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Tips for Creating an Unforgettable Gallery Wall

Linda is a seasoned writer and home-decorating authority. She loves sharing design trends, decor ideas, and useful tips with her readers.

Gallery walls are everywhere. You see them on DIY shows, home magazines, blogs and retail websites. They’re a great way to show off your exotic travels, curated artwork, family photos or a botanical exhibition. Before you determine the layout of a gallery wall or even hammer the first nail, check out these super tips to make your museum quality display unforgettable.

Choose the perfect wall color.

How do you think museums and galleries create a sense of drama? Believe it or not, wall color is an essential element of a successful gallery wall. Pick a color that enhances your photographs and artwork. One way to do that is to isolate a single color that runs through your collection and use it as the backdrop. Or paint the wall a color that complements each piece of art. Just make sure it doesn’t upstage your gallery.

Take the time to choose a wall color that works with the collection of artwork or photos.

Take the time to choose a wall color that works with the collection of artwork or photos.

Create a focal point.

Galleries are rarely random arrangements. It takes a little planning to get just the right configuration. Plot out the layout on the floor before hanging the first picture. Select a photograph, print or painting as the center of the display. Position it at eye level. Place the other images around it and out from the center point.

Work the art from the center out from the focal point.

Work the art from the center out from the focal point.

Compile a vintage family album.

Current family photos are fine but a gallery wall will be much more interesting if you include photos of relatives from times gone by. Ask family members to contribute old photographs to your collection. If the images have tears or creases and need to be enlarged upload them to a photo center to digitally remove the imperfections and have them resized. If you have a scanner, photo editing software and printer you can tackle the job yourself.

Creating a vintage family gallery can span from previous decades to more recent images.

Creating a vintage family gallery can span from previous decades to more recent images.

Crop your photos artfully.

Careful cropping brings the important subject matter to the forefront and eliminates superfluous content. Before you make a commitment experiment by using four pieces of black construction paper to create the exact image you want to highlight.

Cropping photos give them a different aspect ratio and improves the overall composition.

Cropping photos give them a different aspect ratio and improves the overall composition.

Protect your walls and frames.

If you’re a renter consider using removable picture hangers to avoid having to fill dozens of wall holes before you move. If you’re still not crazy about creating a bunch of nail holes in your pristine dry wall use a straight pin or specially designed curved hangers that insert into the dry wall and leave a microscopic hole. Prevent damage to your frames and scuffs on the wall by applying felt disks on the backside of your pictures.

There are great ways to hang art without damaging your walls.

There are great ways to hang art without damaging your walls.

Gallery Quick Tips

How to Create Your Perfect Art Arrangement

1. Choose your style. Determine your aesthetic and make the gallery wall fit your decor and personality. Whether your home is traditional, eclectic or modern you need to follow the style, color palette and type of picture frames that coordinate with the room.

2. Plan the layout. Don’t grab the hammer and nails right away. It’s a good idea to plan the gallery arrangement before your start making random holes in the wall. Lay the artwork on the floor and choose your favorite piece as the center of attention then work the others around it.

3. Mock-up the gallery. Take the layout from the floor and recreate it on the wall. Trace the frames on craft paper, cut them out and tape each one onto the wall. Stand back and make any minor adjustments.

4. Hang it up. Here’s the last step to finish your gallery wall. Make a pencil mark on each paper mock-up for its nail location. Hammer one nail at a time, remove the paper and hang the picture in its proper place.

Once you've followed these four simple steps you'll end up with a perfect gallery wall.

Once you've followed these four simple steps you'll end up with a perfect gallery wall.

© 2019 Linda Chechar

Start a Conversation!

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on April 27, 2019:

Eman, gallery walls are so much fun and relatively easy to create.

Eman Abdallah Kamel from Egypt on April 27, 2019:

Thanks, Linda, for this informative and enjoyable reading article.

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on April 13, 2019:

Dianna, we've moved quite a lot and I hate to fill nail holes all over the walls in every room. Those removable picture hangers are fantastic. Thanks for reading this one!

Dianna Mendez on April 13, 2019:

Removable picture hangers are one of the best inventions yet! Wonderful article and so useful.