All the Gallery Wall Inspiration You’ll Ever Need

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Gillian Grefe

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Published on January 20, 2021

Gallery walls have a long and rich history dating back centuries to royal estates—think Downton Abbey—when they were used as a sign of wealth and cultural prominence, showcasing the curation of significant masterpieces. Now, of course, gallery walls have evolved over time for the modern home. But at their core, they’re still an inspiring and impactful way to highlight the art you love.

It can be challenging to find a large piece of art you absolutely love, not to mention it can come with a pretty hefty price tag. Layering and arranging your art in one designated area adds depth, dimension, and visual intrigue to a room—without the high sticker price. It is the perfect way to fill a large space while creating a statement that is uniquely you.

Find Order in Chaos

First determine whether you want to have a more uniform and structured gallery wall, or a free flowing and varied showcase—both work beautifully! This will guide the rest of your gallery wall creation process. 

Consider a theme to tie the individual pieces together. Perhaps it’s a curation of pieces you’ve collected from your travels, becoming a beautiful way to capture and display the memories. Maybe it’s a series of vintage finds, your favorite abstract works of art, or perhaps a collection of ocean scenes, peaceful landscapes, or floral prints. Committing to a concept and grouping like pieces together makes for an unexpected scene and becomes a powerful conversation starter—without it all looking like a jumble. 

If you lean towards a more eclectic assortment, feel free to embrace your inner wild child with a diverse selection of prints – a sketched portraiture alongside a modern piece, a linear motif with a more intricate and captivating design, a black and white photograph next to a brass mirror. However, even if all the individual pieces march to their own tune, establish harmony through a cohesive color palette – unifying not only the artwork, but also your room design.

Have no fear, we’ve put all the essential do’s and don’ts down on paper.

Curate, Curate, Curate

Choosing which art to display is a key component to gallery wall creation. The best gallery walls are a reflection of your unique interests and personality. Rather than purchasing art for art’s sake, collect pieces over time or showcase photography that feels deeply personal to you, evoking memories and meaning. Pay homage to your unique interests and passions with art you’ve discovered abroad, or scouted from a local artist. Remember, gallery walls are fluid—if down the road you grow tired of a piece or find a new one you love, you can easily adapt and edit your gallery wall.

art of layering

Let's Hang

Measure your wall space and tape off the area on the ground first. This gives you visual guidance when laying out your frames so you can make decisions before hammering nails into the wall. For the perfectionists out there (no judgement!) cut out poster boards or butcher paper the same size as your frames so you can actually tack them to the wall after you’ve landed on your arrangement.

Ready to hang? Situate your largest piece first, typically somewhere more central, and then balance with smaller pieces on the right and left. We typically recommend hanging pieces 2-3” apart so they feel still connected to one another. Rely on a level and tape measure to keep you on track—this is one task you don’t just want to eyeball. 

Check out our step-by-step guides for different layouts.

Eclectic Living Room Ideas

Bright and Bold Inspo

You don’t need a massive collection for a gallery wall to shine. A few strategically placed prints in vibrant shades is just right. Each piece features abstract and small brushstrokes and swatches, tying the theme together while playing off the vibrant palette of the home itself. Thin frames in black and white create cohesion to ground the colorful display.

We often tend to think of gallery walls as more vertical in nature, but a horizontal layout at eye level can be dynamic way to fill a wall with a sense of movement. Pro tip: vary the size of pieces for a more interesting visual.

Parisian Elegance Inspo

If you’re lucky enough to have ornate moulding in your space, consider using the borders as a canvas for your gallery wall display. A balance of large, medium, and small pieces keeps this collection evenly weighted, while the juxtaposition of photographs with abstract art, all in black and white tones, pair together wonderfully. Ornate brass frames complete the scene, adding a sense of modern elegance and luxury to the room.

Power of Repetition

Gallery walls don’t always have to be a diverse collection of art—in this case, the duplicating pattern of same-sized frames in a consistent graphic motif creates a bold display. With a unified pink and white palette and minimalist frames, the individual pieces almost work together for the illusion of one larger work of art.

Stairway to Inspiration

Where you hang your gallery is just as crucial as how and what you hang. Here, a parade of prints leads you from the entryway and up a flight of stairs. A cheeky combination of old photographs and an elegant art print creates contrast to enliven the home. Larger pieces are balanced with smaller photographs, and the large white mats in many of the frames creates pleasing negative space.

entryway gallery wall

Black and White Beauty

Black and white is a classic palette that pairs well with any style. Again, featuring prints in a minimalist color scheme works to establish a sense of cohesion, even amongst a variety of content. To keep the gallery wall from becoming ho-hum, the designer leaned on brass accents for an eye-catching effect.

Eclectic Treasures

This conversation-starting wall incorporates a wide variety of prints and photos cascading across the wall for a truly one-of-a-kind display. While we usually recommend starting with a larger piece at the center, the arrangement of smaller pieces comet-tailing from a larger piece anchored on the left is just asymmetrical enough to work. A mix of black and white frames ground the art to prevent total chaos.

Words by Avery Johnson