, make some space on the floor to lay out your pieces.
We find it helpful to use the largest piece as an anchor and then work around it. As well as taking scale into account, look at the visual weight of each piece and ensure they are balanced throughout your arrangement or in a way where the eye travels easily across the collection.
If you’re looking to create a more regimented and structured effect, go for an even number of pieces. However, if you’re looking for an organic look, you’ll find that an odd number will work best. But building a gallery wall isn’t an exact science, rely on your intuition to tell you when something feels off.
Helpful hint! While you’re playing around and deciding, take photos of possible combinations before reshuffling them.
Nailing & Hanging
Once you’ve decided on a layout, flip the pieces over and trace them onto baking paper, ensuring to mark the hanging point so you know where to nail. Tape these pieces onto the wall where you’d like to hang them. A good rule of thumb is to allow 8cm-15cm between each piece, ensuring its relatively even (if not it can look cluttered).
Once you’re happy with the spacing, you can knock the nail straight through the spot marked on the paper and simply tear it away.
The easiest way to hang frames instead of going in blindly, risking scratching your walls is to use a fork! Bear with us…
Grab a kitchen fork and with it pointing downwards and hook the nail between the centre tines then slide the backing wire of the frame over the top of the fork’s handle. It will hang perfectly centred every time.
Once everything is up and looking fab, use the spirit level built into your iPhone to make sure everything is looking schmick.