Thursday, February 8, 2018

Gallery Wall Made Easy

I just completed a fairly large gallery wall in my living room, and I have had several comments from friends about how much of an undertaking it is for them. Some have nothing on their walls because the thought of putting a collage of things together gives them anxiety! I have made several gallery walls in our homes over the last few years, and what was once a stressful task is now something I have come to enjoy. I wanted to share a few of my tips for making it come together a bit easier, so you can get those family photos on the wall.

Take a deep breath, and dive right in. It really isn't as hard as you might think!

1. Look at your surroundings to determine the size.

How much space do you have? Do you want plenty of negative space around the edges, or is it a tight fit? You want to figure out roughly how much space you want to fill with your gallery. 

In the example below I knew I wanted it to be a fairly tight fit and fill the space, so I measured to just inside the sofa on each end and just below the adjacent door frame. That gave me 3'x7" to work with and a good starting point.

2. Decide the shape of your gallery wall. 

Do you want it to have irregular edges?

I often choose galleries with irregular edges for larger blank spaces. When I have a big, empty wall, the blank space balances out the irregular edges that could otherwise seem too busy.

Do you want a cleaner outline with squared edges?

If the edges of your gallery wall are going to be close to furniture, windows, doors, etc., you might consider square edges to give it a cleaner, more uniform look.

3. Start with your biggest pieces.

For a gallery wall with irregular edges, I use three pieces in the center to ground the entire thing. I usually start with my biggest piece, and choose two more to place beside it. I prefer to avoid lining up the horizontal edges of these pieces, but instead use the negative space between the second and third pieces to intersect the vertical line of the first piece. I think that just got confusing. Are you still with me? Try using the image below as a reference.

 Still not sure? Try this illustration.
In all of my styling, whether on shelves or wall hangings, I try to add variation in height. Variation is key! By avoiding lining up the edges of your frames horizontally, you will have more variation, and therefore, more visual interest in your gallery.

For a gallery with square edges I use 2 large pieces in opposite corners to get started. When possible, I like to use one vertical and one horizontal to create balance. I will re-post the example photo below so you don't have to scroll back up for reference.

 4. Fill in with smaller frames.

If you choose irregular edges you simply have to select frames that get smaller as you move toward the outer edges. If you need to fill a larger space you may need a larger variety of sizes. Just start with a medium sized frame (in comparison to your largest pieces) and work your way out. If you have a small space to fill overall, your job is easy. Just choose smaller frames and fill in your allotted space.

For a square shaped gallery wall I would suggest using medium sized frames in a ripple pattern to "connect" the larger end pieces, like below.

Follow this step by filling in the other two corners and then the rest of the negative space within your designated shape. You can use small frames and other personal items to really make it your own.

A few other things to consider when creating a gallery wall of any shape or size is the overall color and style. Do you want clean lines and simple colors to keep it neat and tidy? Or is your style more eccentric with a variety of colors, shapes, textures and patterns? My biggest advice here is to have a clear vision when you start. If you want a lot of texture, be sure to consider that when purchasing your frames. If you select a clean monochromatic design, find a commonality in all your frames whether it be color, thickness, etc.

Another important tip is to use sets of three. If you have a large gallery of wooden frames and want to add some gold accents, I recommend adding three and spreading them evenly across the grouping. The same would go if you have several color photographs and want to include a few black and white images. Using sets of three is a good rule for almost anything!

I hope this made sense and was helpful to some of you. Please send over any questions you may have. I would love to know if you were able to use any of the information I shared here, and be sure to share a photo of your gallery wall!

Happy framing!


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