Connecticut in Style, a Connecticut-based lifestyle blog by Sarah O’Brien.
When I see a gorgeous gallery wall in an interior design magazine or in catalogs, I practically drool over them. To me, a thoughtfully installed gallery wall is a thing of beauty and can be a stunning feature in your home. Today, I will take you through the process I used to create this gallery wall. It is straightforward and simple to install once you know the secrets!
Let’s break it down. The first decision to make is where you want to install the gallery wall. Living room, nursery, office? The location of the gallery wall will necessarily dictate the style and color of the artwork. You need to carefully consider the wall color and other elements of the room such as fabric treatments and furniture. For a nursery, you’ll probably want smaller-scale whimsical images that complement the existing color scheme. For an entry-way, you may want to consider a uniform layout with identical frames that delivers a big impact but doesn’t feel distracting. The second step is deciding what you want to display. Is it artwork or photographs or both?
Here’s the first secret and it’s the most important one. You must have a common thread that ties the gallery wall together. The great news is that you only need one common thread, and it could be one of several things: artwork, style, medium, or frame color.
- Artwork and Photographs are the main foundation for any gallery wall. They should have something in common for the grouping to work. In my opinion, the color palette is the most practical place to start. If you read my blog, you know that I am a firm believer that when you stick to something you like, you slowly and quite often unknowingly, start collecting things that complement each other. I’ve realized that I am attracted to the same color combinations without being conscious about it. For example, I bought a summer dress while on holiday that has the exact same palette as my favorite piece of art (click here to see) and it didn’t even register with me until I got home and saw them together.Fine art takes a while to collect and many people use photos for a gallery wall which is a smart option. Photographs are such powerful images and have the ability to transport you back to a place and time. When considering your gallery wall, family photos are always nice to include. I do prefer to mix things up and add other photos to make it more interesting. For example, the gallery wall that I created contains images that inspires me; a photo of my children while on holiday in Jamaica, a motivational quote, a framed card from a friend, a photo of Marilyn Monroe (I’m a little obsessed with her), city plaques that mark the take-off city (New York) and landing city (Rome) when Kerry and I eloped, and a faux antelope head that makes me smile. Everything that I used has black, white or gold in it so it didn’t matter that the frames, art style or medium weren’t the same.
- If you need photos for your gallery wall, I’d recommend photos.com. Built on Getty Images’ exclusive collection, they have an unparalleled inventory of hundreds of images by world renown photographers. But, don’t be intimadated by sifting through all their photos because one of the great things about shopping at photos.com is the ability to set filters. They have set up categories so you can quickly search by color, subject matter, city, material, photographer, style and even by room – bedroom, kitchen, living room, office. I really like how they have taken the guesswork away and provided you their expert recommendations for which images are suitable for the room. The city images are especially incredible, I love this one of the Flatiron building at night. And, if there are any sports fans in your home, photos.com has you covered with images of some of the most memorable moments in sports throughout the years. Once you have selected a photo, you pick out a frame and photos.com renders an image of what the photo looks like in the different frames they offer. I like this feature because you can see exactly what it will look like before it arrives to make sure that it matches your decor. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, now’s a perfect time to think about giving a photo as a gift. As an added bonus, photos.com is having a sale, so it’s a great time buy! You can find the same image of Marilyn Monroe that I have, in addition to many other celebrity icons.
- Style. There must be something distinctive about the art style that is recognizable so that it can be put in the same category (modern, abstract, impressionism, etc.).
- Medium. A gallery wall can consist of other objects such as china plates or sculptures.
- Frame color. Ideally, the frames should all be the same color (black, white, silver, gold, etc.). The frames do not have to be the same size, but if they are, that’s fine too! I actually love gallery walls that consist of 9 identical square frames with similar artwork or photography. And, I equally love gallery walls that are a complete kaleidoscope of frames of all shapes and sizes.
Here’s the second secret. Conduct an inventory of the pieces that you want to use and collect them in the room where you will be installing the gallery wall. Search in your attic, basement and what’s currently hanging on your walls and bring everything together. Yes, I am encouraging you to take down photos from your walls if they will build your gallery wall (you’ll have to back fill it with something else).
The third secret is to find a layout that you like. Don’t worry about whether or not the pieces that you have will match the layout exactly, it’s more of a guide. When I found the layout that I liked (just Google “gallery wall layout ideas”) I printed it and compared it to the pieces that I had collected. After that, it was as simple as starting with the focal point (the round mirror) and following the layout by adding the pieces around the mirror.
The fourth secret is to make sure that you line up either the top or the bottom of the frames on the same horizontal line. In the photo above, you’ll notice that all the images in the second “row” are aligned at the top. They are not aligned at the bottom, but it still works. The final secret is to space the pieces so there is the same amount of wall space between each one. It took me a little over an hour to put this together and the only tools I used were a step stool, nails, a hammer and a level.
This is the gallery wall in a different perspective, the photo was taken in the mirror. It looked cool, so I included it.
Thanks to photos.com for sponsoring this post!
You can continue reading, or click here to read a blog post I did last year about tips for gallery walls. I wanted to include images of other gallery walls that I like, they all share at least one common characteristic that makes the collection feel cohesive.
This gallery wall uses beige, brown and black to tie it together. Note that the frames are not the same! The images complement the sofa with throw pillows in the same color scheme.
Completely unrelated images are brought together with a cobalt blue mat.
Shabby Chic living room with plates for a gallery wall.
Pink, gold and black. This gallery wall is adorable for Valentine’s Day!
Again with the plates, I like them when they are laid out as perfectly as this one. Turquoise is the common thread.
This is an utterly charming idea for a newlywed couple. All they needed to do was to add a few coordinating throw pillows to make a cohesive look.
Pinks, yellow and blue come together in this soft pretty palette.