Creating an art gallery wall in your home to transform it into a stylish place to live is an ambitious and achievable design project, all you need to know is where to start. Surround your home with large collections of art and photographs that will add style and color to your walls. It always makes a big impact visually and can be accomplished even on a small budget, if you’re creative. If you don’t have any art collections for a gallery wall, try picking up some unique finds at flea markets, auctions, yard sales, craigslist and mix them with a few key pieces that you have purchased from a store or from travels. You can also use old calendars and magazine photos and frame them, or pictures that you have taken and increase their size and have them framed. If you don’t want to pay for expensive framing, there are plenty of inexpensive options such as using an old window to frame objects, check out one of our articles on Creative Decorating Ideas for Old Windows for some ideas. Have a look through our extensive collection of images for inspiration and tips on different ways that you can create your own art gallery wall. Don’t forget to let us know which one most inspires you and tell us why!
In the above picture, the art grouping helps to balance the tall photograph and help bridge the distance between the furniture and the ceiling in what is obviously a tall space.
Rules of Thumb for Hanging Art Work
- For a single piece of art, the center of the image should be at 56″ – 60″ from the floor, which places it at eye level. The larger the piece of art, the closer to 56″ it should be.
- When hanging two pieces of artwork, one above another, treat them as one large picture – find the center point between them and use the 56″ – 60″ rule.
- For larger pieces of art hung on the same wall, use a spacing of about 2″ between them. Smaller pieces can be hung a little closer together.
- When hanging art pieces above a sofa or other piece of furniture, the grouping should ideally be about 2/3 the width of the furniture below it. (For example, if an art grouping is being hung over a 60″ sofa, the ideal grouping would about 40″ in length.)
- When hanging artwork over a sofa or other piece of furniture, leave 4″- 8″ of space between the top of the sofa/furniture and the bottom of the art. No higher!
This art gallery wall was designed by Emma from the blog “A Beautiful Mess“. Her tip for designing an art gallery wall is the following:
Choose Art You Love. If you are planning to hang a gallery wall in your home, don’t feel like you have to make it look like anyone else’s. You can include original art, art prints, kiddo art, family photos, personal photo projects or even found objects that get framed in shadow boxes (if needed). Hang what you love and what has meaning to you. If it helps you to get choosing with your color scheme then pick your color story before you start purchasing art or printing photos. You can use the color of the photo frames to help tie everything together if needed (like how I used all black frames).
Here is another clever idea that Emma had to plan out her art gallery wall. She cut out the shapes out of each frame with poster board and taped them to the wall. This way they can be moved around for placement to get the arrangement that you are looking for before hanging your art and creating unnecessary holes in your wall. Here is her sources for where she found her artwork with the excepting of personal photos and Polaroids: a pug portrait made by Hope (Katie’s sweet daughter), prints from UO, Pretty Little Thieves, Clare Elsaesser, Lisa Congdon, Vivienne Strauss, Hands Workshop, Ashley Goldberg and United Thread.
Create a Theme. Themed walls can be appropriate in certain contexts. A nautical inspired art wall in a beach house incorporates found objects such as oars and decorative fish hangings in a blue and white color scheme.
Create an Eclectic Mix. Most gallery walls feature an eclectic mix of modern art, old photographs, small prints and random items. Our personalities are so multi-faceted that the gallery wall becomes a reflection of everything we like and want to share with our visitors. Anything and everything can make the cut in a colorful and mixed collection of interesting images and objects.
This photo grouping works well with high ceilings, bringing down the ceiling height as well as adding visual interest. When choosing a mat for photographs, go with a wider mat (more than three inches wide) in white or off-white for a crisp look. It will look sleek and contemporary in a gallery-like grouping.
Picture Rail Displays. Picture rails are a great way to display collections of small images or photos. You get the effect of the gallery wall without committing to one composition and many nail holes. You can easily rotate images by swapping out the frames only.
Create a Personal Space. A combination of picture rails, mirrors, and typography make for a nice arrangement that feels very personal to this family.
The living room is a great space for a wall art gallery. It’s usually the largest room in the house so it has big walls. So you can even cover an entire wall if you have enough materials. You can combine frames portraits with painted artwork.
