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:


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!


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.


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.


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!


  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!!!

Gallery wall: REVEAL

Happy Friday!  This week kicked off the series "Home decorating projects: Get Them Done" with a focus on that annoying empty wall (and how to fill it!) If you saw this week's posts, I really hope you learned a tip or two, and are inspired to try a gallery wall!  If you missed those posts, no can see them HERE, HERE, and HERE

Today we're seeing the final reveal of a gallery wall I created for a customer (and friend, and my son's teacher a couple years back!).  Brenda had a home project on her to-do list for quite a while. She wanted to create a wall of family photos.  

But, her dilemma time to tackle it, and uncertainty about how to begin.  

Brenda found a solution.  She contacted me to make it happen for her.....and I was thrilled to jump in.  As you might have guessed, gallery walls are a favorite home design element of mine! Love doing them.      

Today, Brenda can officially check this task OFF her list and enjoy her new gallery wall.  


Step 1:  Consultation & Planning

The process began with a home visit with Brenda.  This allowed me to see her color scheme and decor style.  We talked about ideas for colors, frame style, as well as possibilities for a sign to go in the collection (like "family" or "blessings")  I drafted up 4 different gallery wall lay-outs, and she chose this one:

Step 2:  Preparation

Brenda's job:  Gather 10 photos,  based on sizes I recommended.  Brenda went with six horizontal 5x7 photos, and four 8x10 photos (2 horizontal, 2 vertical).  

My job:  Design the lay-out, obtain and customize the frames.  Incorporating 10 different picture frames and a hand-made sign that was consistent with Brenda's style was the key objective.   She was open to color, and a mix of frames, which is great because that is what makes a gallery wall stand out.  Here's a look at the preparation.....

Step 3: Finalize lay-out

I used a simple and convenient method for determining the gallery arrangement. .  You can view that tutorial HERE if you like!  

Here's what that process looked like: 

The photo above was posted to Facebook via Instagram....and Brenda commented, "LOVING these frames. I hope they are mine!".    Music to my ears.  Install day was around the corner....

STEP #4:  Install the gallery 

And the best part.....FINAL REVEAL DAY!.......  

Color, natural textures (wood), and neutrals were incorporated into this gallery, complimenting what Brenda already had going on in the room.  At the same time, the mix visually enhances her space.  It looks great and will be the first thing anyone sees upon entering the front door.  

Brenda loves her new wall.....and here's what she had to say about it....

Your decorating endeavors can be EASY, HASSLE FREE, FUN, and INSPIRING!  Above all, they should be a reflection of who YOU are.  I'd love to help you create your beautiful, "hand-made" and resourceful home! 

THANK YOU so much for tuning in this week!  I had a blast sharing tips with you on how to accessorize your empty wall!  Join me in saying GOOD-BYE to those boring empty walls, and HELLO to gallery walls!  



The Man Wall: Make a statement gallery wall with your "man" decor

Hi!   For those of you tuning in for the first time, WELCOME to Novo Decor!  I am so glad you are here.  This is my blog, where you will find information and inspiration for your home decorating endeavors!  

This week kicks off the "Get it Done" series; a series to jump start your home decorating projects that you've longed to tackle (forever!)  Been there?  I sure have.  This week our topic is empty walls, and how to fill them.  Whether you're married, single, living alone, sharing an abode with someone, a man, a woman, or small mammal, this post is for you.  

Maybe you can relate in some way, shape, or form......

I asked some of those same questions, before we found our solution..... 

Karl (my husband), has a number of "man" decor items which happen to be sports-related.   Each piece at one time or another has made an appearance in all 3 houses we've lived in over the past 15 years.  While I do have an appreciation for his things, I always struggled with where to put it all.  How could I combine all that "stuff" with "my" pretty accessories?  Despite his occasional plea to hang the Muhammad Ali/Sonny Liston picture above our mantle (which did end up there once, in fact), we finally figured out a great solution:  

A Gallery Wall  

Get out that "man" stuff (anything from sports memorabilia, or hobby collections, to any other "man" decor-related items), because today we're going "gallery-style" with your great "stuff".  

What's a gallery wall?  It's a collection of "things" you love, that are displayed together on the wall.  So, dig through your boxes and take a trip down memory lane, because you're going to learn to display all those "man" things you love! 

Here's how: 

1.  Gather the items (framed items, pictures, old score cards, letters, autographs, cool brochures from your ventures in the Outback, maybe even smaller equipment like a glove, or tennis racquet.     Go find it!    Anything goes at this point. 

2.  Find a wall in your house that works for your items.  (you may want to designate a separate room, if your space allows!).  If you share an abode with someone, I recommend agreeing on location before Hank Aaron, or Fabio ends up on the wall of the sanctuary of your master bedroom, or your "man cave".  Wow, I totally just used Fabio as an example.  Not sure where that came from, but I find it hilarious!

2.  Decide which items are "keepers" for the wall, and which to omit.  Begin trial and error with different arrangements of the items.  (see yesterday's post: Method for hanging a gallery wall HERE)

3.  Place frame-able items in frames (like the autographs, letters, old pictures, etc.).  While you'll have a variety of different items in your gallery, you still want to maintain some sort of cohesion and sense of completeness. Frames help achieve that. 

