How To Conquer the Gallery Wall

How To Conquer the Gallery Wall

Lori White

All Wall Décor is on sale right now, and I thought—what better time to visit the idea of the gallery wall? Gallery walls can be intimidating propositions, right y’all? All that space, and all that stuff…where do you put everything so it looks good?

There are definitely ways to do gallery walls right, and ways that gallery walls can go oh, so WRONG. Like these:

If you’re looking at these, scratching your head, and thinking, “I don’t get it,” it’s okay. Or maybe your own gallery wall looks a little like that. That’s okay, too. No one’s laughing or side-eyeing it. Promise. Décor peeps, there is hope. Designing and hanging a gallery wall with all of those cute odds and ends and photos you’ve been gathering is really not very difficult.

Step 1:

Grab a big sheet of kraft paper and lay it down on the floor. Lay out all of your frames and wall trinkets on the kraft paper and arrange to your little heart’s desire. If you’re having a hard time deciding on the best arrangement, consider these basic design principles—

  • Try not to “trap” any “white space” in between frames or objects. Think about a page in a magazine. You wouldn’t see a big block of empty space in between a photo and a block of text. It’s the same idea with your wall gallery.
  • Try, as much as is reasonable and logical, to keep the borders between frames and objects uniform. These are going to vary somewhat because your objects will likely be differently shaped. It won’t be feasible to have a straight one-inch border between a rectangular photo frame and a circular clock, you know? But try to keep them reasonably uniform.
  • Try, again as much as is possible, to keep your color palette and theme as uniform as possible. This will promote integrity among your elements and help everything go together.
  • Start with your larger items first and toward the center, and move outward with smaller items.

Step 2:

So you’ve got everything laid out and looking good…what next? Take a pencil and trace around each object.

Step 3:

This is going to sound weird, but next, take a tiny dab of toothpaste, or paint, or something that will leave a little mark, pick up the first object, and mark the hanging hardware with it—right where the nail(s) would go. Then re-lay that baby right back in the traced area, so that the toothpaste or paint leaves a dot. The idea is that when that paper goes up on the wall, that toothpaste or paint will be the map that tells you exactly where to place your nail(s). Repeat this for each and every object in the gallery.

Step 4:

Set all of the gallery objects aside and tape the kraft paper carefully to the wall area that you want to decorate. Once secure, you are ready to hammer your nails or drill your screws (for heavy objects) at the marked areas. When these are securely in place, you can tear the kraft paper carefully away and hang your items.

Voila! So easy!

Here’s a beautiful example of a gallery wall that I just love. I love how Liz Marie has the large central object that the eye is drawn towards, and then several smaller, interesting elements that make you want to just pause and study. I’d probably be spending a several long moments on this stair case.