How to Create a Gallery Wall


There are few things that are as perfect as a well-appointed gallery wall. No wonder it’s an interior designer’s go-to solution. A gallery wall provides the ability to create a flexible and customizable narrative that can be added to and improved on over time.

Gallery walls instantly add a sense of style and sophistication to a home and are the perfect way to bring in color, shape, and form. It’s also not as simple as choosing a few pieces of art and randomly clustering them together. There is a real art to curating a collection that works.

Gallery walls are also increasing in popularity and have become a huge hit on Instagram.

“There are few design elements more photogenic than a well-hung gallery wall. It should come as little surprise, then, that so many of our favorite designers take to Instagram to show off the salon-style hangings they create for their clients and themselves. Those outside the design community have taken note, too: Search #gallerywall on Instagram and more than 130,000 posts appear, showcasing the broad range of this style. From professional prints in matching matted frames hung in a perfect grid to eclectic arrangements of art, objets, and other ephemera crawling up a patterned wall, the look has near-infinite room for interpretation.” ~ Architectural Digest

Here is a step by step guide for transforming your wall into a personal gallery that compliments your space while telling an authentic story.
Image courtesy of: Architectural Digest

6 Steps on How to Create a Gallery Wall

1. Choose Your Style

The first step in a gallery wall design is to choose your style. We all have varied tastes and it’s important to consider the artwork you’d like to display that represents your personality and style.

Are you looking for artwork that has a kaleidoscope of color that will add energy to your space, or a sophisticated arrangement of soft and subtle hues? A trick of the trade is to choose a single hue in varying tones that tie a whole room together. A favorite color can serve as a common thread throughout the entire gallery wall. You can also create the same cohesive look with saturations that include both soft and bright colors. The key to designing a composed gallery wall is finding the right balance of artwork, framing, and spacing between the elements.

I recently created two gallery walls for two separate clients. I started the process by presenting several images of artwork to them to get a feel for what they were drawn to. Once I had a clear understanding of what they envisioned their gallery wall to be, we chose one large-scale piece that would set the foundation for the other pieces. It made it easy to source artwork with a common palette, as well as served to create a strong visual focal point to build out from.

Here are the items that have been purchased that we will be using for one of the client’s gallery walls. We started with Lorraine Christie’s ‘My Complex Heart Print’ as the client wanted a print with umbrellas that brought in warm shades of tan, white, black, red and orange. Her home has a neutral palette and the gallery wall brings in vibrant bursts of color. We began to layer in additional prints in various sizes to provide a ‘collected over time’ appeal. The images are watermarked as I saved them directly from the website they were purchased from.  Underneath the images, there are links to each item shown. I wanted to introduce both complex and simple designs, as well as bring in organic and earthy prints. This will be placed above a large sectional in a similar shade as the umbrella. We will be pulling out other colors from the prints into items such as pillows and throws, vases etc. I’ll be adding photographs of the finished project once the art is framed and installed.  Be sure to bookmark this page if you are interested in seeing the final results of both projects.

How to Arrange Pictures on a Wall in Groups

Consider whether you want to add vintage family photos, line drawings, maps, mirrors or 3D pieces. A unified aesthetic is essential, and you want to ensure that there is cohesion between the pieces and that they complement each other in some form.

At this point, if you are planning on purchasing wall art online, it’s a good time to start browsing for potential pieces you’d like to integrate. It’s a fun brainstorming process where you can be creative and slowly put together items on your wish list.

Once you’ve determined the type of artwork you’d like to incorporate, it’s time to start thinking about the layout that appeals to you most as well as the what items would go best with the size and shape of your wall.

2.  Choose the Layout

The presentation of the artwork defines the overall feel. There is beauty both in a well-organized and streamlined format, as well as in a random and eclectic placement of the art.

Pottery Barn has six styles that they recommend for setting up a gallery wall – which ranges from a simple grid to a staircase style. I thought I’d include them in this article, as it’s a great starting point.

Gallery Wall 1

Centered Gallery Wall: Center the two frames in the middle, then align the left and right sides with one another to create this balanced display. Shown here are two centered 8″ x 10″ with six 5′ x 7’s.

Gallery Wall 2

Spiral Gallery Wall: Start with a center frame and spiral out the rest of your frames from there. Shown here is an 8″x10″ in the center, four sets of three  4″x6″ on the corners with four 5’x5″ squares arranged in between.

Gallery Wall 3

Outer Align Gallery Wall: You’ll want to make sure all of the outer frames are aligned for this layout. Note that the center frames will meet slightly closer together at the right and left sides.

Gallery Wall 4

Reflection Gallery Wall: Create order out of chaos with this arrangement! Don’t worry about arranging by size — when everything’s matched up and aligned at the center, the display makes perfect sense.

Gallery Wall 5

Staircase Gallery Wall: Staircase gallery walls require a slightly different approach. Hang your frames following the same upward angle of the staircase.

Gallery Wall 6

Nine Square Gallery Wall: Don’t dismiss the simple grid. It’s a basic arrangement, but it makes a big impact!

3. Consider Framing Options

With images that have a similar tone such as a series of black and white artwork or a collection of drawings, it’s a good idea to mix up the size and finish of the frames. If the pieces vary greatly in color or scale, consider matching the matting and frames.

Another trick of the trade is to display the artwork in an odd number of pieces, such as a collection of three or nine when using a grid format. Many of the online art websites that sell art have a built-in option where you can view artwork in a number of frames of varying sizes and styles.

