Is The Gallery Wall Here to Stay? Designers Weigh In

gallery wall above sofa

Allie Provost

Gallery walls seem to be ever-present, but we've found ourselves wondering: Are they going to remain stylish for quite some time, or are such displays on the way out the door? To get the scoop, we asked professional interior designers for their take on the gallery wall trend.

"Gallery walls have been around for centuries and used to be called 'salon walls' after French salons that first displayed art from the floor to the ceiling," explains Antonio Deloatch of Antonio Deloatch Designs. "Similarly to the fashion industry we have all watched trends come and go, we have also witnessed good and bad variations of a must have product hit the streets."

gallery wall in bedroom

@blackberryfarmdesign / Instagram

Gallery Walls Are Timeless

 Michael Cox, principal of foley&cox, considers the gallery wall to be a classic. “Gallery walls are a timeless way to show an eclectic and accumulated collection," he shares. "Mix watercolors, photography, cartoons, line drawings, and pencil sketches for a successful mix and spectrum of mediums." Looking for a more out of the box take on the traditional gallery wall? Cox shares a few suggestions. "To make it updated and further demonstrate your individuality, hang them asymmetrically or at an unusual and unexpected height (high or low)," he suggests. "Don’t be afraid to wrap around a window or a doorway—it doesn’t always have to be a large, flat wall."

gallery wall in basement hallway

Jonathan Hokklo for Antonio Deloatch Designs 

Gallery Walls Can Be Styled to Appear Minimalist

Designer Denise Rives of Rives Interiors notes that gallery walls are "coming in stronger than ever" when treated with a minimalist approach. No more cramming the wall full with crazy-colorful, too-close-together art, pictures, and artifacts. "By focusing on uniform framing and matting, you create an incredible launch pad to gather photos, art, and even a floating shelf," Rives explains. Uniform frames will prevent the display from looking too busy.

Meagan Camp, Meagan Camp Interiors shares similar sentiments. "Whereas once gallery walls were electric and sporadic in design, the more modern approach is one that's done in an organized and structured pattern," she explains. In her space within the Brooklyn Heights Designer Showhouse, pictured below, she hung traditional artworks "in a no-fuss grid arrangement."

gallery wall with uniform look

Kirsten Francis for Meagan Camp Interiors

Gallery Walls Help Showcase a Collection of Items

By assembling a gallery wall, you can showcase a wide variety of favorite pieces in the process. As Rives says, "Hanging a huge family portrait places too much emphasis on one image, but a gallery wall allows you incorporate not just family photos, but art, objects, and more."

Designer Andrea May of Andrea May Interiors expresses similar sentiments. "Gallery walls are so in," she says. "They’re the ultimate design vehicle for storytelling." Mauri Weakley of Collyer's Mansionagrees. "The gallery wall is never on its way out," she says. "It's a classic and one of the most inspiring ways to celebrate a personal collection... They really are a visual narrative of the homeowner's life, especially if collected over time."

May enjoys using gallery walls to showcase either family photos or art. "A lot of my clients travel and bring back paintings and artifacts—a gallery wall creates cohesion among disparate pieces," she notes. "Or if you collect a single artist, or a single type of work (black and white photography, for example), a gallery wall is one of the best forms of eye candy."

On a related note, why not take a collection to the next level with backlit frames? "I did this recently with vintage movie theater posters from a homeowners personal collection, and it completely transformed the space," notes designer Brittany Farinas of House of One. "Quality frames are absolutely worth investing i, too, especially when you're displaying high-end or collectable art," she adds.

gallery wall above chair

Karyn Millet for Andrea May

Gallery Walls Do Have Their Place and Time

Designer Eilla Pradier of EAD Interiors offers a slightly different take on the gallery wall, noting that this setup shines in some rooms more than others. "From the perspective of contemporary architecture, gallery walls are both in and out, depending on the application," she explains. "They’re largely out in the living room, where large, modern art often wants to stand alone. In other areas of the home, however, gallery walls are very in and are the best way to showcase family photos." One of Pradier's favorite places to install a gallery wall? On the staircase landing. Designer Rozit Arditi of Arditi Design is also a fan of this approach. "A well curated gallery wall makes going up the stairs more interesting," she says. "You realize a new color, a new image, or a new shape every time you take a step.”

gallery wall going up stairs

Sinan Tuncay for Rozit Arditi

The Best Gallery Walls Are Always Evolving

On the whole, designers seem to feel that it's here to stay. As you craft your own, don't feel as though you need to complete your gallery wall in a single day or even month.  "Often, the gallery walls most successful in my eye are the ones collected and added to over time," says Emily Wallace Wood of Wallace Wood Interiors. "There may not be an exact formula but rather a feeling that keeps it balanced, fresh, and exciting. Sure, it's easy to buy a huge piece of art to display over a sofa, but the challenge of a gallery wall always keeps me coming back for more!"