6 Buys That Make Gallery Walls Much Easier to Hang

published Nov 12, 2018
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A gallery wall in a sunny bungalow's dining room
(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

If you want to personalize your space, display your favorite artwork and collectibles, and make a big statement on a blank wall, you put up a gallery wall, right? But it’s not quite that simple. Anyone who has ever tried to hang art and photos just so knows that getting a gallery wall arranged takes time—and often causes lots of unnecessary nail holes in the process. While we can’t tell you exactly where to put each of your frames (although we do have plenty of suggestions), we can share these great finds, all of which will make creating a gallery wall a breeze.

These ultra-sticky strips are the OG of the hanging world. They’re easy to use, can handle a decent amount of weight (up to eight pounds), and best of all, they don’t leave behind a constellation of tiny holes when you want to redecorate or move. 3M even makes a version for frames that have an easel-style back not traditionally meant for mounting to walls.

Before reaching for your hammer (or Command Strips!), trace all of your pieces on sheets of paper. Butcher or kraft paper is great, purely because it’s available in large rolls, but leftover gift wrap works, too. Cut out the pieces and label them, then tape them to your wall so you can arrange—and rearrange—them to your heart’s content. Playing around with your design before committing to actual nail holes can save you a lot of frustration in the long run.

It may seem silly to use a level on simple picture frames, but nothing will ruin a thoughtfully curated gallery wall than a couple of wonky pieces of art. Because you’re grouping so many items, it’s more important than ever that they lie perfectly straight. Trust us, you’ll notice the crooked ones much quicker if they’re in the company of properly hung pieces.

These unobtrusive rails get mounted near the top of your wall, then cords hang from them at various heights. Your art is held in place by a clip at the end of each cord. You’ll often see this minimalist approach in museums or galleries, for good reason: The clips make it easy to switch out your art as often as you want.

Floating shelves (or picture ledges) can serve as a narrow surface, perfect for supporting frames you lean against your wall. Although the result doesn’t give you the classic gallery wall look, it lets you group your art together in an unexpected, relaxed way. And hanging a few slim shelves requires a lot less hammering than putting up a dozen or so frames.

In the past few years, lots of home stores including West Elm and Bed Bath & Beyond have started offering sets of gallery frames: Usually four or more picture frames in the same color or finish but in varying sizes. Simply find art to fit each one, then group them together for an instantly cohesive look.