A gallery wall is a great way to add character to your space. It serves as a representation of you as the collector, as well as provides a unique focal point for the room in which it is situated.
This display method is also a great alternative to creating painted/wallpapered feature walls. It can be easily changed or added to over time, offering a much more personal take on a favoured design trend.
As with any feature, a successful gallery wall requires careful planning and precise execution. Read ahead to see how you can hit the nail on the head when it comes time to hang your own.
The great thing is, you don’t need a lot of space in order to create a gallery wall. As long as all pieces are relevant in size to the vacant wall on which you intend to hang them, then there should be no issue in curating a successful arrangement.
Think of it as though you are hanging a solo artwork, you would want it to feel appropriate within the space. If it is an expansive wall, then select larger pieces spaced further apart. Smaller spaces should utilise smaller artworks spaced close together, and potentially branch out vertically, rather than horizontally.
Collate and Collect
When collating your collection of desired prints, a good rule of thumb is to select artworks that are complementary, but that don’t necessarily match. It’s as much about creating a feeling as it is, making aesthetic decisions.
The most successful gallery walls are daring enough to mix mediums, such as illustrations, paintings, and graphic art. The juxtaposition of these mediums can bring the art out of the frame, to the display itself.
The display should feel collected, so don’t be afraid to add to it over time. Browse our online store for the latest limited-edition prints, or read our article on choosing the right prints for your space.
Grid vs Salon
There are two main ways a gallery wall can be hung: in a grid formation, or a salon. The former refers to a linear sequence, evenly spaced and in proportion to one another, while the latter refers to a more eclectic semblance of disproportionate sizing, spacing, and shapes.
A grid-like gallery wall is often well-suited to a grand space that observes clean lines and precise positionings. These spaces may include formal living areas or dining rooms.
A salon of artworks is better suited to an eclectic space, that has a more personal style or feel. Think bedrooms, lounge rooms and kitchens.
Size and Layout
For a proven ratio, go by this selection: one extra-large, two large, two medium and three small. The varying sizes create visual interest and depth, while also ensuring that the arrangement is well balanced.
You of course don’t need to follow these specifications, and can work with what you already have. Simply use it as a guide for achieving balance.
You may choose to have all artworks around the same size for a symmetrical look, or play with their orientations to utilise the negative space of your wall in an interesting way.
Taking the size of each piece into consideration, use the largest as the anchor. If your prints are all the same size, opt for the most visually complex as the centrepiece. Hang this piece at eye level.
The remaining artworks should be arranged around this focal point, and staggered. Lay your pieces out on the floor and shuffle them around until you have your desired arrangement. While the gallery wall doesn’t have to be symmetrical, there should be some attempt at balance.
Prep and Test
Once you have settled upon an arrangement, begin tracing around the outer edge of each piece on tracing paper, before cutting it out. It’s also a good idea to mark on the paper the spot where the hanger sits, as this will guide you as to where to hammer in the nail later on.
Using your floor arrangement as a guide, begin to place the tracing paper pieces on the wall with tape. Adjust to your desired spacing, using a measuring tape to ensure equal distance between each frame. If you’re unsure how far apart to space each print, two inches is typically a good length to go by.
For heavier pieces, ensure that you have nailed into a stud in the wall, as this is the most secure way to ensure your artwork doesn’t fall down or destroy the wall itself. A tip for finding a stud in the wall is to use the tap test. Listen for hollow and non-hollow sounds. The non-hollow sound indicates that there is stud behind the plaster. Devices such as a stud finder can be used for a more exact approach.
If your artwork weighs less than 10 kilograms, then this step may be unnecessary. Though it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Finally, hammer a nail into the spot that you marked on each piece of tracing paper, and then tear the paper away. Hang the artwork on its nail and adjust as needed. You shouldn’t need to alter the positioning of the nails too much, if at all, but it’s no big deal if you do.
Whether you’ve opted for an eclectic collective of portraits, or a crisp row of landscapes, your space will feel brand new with the addition of a gallery wall.