5 Simple Steps To Create A Gallery Wall
A gallery wall is a perfect way to personalize your home, especially if you live in a rental.
The idea is simply to hang a collection of art, photographs, and other decorative objects together in a beautiful, artistic way.
When we moved into our apartment in Brooklyn, I knew I wanted to display art on this massive wall in our living room. The first thing I did was paint the wall a pretty light blue color. I initially found this image on Pinterest that served as the inspiration for the color.
After painting, the wall sat idle for months. Over a year, to be honest!
The size of the wall was intimidating. I had a few framed prints and things from my old place, but it wouldn’t be enough to fill the wall in a substantial way. So, I took my time and eventually found the pieces I wanted to incorporate.
But it wasn’t until my friend Dani of LVD Spaces shared with me this simple technique to use a spreadsheet to create a mock-up of the space, that I was able to full wrap my brain around it. The spreadsheet is a great tool because it requires no design background and allows you to make sure you’re getting the spacing right.
Because I’m a visual person, I then created another mock-up using photos of the actual art so that I could play with the pieces until I got the look I wanted.
It ended up being a super-fun and fulfilling experience. I love that I was able to drag the pieces around to test out the look and even try adding new pieces in before buying them.
Now that the wall is complete, it’s made more of an impact than I could have imagined. Every time I walk into my home, it makes me smile. I can’t wait to keep adding pieces, like photos from new trips we take, or new paintings I create.
Check out our video and complete how-to with lots more tips below. I hope you’ll feel inspired to create your own gallery wall next!
You can use a variety of objects and art on your gallery wall. Consider paintings, framed prints, photographs, plants, mirrors, and other 3D objects like a clock or other decorative piece.
Measure your wall space, all of the pieces you’d like to hang, and any other objects that will be part of or near the gallery wall, such as a TV or couch.
Here’s the trick that our resident DIY expert Dani of LVD Spaces showed me: You can use a spreadsheet to create a mock-up of your wall space and art, using real measurements so you can get the spacing right.
Start by first making an ‘inventory list’ of all of your pieces and corresponding measurements. Each square is going to represent 1 inch x 1 inch, so you’ll adjust the square in size so that you can fit the total length and width (in inches) of your wall into the spreadsheet,
Next you will create shapes based on the measurements from your inventory list, color-coding them so you know what’s what. Draw in the borders of your wall space and start moving the shapes into the wall. Include some kind of anchor, in our case we used the TV, so you can measure the art from that point later during the install. If the wall is blank, you can use the floor or an outlet.
After creating your spreadsheet, you can use any design program (I used Canva which is free and very intuitive but you could also use Photoshop or even Powerpoint) to make a more visual layout of your gallery wall.
You can take photos of your art and then just re-create the same layout (roughly) depicted in your spreadsheet. This step was crucial for me as I needed to see the actual art to see how I wanted it to work together. You can drag the pieces around until you get a look you like. Then you can go back into your spreadsheet and adjust the shapes to make sure it works with the exact measurements.
I called in a professional to hang these pieces since the wall is so high, but you can easily do this yourself since you have all of the exact measurements. I simply printed out the Canva design and wrote in the spacing/coordinates so that the pro could reference it. Still, it’s a good idea to have your spreadsheet handy while the art is being hung, in case you want to shift anything as you see it in action.
Enjoy your beautiful new gallery wall!
If you don’t know where to start, consider beginning with the largest, most striking piece and building from that. For us, this huge clock we received as an engagement gift was the starting point.
Large art pieces can get expensive, so that’s why I decided to create my own. Additionally, because canvases come in so many different shapes and sizes, you can find/create pieces in the exact sizes you need to fill any spaces in your wall. And even if you’ve never picked up a paintbrush before, you can totally do this! You can keep it really simple for a minimal look. Don’t be afraid to copy something with simple shapes on Pinterest, using stencils or artist’s tape to get clean lines. You can even paint a canvas in a single color, like I did. The black one that I did has more texture, but the tan one is completely plain. I think I’ll paint more on this one, but I honestly like how it looks as-is, too!
Dani also suggests using these adhesive hanging strips if you’re concerned about wall damage. Because they adhere the art to the wall, they also prevent it from moving around so you won’t be constantly having to straighten it. You can also move them around if you choose. I opted to hang my art traditionally, however, since I put up canvases that I already know I’ll need to take down since I want to do some more painting.
Depending on the size of your wall, you’ll likely want to leave 2 to 5 inches between each piece.
Once I created the look of my wall in Canva, it was easy to see I needed more art. Rather than buying things and trying to make them fit, I was able to test out pieces I found online before purchasing.
Consider photographs that tell a story about who you are. We have prints and images of things I love, like plants, the ocean, and the little buddhas. I also included photos I took from all of the trips my fiancé Jared and I have been on together. CB2 carries these great matted frames which saves money on custom framing, so you can add your own printed photographs and art, easily changing pieces out in the future.
It’s great to mix it all up but you’ll want to keep some things consistent. For instance, consider keeping photography in black and white, or using frames in the same color family. I personally like frames that mix and match, and the benefit of using the process above is that you can make sure you like the look before you commit.