4.  If you have equipment to display, consider a small shelf as part of your gallery. it's OK to combine framed items, and objects in your gallery.  Or, hang the pieces directly on the wall (like the tennis racquets below).  By the way, those racquets are NOT Karl's childhood racquets. I thought it would be fun to throw them into the mix. 

5.  Hang your Gallery!  (See this step by step method HERE)

SUMMARY and additional TIPS: 

In this week's earlier posts I talked quite a bit about the "no rule", rule.   (see those posts HERE and HERE). When it comes to displaying the things you love, it's all about trial and error.  When you get it right, your eye will tell you.  And if you don't, your eye will know that too.  Just keep swimming!

And, did you know......

that displaying items together makes a bigger impact than scattering them all over the place? With a "man wall" in our house, it really does make a statement and tells a story.  Now, we no longer have to discuss who's going on the mantle, or think about how to combine our decor.  And, every time we're downstairs in our basement (on the treadmill, which I'm on for roughly an hour a kidding, or playing with the kids), we see the "man" wall.  And a great "man wall" it is.   

So, what do you think? Do you see a "man wall" in the future of your home?  Have some fun with it! 

As always, I'm here to help!  I can get your started, provide suggestions for your particular living space, find the frames and other items to pull together your wall, AND..........(drum roll).....I can even install your gallery for you.     

Don't miss tomorrow's REVEAL of Brenda's new wall gallery!!!! 

See more decorating tips in related posts below: 




My fool-proof, no-measure method for hanging a Gallery Wall

This week we're covering those all too familiar empty walls, and how to accessorize them with galleries.  I shared tips and tricks for accessorizing your wall in yesterday's post. If you missed that you can see it HERE. 

We've all had that huge empty wall somewhere in our home, at one point or another.  Today we're diving in to the meat and potatoes of hanging your gallery.....but be sure and tune in all week for more on wall accessorizing....with a fun customer REVEAL on Friday!!! 

I bet you didn't know that gallery walls can be done without even measuring.  Well, they certainly can friends!  And, you're learning how

My simple, fool-proof, (no measure!) method for hanging your gallery wall   

1.  Grab some old wrapping paper you won't use.  Wrinkled and bent is OK.   

2.  Cut the paper the same size as the wall area where you want your gallery.   

3.  Get the items you want to hang and start placing them on the paper in different locations.  Do this until you get the arrangement you like.  

4.  Take a picture of your arrangement ( You will need this later!). 

4.  Put pen marks on the paper where the picture hangers are for each picture/piece.  (like you would if you were marking the wall for your nail holes).  These marks are where your nail will go when you are ready to start hammering.  

5.  Place the paper against the wall and tape all four corners to secure it in place.  

6.  Grab your hammer and start hammering your nails into the pen marks.

7.  Remove the paper from the wall and starting hanging your pictures.  This is where your  photo comes want to remember what your arrangement was.  Huge time saver! 

That's it!  Seven easy steps to completing your wall.  And no numerical problem solving/tape measure AT. ALL.  Who doesn't love that part?   And remember, gallery walls are temporary!  If you don't like what you see, then re-arrange until you're happy with it.  And, you can change them as often as you like; taking out things you're bored with and replacing with "new" items.  

Here are two gallery walls hung using the wrapping paper method:

Next time you notice that huge empty wall in your house, consider a gallery wall!  And don't let the task intimidate you.  There are no rules.  It's your home, and your story.  So, get out those great pictures and memories packed away in storage, think outside the box with the items you choose, and display it all for an awesome, eye-catching wall!  You won't regret it! 

Coming up tomorrow.....the "Man Wall".   Is there a man in your life with tons of sports memorabilia like pictures, autographs, and other wall-worthy sports memories?  Then don't miss tomorrow's post!  Get ideas for displaying that "stuff" gallery-style! 

Not sure how to pull your gallery together on that HUGE wall of yours?  I'd love to help......



Get It Done: Week #1- Accessorize your empty wall

Welcome to "Home Decorating Projects: Get it Done".  Today kicks off a four week series about home projects that we so desperately want to get done, but just NEVER do (or don't know how!).  It happens to us all, for a variety of reasons. Well, get ready to break out of the rut! Each week I will feature a different home decorating project, with a final REVEAL post on Friday.  The objective?  To inspire and motivate you to start those projects you've been putting off and GET THEM DONE!  If your project is more than you can handle, I feel your pain.....and I can take care of it for you.

Are you with me?  Let's get it done people! 

Week #1:  Tackling your empty wall (with a Gallery Wall)

You know that gigantic empty wall in your home that you have no idea how to fill?  You walk past it and shutter because It has stumped you since the day you moved in.  Yes, that wall. Good-bye empty wall, hello wonderfully accessorized wall!  

