Tips & Tricks: Wall Galleries

When it comes to artwork, I am rich.  Not to mean that I own a Picasso, but I do have enough artwork to hang in my place and in another.  In fact, I have stored some of my art until the day I decide to get a bigger place or add on to my own home.

Since I have a wide range of stuff and want to showcase as much of it as possible without it being overwhelming, I create focal walls throughout my house.  In my opinion, this is an art, in and of itself.  

Here are my top 10 pointers for creating wall galleries, based on years of experience (and lots of nail holes).  

1.  Think outside the box.
While you can use the same color frames and mats, this is not necessary.  In fact, I find that a gallery wall has more interest when you aren't afraid to mix it up.  Why not throw in some texture - empty frames, vintage marquee letters, mounted antlers, mirrors, etc.  Look at everything as if it is art and find what inspires you the most.

2.  Low budget can still make an impact.
If you are finding you can't afford tons of art right now, look on etsy for some inexpensive, yet cute, options.  Just because it is a print, doesn't mean it isn't art.  Another option is to print out some of your favorite instagram images or have your photos printed in b&w.  Hang them up using washi tape.  It will fill in the gaps nicely and saves you on the framing cost.  Plus, you get to change it up frequently without having to reach for the touch up paint.


3.  Start with your largest piece.
Whether you place your largest piece in the middle, off centered or far left - be sure to place it first and build from there.  

4.  Determine your artwork prior to hanging.
It may sound like common sense, but you can't create a gallery wall if you don't know what you are working with from the get-go.  You can hang as you obtain artwork, but be prepared for a few holes.  

5.  Color balance is key.
Say you have tons of white frames and a few black frames within your gallery.  What you don't want is all your white frames in one corner and all your black frames in the other.  Equally disperse the artwork throughout the wall.  Same goes for the separating artwork with similar colors or styles - spread the love rather than keep them all in the same area. 

6.  Have some symmetry.
While you can make this your own, you still want to have things in balance.  You don't want some random picture hanging out way up high all by its lonesome, nor do you want one out in left field with no other pictures to keep it company.  You don't need everything to be even or centered, but you should have it feel balanced.  It is good "chi" for you and your wall. 

7.  Watch your negative space.   
You want an appropriate amount of space between pictures, but not too much.  It will end up looking like you got started on the gallery wall and stopped short (unless you are Frank Castanza, this is not a good move).  Be sure to look at your hung art from different angels, because sometimes the negative space disappears when standing at an angle.  No bueno.  You want the art work to look good no matter where you are in the room.  If some of the art appears too close, then it is too close.  If you want things to be tight and together, with as little negative space as possible, then just remember to keep things consistent so it doesn't look like it was done in error.

8.  Have a gameplan.
When you have decided on what artwork to use, lay it out on the floor in front of you.  Play around until you have something that works.  Keep in mind that it will never look exactly the same on the floor as it does on the wall.  Take a picture of it, sketch it out on paper, even measure for accuracy.  It won't matter.  You will save yourself some time if you take my word for it.    
9. There is no foolproof way to hang gallery wall art.
Your nails, pictures hooks and artwork threw a party and failed to invite their dear friend, human error.  It doesn't matter - he showed up and trashed the place anyways.  Sure you can try the butcher paper trick floating around Pinterest, but it is not fool proof.  Plus, there is always the possibility that you will change your mind once the art is actually hanging on the wall (that's me).  The closest you will get is to enlist the help of another - one holds the art while the other marks the nail placement on the wall with a pencil.  I recently hung some artwork and make a gazillion holes, but I was about to repaint the entire room so I could justify my actions.  Usually this is not the case, so find yourself a gallery wall hanging partner in crime then get to it.  
10.  Quick fix for keeping things straight.
If you find that there is a pesky frame that always looks crooked, then try placing a tiny bit of sticky tack on the back bottom.  Just be sure you can't see the sticky tack to avoid looking, well, tacky.

Now these are just my own personal "rules", and it won't hurt my feelings if you have your own process you follow.  However, if I had a dollar for every nail hole I've filled from the numerous galleries I've done over the years, I'd be able to buy that aforementioned Picasso.

So, what do you think of wall galleries?  Love it or not your cup of tea?

VIA:  all images found via Pinterest by searching "wall galleries" 

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