How To Put Up a Creative Gallery Wall For Your Home

a nature inspired gallery wall with green velvet sofa and dried flowers
A nature-inspired gallery wall in our kitchen

In my 20s, the only gallery walls I had the pleasure of seeing would be in The National Gallery or the collection of postcards my Mum used to stick to the fridge.

The only “art” I would possess would be a print from Athena which would be sellotaped to the wall (I think I was the only one who didn’t own THAT poster of a naked man holding a baby).

Fast forward to my adult years and we were faced with a gigantic mortgage and renovation project and I couldn’t see much further than that. When my builders asked me what paint I wanted to use, my answer was white! Whitewash it all.

gallery wall, gallery walls, gallery, art, diy, art gallery, prints, pictures, living room, decorate
You can see why I never posted this room to Instagram before going green eh? 🙂

The first thing I did in my living room after living with the white walls for far too long was to inject a little bit of color.

From my over-excessive use of Pinterest, I knew I wanted to use a dark green paint and decided to just go with a feature wall at first as this was quite a bold step for me into the world of dark green interiors (no death by painting or murder by roller brush were involved in this world).

white walls and a small vintage rug in the living room with a pine fireplace surround and a cast iron fireplace
From this…
a dark teal green wall in the living room with a fireplace, gold hexagonal mirror, pink and green velvet sofas and an aztec colourful rug.
To this! What a difference two years make! Gabbeh Rug from RugsDirect

Our living room can be quite a dark room due to a tree outside hogging most of the light, so I decided to stick with the feature wall and started planning what to put opposite.

My Obsession with Gallery Walls Begin

a gallery wall in the living room featuring lots of nature-inspired prints and letters.
This is the gallery wall that now sits opposite my green feature wall. I kept to the green and natural elements with my prints and pictures

Again, with my daily obsession with Pinterest, I found that I was increasingly pinning gallery walls and whilst my follower count was growing on Instagram, more small and independent businesses were gifting me art and prints.

Aha! I thought. How about creating a gallery with colors that complement the room? And boom! My gallery wall curating career began (if you want to pay me to curate a gallery wall, I’d be more than happy! Haha).

This is the gallery wall that now sits opposite my green feature wall. I kept to the green and natural elements of the room with my prints

Here are my top tips on how to design a gallery…

Decide On the Layout

There are so many different types of layouts, it really is all up to you! It also depends on how much room you have and where the gallery wall is going which will determine whether you want to go horizontal or vertical.

Here are a few ideas to get you started;

Square or Symmetrical Blocks

a monochrome gallery wall with the same size prints
A beautiful family portrait gallery in monochrome. Instagram @the_indigo_house

This is best for prints that are all the same size and, in my opinion, monochrome! This seems to work best when you are creating a family portrait gallery and by laying them out at equal distances, you can create a perfect square or rectangular gallery.

Centered Piece

a nature-inspired gallery wall with lots of boho inspired cushions and plants
When creating this gallery wall, I put up the large London print first and then move outwards adding pieces of art of similar colour tones

Have you got one piece of large art that you love, but would like to add around it? This is also known as the classic gallery wall and probably how most people envisage art collections.

I think centered always works for me as I love to find a big piece of art and then build up around it, matching the color palette. This could be anything, but I like using a big seasonal wreath for this task.

I interchange them once in a while, usually twice per year. This online store provided me with some of my favorite ideas.

On a Shelf

a monochrome gallery wall with a blue sofa and wooden create as a coffee table
Three different-sized shelves staggered to give the impression this is a wall-mounted gallery Instagram: @interior.lisa

This is a popular way to display your favorite prints or art pieces and no drilling necessary! Apart from putting the shelf up, that is.

different sized prints sit on a shelf in the living room above a blue velvet sofa and a boho-inspired rug
Different sizes of prints displayed on a shelf Instagram: @kathleen.post

The Tetris

the gallery wall above a mid-century sideboard. There is a blue velvet chair and footstool and a jute rug

Does what it says on the tin! First of all, decide whether the gallery wall is going to be horizontal or vertical, and then by keeping a rectangular shape, fit all your prints inside!

The Climb

A gallery wall around a tv and above a mid-century sideboard
My new gallery wall in our playroom. It starts above the sideboard and gradually climbs up over the TV

This is where the gallery wall starts low and gradually builds up over a series of steps. This is perfect if you want to display art over a sideboard and around objects like TVs or lamps as I have recently done in my playroom.

a large print gallery wall up the stairs in a boho-inspired hallway
Love this gallery wall and the vintage tasseled carpet runner on the staircase Instagram: @blissfully_eclectic

The other obvious time a climbing gallery wall is perfect is up a staircase. Follow the natural upward slope of the stairs and create your gallery wall around that.

The Baseline

gallery wall above a blue velvet corner sofa in the living room
Lisa used the line on the top of her gorgeous sofa and built the gallery wall from there. Instagram: @_lisa_dawson_

Draw a line across the centre of the wall where you are planning your gallery and make sure the art doesn’t cross this line. This line can either be horizontal or vertical, you choose!

You can then place your art either below/above or to the left/right of the line and they don’t have to be the same shape.

a gallery wall working from the edge of a wall with lots of mid-century furniture in the background
Agi has cleverly used the edge of her dining room wall to create a gallery wall line Instagram: @agi_at_59

Another way and one of the easiest ways to create a fantastic layout for your gallery wall is to “follow the line” of something that is already in the room.

You could start a gallery wall from the top of your sofa and build upwards, start the gallery at the edge of a wall and work inwards, or even create a gallery wall around the corner of a room.