This week's story: problem & solution

Brenda, a new customer of mine, had an idea for accessorizing a large wall in her living room (family photo gallery).  But, she had a couple problems:  

1.  She didn't have the time to get it done, and

2. She wasn't sure where or how to start.  

Her solution:  She contacted me, we met to discuss her wall, and a plan for her gallery wall was born.  Soon, Brenda can officially check this home decorating project OFF her list!  (See Brenda's finished gallery wall on Friday!).  

Gallery Walls

Gallery walls are collections of items that when hung strategically, can beautifully tell your story and create visual interest.  They can be simple, complex, and anything in between! 

Below is an example of unlike items that when displayed together, make an impact. This is a mix of color, texture, and meaningful family photos. The wall is even functional with a chalkboard for leaving fun love notes: 

Getting started with your gallery wall

1.  Explore your home, in search of that very bare, sad wall.  Or, maybe you know the exact wall that screams for attention.  That's great.   Start there..... 

How's this for an empty wall? 

How's this for an empty wall? 

2.  Visualize that wall fully accessorized.  What types of things would you love to see hanging on that wall? Do you have photos you've never framed?  Do you have old pictures or memories not being displayed?  A set of really cute kitchen towels you love too much to actually use? Throw them in frames!  Anything you can hang on a wall is fair game.  

Preparing for your gallery wall

3.  Find your items: Mix the old with the new.  

4.  Once you've gathered the items you like, love, and even the ones you don't like/love, play around with different arrangements of those items. You might discover you like these items even better when TOGETHER, and you'll know which ones need to be omitted. 

The example below is one of my favorites.  It is a collection of larger art pieces that my parents have purchased over the years.  They decided to hang all four of them in this eye-catching arrangement.  Best of all, each picture is symbolic of us girls (my mom, my two older sisters, and I).  Can you guess which one is me? 

5.  Think about what size gallery wall you want and its purpose.  Big? Small? Focal point of your room?  Below is a gallery wall created for the sole purpose of making the TV a little less obvious.  While there's no getting around the fact that the TV isn't moving and sticks out like a sore thumb, it no longer appears to be floating in space because the photos surround it, providing balance. 

And lastly.....

6.  Say your final good-bye to that bare wall, and go for it!  Hang your items!  Then admire your work. 

So, you've learned a great way to fill that empty wall!  Don't worry about rules.  Do what your eye tells you.  If it doesn't look right, change it until it does.  I don't think anyone gets the perfect gallery wall on the first try!    So go ahead and gather what you love, arrange (and re-arrange), and fill that wall to your heart's content! 

Don't miss tomorrow's post on my simple method for hanging your gallery wall (it doesn't even require measuring!)  We like it.  And so will you! 

Click below to see more fun decorating tips, painted furniture, and inspiration:








Four Walls Four Ways: Gallery Style

Do you have a huge wall that is impossible to fill up?  Sometimes a large statement piece is all that is needed, but it is fun to change it up by creating gallery walls using the things you love. Gallery walls are timeless and can be done in so many different ways.  It is fun to experiment with your decor by creating a gallery wall that not only says something about you, but that you love to look at everyday.  And, they work great for large wall spaces that need to be filled!  In today's post, I am showing you 4 different gallery walls.  Each one creates visual interest, and displays its own unique look. 

1.  Living Room-Fireplace/Mantle 

If you look past the poor quality of this photo, you see this gallery wall!  The white frames were consistent in this arrangement.   To create this gallery wall, I painted old frames I already had, gathered photos of our family, and re-created a totally new look for this wall.   I also added several small mirrors to the mix....because I ran out of frames!  To see my trick for hanging a gallery wall like this click on this link:   

2.  Office: 

In the example above, random pieces were gathered and arranged together.  The result is a colorful and dynamic display that is pleasing to the eye!  This arrangement was a great way to add life to this large, empty wall.  Do you have pictures or framed "memorabilia" stored in your basement?  I have had success hanging old picture I was sick of, only to gain a new appreciation for them once again, when they were displayed in a gallery setting.  Get out those old pictures and try a gallery wall!  Another great thing about these walls is you can add, remove, replace, and repeat!   You'll see the same wall below, with a few tweaks here and there....  

3.  Fabric Wall:

Gallery walls don't have to include pictures or frames.   In the above example, fabric was used over various sized canvases.  This was an effective way to add color to the room, and to be resourceful by using older canvases that became outdated.  These canvases were made using fabric, and a staple gun.  That's it!  

4.  Kids' Art Wall: 

Children's art is beautiful.  And it can be used to accessorize your walls!  In the example above I used white frames (I really like white frames!), some with matting, others without.  Then, I chose a collection of my kids' art pieces, cut them to size, and place them into frames.  I love seeing this collection when I'm working at my desk.  

Gallery walls are about displaying the things you love in a dynamic and visually pleasing way. Adding color and life to your walls is a great way to enhance the aesthetic of your rooms, and your homes.   Displaying collections is also an effective way to fill dead wall space.  Do you have collections that you might consider displaying?   How will you dress up your walls this spring? 

If you need tips on how to get started, or if hanging a gallery wall seems like a daunting task to you,  see the link below for step-by-step instructions!   

My Simple Method for hanging a Gallery Wall


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