How to Create a Gallery Wall in Eight Easy Steps

Introducing an art display into your space doesn't have to be stress-inducing! It's entirely possible to use artwork to add tons of life to any room in just a few simple steps. Here, we walk you through the ins and outs of hanging a designer-worthy gallery wall.

  • 01 of 08

    Evaluate Your Space

    gallery wall in nursery

    Studio KT Interiors

    Don't let fear of making mistakes stop you from installing a gallery wall in your home (whether you rent or own!)—any misplaced nail holes can easily be covered up with a bit of paint and spackle. That said, the less touching up required, the better, so you'll want to develop a game plan before determining where exactly you'd like to hang your artwork within a given space. The general rule of thumb is that no more than one gallery wall should be hung per room, so if you're an art fanatic, you'll want to plan to spread your collection of prints throughout the house or apartment.

    However, the options for where to hang a gallery wall within a space are essentially limitless. In a living room, hanging art above the sofa is a common tactic, but don't be afraid to think outside the box. Have a corner that could use a little love? Go ahead and display your art there to add a lively touch. Could the space above your desk use some pizzazz? Incorporate a gallery wall into your home office to get those creative juices flowing as you work.

  • 02 of 08

    Choose Your Winning Pieces

    kids room with floral walls

    Stephanie Hoey Interiors

    Take inventory of the prints that you have on hand and determine which will be featured in your gallery wall. A strong gallery wall generally consists of a mix of artwork types—there's no reason to be shy about combining prints, photographs, and even framed canvas art; you can never go wrong with a collected display. Of course, while evaluating your art collection, you will want to be mindful of size and color. Most gallery walls feature works in a variety of sizes that follow a complementary color scheme. For example, if you love coastal spaces, you may wish to focus in on pieces with dominant blue, white, and green tones. A gallery wall in a more eclectic home may consist of a greater variety of hues. Think about your personal aesthetic and preferences—not just what you see online and in magazines—and be realistic about the pieces that should take center stage in your home.

  • 03 of 08

    Have Fun With Frames

    gallery wall with various frame types

    Studio Peake

    Designer Courtney Sempliner agrees that mixing mediums within the same color scheme is a winning idea, and she notes that it's okay to get creative with frames, too. "Feel free to mix and match frames, using both horizontal and portrait orientations," she shares. Craft stores, antique and secondhand retailers, and flea markets are all excellent resources for finding a variety of frames that speak to you.

  • 04 of 08

    Alternatively, Consider a Grid

    gallery wall grid

    LA Designer Affair

    As designer Kerra Michele Huerta notes, "The most important thing to determine before starting is whether your aesthetic is more orderly or more organic. If you're the kind of person who gravitates toward clean lines and minimal furnishings, you probably want to place your pieces in a grid, and choose artwork or photographs on a single theme and in the same color." The spacing rules above still apply to a grid-like arrangement, but you'll want to be extra detail-oriented. Spacing that may look whimsical on a more casual, eclectic wall will just look sloppy in other circumstances. "If you're working with a grid, a laser level is probably your best bet for tools to have on hand, in addition to your hammer, nails, and pencil," Huerta adds.

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  • 05 of 08

    Create a Layout

    blue and gold gallery wall

    Mary Patton Designs

    Once you have established which pieces you'll be incorporating into your gallery wall, it's time to conceptualize your layout. "While a gallery wall may look stylishly effortless, it takes a lot of planning to successfully achieve the look," Sempliner notes. You will want to use the largest piece of art as an anchor piece and let it shape the overall display.

    Many find it useful to arrange frames on the floor or cut newspaper to each frame's size and tape it to the wall to determine the best layout. "You can just hammer the nails right through the paper, then take the paper and tape down before hanging the frame," Huerta explains. It may take some trial and error to figure out your ideal arrangement; again, you'll want to take color and size into account here. Split up pieces that look extremely similar to one another; this will be easier on the eye and result in a more cohesive looking display. You won't want to place pieces too close together or too far apart, either—make use of the wall space at hand and spread out artwork so that it adequately fills the area.

  • 06 of 08

    Grab Your Materials

    gallery wall with family photos

    Calimia Home

    As Huerta mentions, you'll want to at least have a hammer, nails, and a pencil on hand regardless of the gallery wall arrangement you hope to create. But you'll want to keep in mind that heavier pieces may need to be adhered using drywall mounts. Gather all of your materials before you begin hanging up any works; you will thank yourself when you're able to move through the installation process seamlessly.

  • 07 of 08

    Fill in Any Gaps

    colorful eclectic wall

    Katherine Carter

    If you're finding that a wall looks too sparse, take advantage of resources such as Etsy's digital downloads, which make it easy to print beautiful, affordable pieces at home. Or sort through your drawers to source postcards, photographs, playbills, and other pieces that deserve some extra attention and pop them in a frame. Filling an entire wall with art definitely doesn't have to break the bank!

  • 08 of 08

    Switch Things Up As Needed

    kitchen gallery wall

    Louis Duncan-He

    Of course, your overall decorating style and taste in artwork may change over time, but gallery walls are extremely easy to update as needed—especially if you do your own framing. Simply pop out a piece that no longer satisfies you and replace it with a new one; all you need is some painters tape to situate the new work into the existing frame. It's so simple!