Why They Work: 11 Truly Great Artwork Arrangements

Why They Work: 11 Truly Great Artwork Arrangements

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Nancy Mitchell
Apr 3, 2015
(Image credit: Domino)

A gallery wall, done right, is a great way to add a little pizazz to a plain room. But gallery walls can be really hard to get right. Variety is very visually appealing, but it can be really easy for variety to spill over into chaos. Here, we take a look at eleven great gallery walls, and then break down what it is that makes them work.

Spotted on: Domino
What makes it work: Although the gallery wall above has a tremendous amount of variety in color and even texture, the similar themes (stripes, shoes) in the photos help to hold it together.

(Image credit: La Maison d'Anna G)

Spotted on: La Maison d'Anna G
What makes it work: The similarly colored frames and large mats put the emphasis on the negative space, which helps to draw together all these disparate elements.

(Image credit: Domaine Home)

Spotted on: Domaine Home
What makes it work: The dark black background has a unifying effect and really pulls everything together. I especially like this one.

(Image credit: Unison Workspaces)

Spotted on: Unison Workspaces
What makes it work: Very similar themes. This would be fun to try with other vintage paintings with a similar subject — seascapes, say, or cats. A whole wall of vintage paintings of cats. Dreamy.

(Image credit: Desire to Inspire)

Spotted on: Desire to Inspire
What makes it work: I think this works because there are a few ‘wallflowers’ in this grouping: pieces that don’t draw a lot of attention to themselves and serve as a sort of visual break between the bolder, more wildly colored pieces.

(Image credit: Skona Hem)

Spotted on: The House that Lars Built (originally from Skona Hem)
What makes it work: Similar colors in the artwork and similar frames hold this composition together. There's enough cohesiveness here that the slightly crooked frames read as funky and not just bizarre.

(Image credit: Pencil and Paper Co.)

Spotted on: Pencil and Paper Co.
What makes it work: There’s a lot of space between the elements in this composition, which makes it read as almost serene. Also, the white elements, and white mats, blend into the wall.

(Image credit: Planete Deco)

Spotted on: Planete Deco
What makes it work: This gallery wall, with lots of smaller pieces in smaller frames, acts as an extension of the texture of the wall. And once again, we’ve got a lot of white pieces that are blending into the wall and providing a visual break.

(Image credit: Desire to Inspire)

Spotted on: Desire to Inpsire
What makes it work: Similarly colored and styled frames. The fact that a lot of the frames are the same color as the trim (black) helps this composition feel really at home in the space.

(Image credit: Bolig)

Spotted on: Bolig
What makes it work: I think this is just on the verge of being too chaotic, and it would definitely need to be in a room with not a lot else going on. The similarly colored (and sized) frames are helping to pull this one together. Notice that, in order to keep the attention on the gallery wall, and keep things from getting too crazy, the homeowner (or the stylist) has elected to pull the old ‘books with spines facing the wall’ trick. I know this is something that a lot of you hate, but I think there’s a method to the madness here: gallery wall + bookshelf = total chaos. So they did what they could to make the bookshelf more uniform.

(Image credit: Inside Out)

Spotted on: Inside Out
What makes it work: I like that this one wraps a corner. This gallery wall reads as quite simple, almost minimal, thanks to nearly identical frames, and very similar color schemes amongst the art: either in black and white, or warm/pinkish tones.

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