The Gallery Wall: 5 rules to remember for a smashing wall display

Today I’m sharing some actionable tips on hanging a beautiful gallery wall. Do not let your favorite pictures remain un-hung, my friends. Hang those pictures on your walls, and add a pop of your own personality, and family memories with a gallery!

Do you have an empty wall, or a room that needs some attention, and warmth? This post is for YOU.

Jen’s Gallery Wall Story:

Jen wanted to hang all her special family photos on her dining room wall. She wasn’t sure how to get started, and so she entrusted Novo Decor to the task! It was a pleasure seeing all her beautiful photos, and pulling them together in such a fun display of memories:

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Upon first glance, the task of hanging all these pictures might seem daunting, but it’s really not!

Once Jen chose her photos, we decided which ones needed enlarging. She wanted an “antique” look, and we agreed that having all her photos printed in black and white would accomplish that goal. Then, I took all her photos, and began the search for mats and frames.

Jen has this great antique buffet just below her gallery. I added a few touches to the buffet surface. It totally to completes the look!

Jen has this great antique buffet just below her gallery. I added a few touches to the buffet surface. It totally to completes the look!

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Beginner Gallery Wall Hanger? Use these strategies!

If you are a beginner gallery wall hanger, you may want a specific plan for how your photos will be laid out on your wall. Use your floor, and practice arranging the photos in an arrangement you like. Once you find an arrangement you like, take a picture of it! This will guide you as you hang your pictures.

Wait, what? Hang a whole gallery with just a picture to refer to?

If the strategy above freaks you out a little (or a lot) check out these step-by-step guides I’ve created for you!

My fool-proof no-measure method for hanging a gallery wall

A Simple Method for hanging a Gallery Wall

I have a gallery wall hanging method, but now what?

Intermediate or Advanced Gallery Wall Hanger? Use caution!

If you’ve done this before, you might be comfortable “eye-balling” your wall as you start hanging your pictures. This is a bit risky. If you do it this way, make sure you measure your wall, and know the size of wall space you are working with/will be covering with your gallery.

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Even if you are not measuring specifically between pictures and are “eye-balling” those distances as you hang your pictures, you will still want to ensure that your gallery is centered on your wall. To ensure that it is centered, start by marking the center of your wall space. Then determine how far out, left/right, top/bottom, your gallery pictures will be hung.

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When I am hanging a gallery, I look at the wall space, and determine how high/low, and how far to the left/right my gallery will span on the wall. I always start from the center of that space, and work my way out, making sure to maintain the same distances (distance between pictures, distance from the left boundary of wall to the far left picture, distance from the right boundary of the wall to the picture farthest on the right, etc.)

If you don’t start with a general idea of the size of your space, and how high/far out to left/right you want your pictures to hang, you may end up with a lopsided picture gallery.

In the picture below, you can see I started with four 8x10 frames in the center. I worked off of those, making my way to the sides, and up/down. You can also see that the distance between the far left picture, and the far right picture, to the door trim, is the same.

It’s OK that the floral arrangement is in front of a couple photos. Plants and floral arrangements add so much warmth and depth to any space. The vase is sitting far enough away from the wall, that it does not entirely block anyone’s view of those pictures behind it. This makes people stand close to view the photos!

It’s OK that the floral arrangement is in front of a couple photos. Plants and floral arrangements add so much warmth and depth to any space. The vase is sitting far enough away from the wall, that it does not entirely block anyone’s view of those pictures behind it. This makes people stand close to view the photos!

When you are ready to begin hanging your gallery, remember these basic tips to get off to a strong start!

5 RULES TO REMEMBER FOR YOUR SMASHING GALLERY WALL

  1. Use pictures of different sizes, frames of different sizes, and mats of different sizes.

    In this gallery, I used a number of 8x10 frames with and without mats, 5x7 frames with and without mats, and some 4x6 frames with and without mats. I also used some GREAT smaller frames with beautifully intricate frames for Jen’s smaller photos.

  2. Scatter the different size frames all over your wall.

    Don’t worry about keeping the same size photos near each other, though you can certainly do this if you wish. In this gallery, I hung the four 8x10 frames at the center. These served as my starting point to work off of. From that point, I didn’t have a system as to what sizes were hung next. I did always make sure to keep the distances between pictures the same (see above rule!)

  3. Different frames, similar mats (Or, similar frames, different (or similiar) mats)

    In this gallery, you can see the frames are very different. They are gold, silver, wooden, and painted. One or two even have subtle pattern on them. The mats are all cream, or light colored.

    Having different frames is a good thing, and creates a fun eclectic look. To achieve this look successfully, try to pull in colors from your room, and also add some metallic frames as well. Frames that are “chunky” are best for galleries simply because they are pretty to look at, and create visual interest.

    If you do this, the mats should be similar so as not to “confuse” the eye.

    If you prefer a more uniform look, you can choose to have all the same frames. If this is the route you choose, I would suggest using similar color mats across all your pictures. Another option with frames that are the same, would be to incorporate 3-4 different color mats, or even 1-2 colors. Using mat colors that coincide with the current color scheme of the room is suggested, but not always necessary!

  4. Hang pictures at different heights, and configurations, and hang them the same distance from each other

    Keep your pictures within the same distance from each other, so there are no random larger gaps between pictures. Random larger gaps make it appear as if there is a picture missing. In this gallery I hung the pictures about 2 to 2.5 inches apart from one another. If the distance between your pictures isn’t exactly the same, i wouldn’t worry about that. A few millimeters off isn’t a big deal to the human eye.

    Can you tell that not all these pictures in the photo above are hung EXACTLY the same distance from each other? Spoiler: they aren’t! Lol. Again, same general ballpark distance is what you’re going for.

  5. Add non-photo pieces to your wall

    These non-photo items might include a wall sconce, clock, signage, metal accent piece, or even a special napkin, or hanker-chief that you can frame, or put in a shadow box. In this gallery, I added a fun red metal flower, which ties in with the red rug in the room. I also added a “family” sign (in a frame!) at the very top. Making it was a challenge…..I made it by printing the word “family” on my computer in a plain font, and simply framed it. Easy, right?

    Gallery walls are wonderful for so many reasons! They are definitely conversation pieces in any home, and they showcase all the people (and things!) you love. Get out those old photos and think about how you might display them with other wall accessories in your home. You’d be surprised how your room will instantly change vibes once you’ve got your “smashing” gallery wall hung.

If you’re like Jen, and would love a gallery but don’t want to tackle it yourself, I’d love to help. Contact me below, and I’ll get back to you!!! Don’t keep the memories in boxes…..display them!!!