Creating the Perfect Gallery Wall

People love the look of them, those walls adorned with an assortment of photographs that tell the story of the family who lives there. People love the look of a gallery wall, but are often reluctant to create their own for fear of misplaced nail holes peppering a pristine wall. Designing and hanging a custom gallery wall is easier than you think, however; just follow a few trusted rules of thumb and you'll create a design element that will make you smile every time you walk into the room.

  • Accent Wall Color – You may not think that wall color plays an important part in how a gallery wall looks, but don't underestimate its impact. Choosing the perfect wall color to accent your unique photos will affect the gallery's overall design.  You can either go neutral or go bold;  colored photos look great with a neutral wall color, while black and white photos look amazing with a bold wall color.  Take a look at museums or art galleries to get an idea on how to create drama with wall colors.

  • Establish a Focal Point – If you don't know where to begin your design, establish a focal point near the middle of the wall at eye level. Choose a favorite large photo as the center of the gallery wall and work out from there (kind of like establishing the center of your sun with remaining photos filling in the rays).

  • Give Old Photos Some Love! – Incorporating old photos into your gallery will add a unique flair to the overall design. Use the scanner on your printer to restore old photos or visit your local drug store or office supply store to have them restored. Not only will the black and white photos add a contrast to more contemporary images, but older photos are a beautiful way to honor your family's history in the present.

  • Avoid Matchy-Matchy – The frames in your gallery wall don't have to match; in fact, it's best if they don't. I choose several different sizes and colors because it adds a bit of interest to a gallery wall. Keep true to the photographs themselves. If some are best framed by a simple matte black finish, then go with it. Others, especially older photos, might look best in a more ornate gold or silver frame. Some of the most beautiful gallery walls are comprised of frames and photographs that tell their own story.

  • Design Twice (or Three or Four Times) and Nail Once – After you choose your favorite photos, put them in different sized frames and arrange them on the floor before nailing them to the wall.  You can also use paint tape to outline the frames on the wall.  Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect!  Making a photo wall creates a sense of love in your home and people will comment on your photos in a positive way no matter what. 

  • Cover the Oops – Okay, so maybe you went through all of the above and are still left with a few nail hole regrets. No worries; add some 3D art in the areas that have holes.  It's easy to make a mistake, but it's also easy to fix it!  Some art examples would be old keys, metal starbursts and/or hanging vases to put single flowers in.  Most importantly, use what you love!