A gallery wall looks great above a sofa. The horizontal furniture piece begs for large horizontal art above. A gallery wall allows you to create a large display out of smaller images for a fraction of the cost of one giant and expensive piece. Note the clean horizontal edge along the bottom that unifies and contains the collection.
You could also use more than just one wall. You can two adjacent walls from the living room for example. Create a cozy sitting corner and delineate the space with the help of wall art. It’s a nice idea especially if you also have a sectional that goes along those walls.
Draw Inspiration from your Gallery Wall. Gallery walls do inspire. You can start one above a desk/work area and center it around a framed memo board. The memo board becomes a constantly changing mini-gallery that fits in with the larger composition.
Have a Showcase Wall. A good gallery wall should be able to grow and grow without anyone being able to tell where it started. If you are keen on starting one, make sure you picked a large wall so you aren’t limited in your search for small and beautiful framed images.
You can mix and combine all sorts of various artwork. For example, you can display painting along with framed photos, DIY pieces and even posters. This is an example of an eclectic wall art gallery with a casual look and a mix of colors, textures, styles and designs.
The homeowner filled a gallery wall on the second floor by the staircase landing with vintage prints, Etsy finds and a skull.
Symmetrical Art. Achieve a controlled look with horizontal rows of identically sized frames. This approach is less organic and more architecturally minded.
Black and white family photos makes for a beautiful art gallery collection in the hallway and keeps memories alive.
By displaying artwork on a white wall you allow the elements showcased to stand out more. There are no distractions of any kind and the eye only focuses on what’s displayed on the wall. If you want you can also accessorize that part of the room with matching white furniture.
Larger Art Mixed with Smaller Prints. It turns out you actually do have one large-format piece of art to display above your sofa, but you still yearn for a gallery wall for some of your smaller images. Here is a nice example of how that can be achieved with a balanced and symmetrical arrangement.
The use of crisp white mats unifies a colorful gallery of framed pieces of art. The consistent band of color will also add height and width to each piece, allowing your eye to focus on each individual piece of art.
We saved this eclectic media room for last; it’s an impressive gallery wall that showcases memories of the family who lives here. What do you think, do you love the idea or do you find it cluttered and chaotic?
Photo Sources: 1. Jeffers Design Group, 2. Jute Interior Design, 3. Bosworth Hoedemaker, 4. A Beautiful Mess, 5. Courtney Giles Interiors, 6. The Vault Files, 7. ILevel, 8. Caccoma Interiors, 9. Marcelo Brito & Pedro Potaris, 10. Lonny, 11. Incorporated, 12. MHouse Inc., 13. Alykhan Velji Design, 14. Maria Killam, 15. Boutique la Boheme, 16. moment design + productions, 17. Carter Kay Interiors, 18. Angella Eisman Design, 19. Focal Point Styling, 20. Inhabit Design, 21. Cindi Carter Home Style, 22. Stanton Home Furnishings, 23. Stacy Weiss, 24. Pinterest, 25. A Few Things From My Life, 26. Tim Barber Architecture, 27. Garrison Hullinger Interior Design, 28. Rugo Raff Architects, 29. Designs by Shoshana, 30. SF Girl By Bay, 31. Traci Zeller, 32. Alan Mascord Design Associates, 33. Jute Interior Design, 34. Landing Design & Development, 35. Hufft Projects, 36. Nest Pretty Things, 37. Laura U, Inc., 38. Mary Prince Photography, 39. Pinterest, 40. Spinnaker Development, 41. Nautical Cottage, 42. Patrick Sutton Associates, 43. Phoebe Howard, 44. Jamie Laubhan-Oliver, 45. Pottery Barn, 46. Nautical Cottage, 47. Miller Design Co., 48. ML Interiors, 49. Pinterest, 50. Two Thirty Five Designs, 51. Tobi Fairley Interior Design, 52-53. The Every Girl, 54. Urban Rustic Living, 55. Elizabeth Metcalfe Interiors & Design, 56. Domicile Interior Design, 57. Nina van de Goor, 58. Swanky Couch