Frames should never be considered as an afterthought as they set the stage for the art and are an important part of the design process. Whether it’s modern frames with a graphic edge or vintage – they are part of the overall look and greatly impact the mood of the piece.

4. Purchase the Artwork

At this point, you should have a good idea of the overall look you’d like to achieve. This is the most difficult part as there are so many choices available, and it can be hard knowing what artwork would work best together.

There are a few different options available. As I mentioned earlier, I begin by choosing a large scale piece. I prefer to shop online as I feel it provides the best opportunity to source exactly what I am looking for. I start with one initial piece that sets the tone and expands from there.

I also save multiple images of the art that I’ve selected and viewed them together in Adobe Photoshop. This is the process I use to choose items that I know will compliment each other.

Another easier method is to purchase art from websites that have an art gallery app or offer free art gallery curation services. Here are a few of my top choices:

Minted connects you with the best independent artists and have an endless supply of fresh and unique art. You can shop from fine art prints to commissioned original art.

What I like best about Minted is that the prices for both prints and framing are very reasonable. They have a feature where you can view the print with or without a mat as well as different frame styles.

The best part is that if you take a photo of your wall and text the image to 415-993-WALL (9255), a Minted stylist will text you back art recommendations that perfectly fit your space for free.

Artfully Walls
Artfully Walls is a highly curated online shopping destination with artists that are hand-picked by their team. Styled walls are compositions of the works they sell, created by designers.

Gallery Wall Ideas

Each styled wall has a unique look and feel, that depends on the art included, frames used, and wall backgrounds selected – every user can find the right styled wall to match any decor style and room in their house.

Styled walls can be purchased in their entirety, or users can decide to purchase only specific works that are featured on the wall.

What I like best about Artfully Walls is that they’ve taken the guesswork out of curating a gallery wall. Their gallery style collections range from traditional to modern, eclectic, beach house, Hollywood glam, bohemian, romantic, contemporary and cottage. They also provide a grid with hanging instructions that you can download as a PDF.

Artfully Walls also has a ‘Design Your Wall’ feature where you can choose your artwork to see what works together, as well as move it around a ‘wall’ to find the best placement. A brilliant idea!

Pottery Barn
Pottery Barn has a wide variety of prints and wall art that work well together. If you are looking to add other items to your gallery walls, such as mirrors or basket wall art – they have a great selection.

What I like about Pottery Barn is that if you click on ‘All Art’, there is a link provided to ‘Gallery Walls.’ Here they have a large curated selection of gallery walls that work beautifully together, from inked series prints to Japanese textile canvases to Bohème wood panel framed prints.

Framebridge offers exceptional custom framing for photos, art and more – starting at $39.00. You simply select a frame style, upload a digital file (or they can send you a free prepaid mailer), and your frame will be built in 2-5 days and shipped for free. You can also choose one of their picture-perfect gallery wall layouts and upload your photos. They’ll custom frame them and ship everything (including a life-size hanging guide!) to your door, ready to hang. has a large selection of artwork, as well as a handy app that makes organizing a gallery wall extremely easy. This gallery wall designer allows you to reimagine your wall with augmented reality. Here is the link to the app if you’d like to check it out.

I haven’t tried it myself, but love the idea of being able to take a photo of a wall and add artwork to the correct scale to visualize the final look.

It’s important to check into the shipping costs involved. I have ordered framed prints when making small purchases. With a large volume, I have the prints shipped in tubes and have them framed locally. I like to do this especially when I am wanting to create a truly unique gallery wall with different matting or frames. It provides the ability to be able to view everything in person to perfectly match matt, frame color, and style.

5. Do a Mock Trial

Once you find a floor arrangement that you like, cut out the sizes and shapes of items that you will be adding to the wall. Simply lay each frame (or wall art) on top of the paper, trace it and cut it out. Brown craft paper or tissue paper work great.

The next step is to tape the pieces to the wall with painter’s tape to see if your composition is placed properly and will look good on the wall. Check to see it is grouped around furniture nearby in a visually pleasing way? Is it set at the right height? Does it fill the space appropriately?

Be sure to be precise with spacing on all sides of the artwork, using a ruler or measuring tape. Grab a level to make sure everything is straight. All of this serves to diminish unwanted nail holes.

6. Get Ready to Hammer

Once your display is complete, it’s time to determine where the picture wire hits the back of each frame when taut. This defines where your hanger should go. Nail picture hangers through the cut-outs in the correct place, and then gently remove the cutouts and replace with a frame.

Take a step back occasionally to see how it’s working together. Be sure to straighten and level frames during the process. You can use sticky tack on the back of frames to ensure they stay in position.

The best part is that gallery walls are made to grow! As you discover additional pieces you’d like to add, you can simply incorporate them into what you have already created.

Beautiful Gallery Walls on Instagram

Long weekend vibes. Hope it’s a lovely one for our fellow Canadians. ??

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green ? is the new black▪️

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Gallery Walls, Frames & Art

I hope you have found these tips on how to create a gallery wall helpful!
by the Editor & Interior Designer for Buyer Select: Tracy Svendsen



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How to Create a Gallery Wall
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How to Create a Gallery Wall
Gallery walls instantly add a sense of style and sophistication to a home and are the perfect way to bring in color, shape, and form. It’s also not as simple as choosing a few pieces of art and randomly clustering them together. There is a real art to curating a collection that works.
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