The Eclectic Gallery Wall

A dark mustard velvet sofa sits under an eclectic gallery wall with a large rattan floor lamp and blush pink and beige geometric rug in the living room
In my eyes, Sarah is the queen of gallery walls. A mixture of sizes, prints, wall hangings, mirrors, and even a sculpture make this gallery a feast for the eyes. Instagram: nudeandthenovice

Anything goes! This has to be my favorite type of gallery wall, just grab your favorite art and put it up!

This is best for when you are designing a gallery wall of different sizes and shapes of prints and adding anything extra like letters, plates, mirrors, wall hangings, and even spoons!

A green and nature-inspired gallery wall above a mid-century sideboard with lots of plants
Mirrors have also been used on this gallery wall with little succulent sculptures. Instagram: @lorriecos

What Theme? If Any?

a living room with a green velvet sofa, gallery wall and persian rug
My living room. I like to think the theme around this is color and nature

You’ve decided on the layout, now to choose the art, prints, and objects if any! You might already have some art lying around, or have one piece of art in particular that you want to build on.

I think with gallery walls, anything goes really! If you love it, stick it up on the wall.

Personally, I try to stick to a very loose theme. My living room has a green and pink colour scheme so I tried to keep to those colours. I absolutely loved a face print that I wanted to put up in my playroom, so I built the prints around that turning my gallery wall into a facial and floral tribute!

Here are a few gallery wall theme ideas if you are stuck…

A Colour Story

A retro gallery wall with same sized prints in the dining room
Film Posters Instagram: @sophiecsophiedo

Inject some color into your room by choosing bright and fun prints. These can be anything from abstract, retro-style prints, film posters, or just a random collection of prints you love.

An eclectically retro gallery wall above a mid-century sideboard. The flooring is painted green
Wonderfully colorful retro prints. Instagram: @bambetleblog
A gallery wall in the eaves of an office with a desk and tulip office chair
This office corner is a masterclass in eclectic colorfulness! Instagram: @soozidanson

I think an eclectic theme works best if you are going for full-on color. It doesn’t have to match, just choose artwork that is bright and fun. If you love it, stick it up!

Monochrome

a monochrome gallery wall in a neutral living room
Image credit: Desenio

Do you love the simplicity of black-and-white photography? Create a gallery wall that oozes sophistication. This can be an eclectic mix or family portraits, you choose!

Portraits

a gallery wall full of faces and vintage art work
Lou gives us a masterclass in a portrait gallery Instagram: @lou_a_watkins

I love a gallery wall full of faces! It’s probably not for everyone but I love the idea of looking for portraits in charity shops, antique fairs, and online to create the look.

You could also create a portrait gallery of your favorite family snaps.

Vintage

a dark living room with bright yellow velvet sofa and a floral vintage gallery wall
A dark and brooding vintage gallery wall Instagram: @hilaryandflo

Going on from the portrait gallery, finding beautiful vintage pieces of art online, in charity shops, and at antique fairs is a fun way to build a bespoke and attention-grabbing gallery.

Abstract Art

an abstract gallery wall
A whimsical abstract art display Instagram: @janskacelikart

I’m increasingly drawn to abstract art. I love how it looks on a gallery wall and there is an abundance of fabulous and cheap prints online!

Mix and match with different sizes and shapes and use different shades and colours or keep the gallery symmetrical with the same colour tone throughout.

How to Create a Gallery Wall

You’ve chosen your theme and layout and have your prints and art ready. What is the best way to hang your gallery wall?

a blank space on a rug before planning a gallery wall layout
Measure the area on the wall first and then find an area on the floor where you can recreate this space with frog tape
  1. Measure the area of the wall where you want to hang the gallery
  2. Find a floor space or rug and recreate the wall area with some frog tape marking the edge of where the gallery wall will go.
  3. Make sure all your art and prints are framed and then rearrange them on the floor or rug to see what layout works best.
  4. Once you are happy with the layout, measure how far away the middle picture is from the edge and then measure this point on the wall. This is where you will hang your first frame and work it out from there.
a gallery wall layout, laid out on the floor
Place the art within the area and move it around until you are happy with your gallery wall layout

5. To hang the frames, personally, I prefer command brand strips as they are easy to remove if you get the measurement wrong or want to change the art. They are easy to apply, just stick the strip onto the back of the frame, peel away the wall section, hold the frame in place on the wall, and press firmly.

If the frame is too heavy for a command brand strip, either use gold picture nails which only require a nail, or drill a hole with a rawl plug and nail to take the weight.

comman brand strips
I thoroughly recommend using Command Brand when fixing your art to the walls!

6. When hanging the art, start from the middle and work your way out. Make sure that each piece of art is an equal distance apart by either using a tape measure or your own eyes (I tend to just do it by sight and it seems to work)

command brand strips on the back of a picture
Stick the command brand strip onto the back of the picture frame, peel it away, and then press it firmly onto the wall.

7. Every time you hang a picture, step away and make sure you are happy with it before you move on to the next picture. Don’t worry if you make a mistake, especially if you are using command brand strips. Just peel them away from the wall and start again.

So, what are you waiting for? You’ve got some picture hanging ideas and lots of prints waiting to be put up on the wall that has been gathering dust for months.

It takes no time at all and the end result is really worth it. I hope this blog post has given you some gallery wall ideas to get you started and be brave with your art choices!

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8 Comments

    1. Hi Jenna

      All the white in my house is just Dulux Pure Brilliant White.

      Kind regards

      Mel

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