Gallery Walls in the New Year: The 7 Classic, Never-Fail Tips to Remember All Year Long

Gallery Walls in the New Year: The 7 Classic, Never-Fail Tips to Remember All Year Long

Adrienne Breaux
Jan 11, 2015
(Image credit: Domino)

At this point in your design education, you probably know how to correctly hang a gallery wall of framed art and canvases. In fact, you also probably know a few different methods of doing it. This isn't a post about how to physically hang a gallery wall — it's how to make a gallery wall in your home its most alluring. The kind that's perfectly harmonious yet exciting. That works cohesively as one wall collage unit, but still lets each piece of art be its own fabulous individual. These classic ideas always make a gallery wall look great, and this post is worth bookmarking so you come back to it all throughout this year.

Gallery walls are like the butter on top of an already perfectly seasoned gourmet dish. Like tabletop vignettes, they don't seem like a huge part of your decor, but when done well, perfectly complement the rest of your space seamlessly (and beautifully). And also like a vignette, the tips below are great rules to follow to try and make the best gallery wall in your home yet. But remember — rules are meant to be learned so that they can be broken, so don't be afraid to break one of these rules if your instincts pull you in another direction.

1. Pick a placement that wows

Wall collages are cool because they can go anywhere. And actually, when they're placed in unusual spots around the home they can be quite delightful. But if you want to maximize the impact of a wall collage, put it in a powerful spot where it'll be a focal point in a room.

2. Pay attention to framing details

It's not about spending a ton of money, it's just about grabbing the right frames for the art and the collage. You don't want to be too matchy-matchy, but you don't want a huge hodge-podge either. Stick to the rules of mixing any set of home decor items: have the frames have some element in common if they're all going to be slightly different.

3. Have just the right amount of cohesion and difference

A set of uniform art pieces can absolutely look stunning. But taking it to the next sophistication level can happen when you choose a mix of art pieces that have just the perfect balance of similarities and differences.

4. Use art you really love

We stress this a lot, but when you opt for art that is meaningful and you love a lot, it'll make your wall collage that much more personal and rich. It'll allow the wall collage to be a bold vehicle for your personality — and that's what will really add the most awesomeness to your space.

5. Consider an anchor piece

This isn't really necessary, but we think some of the best wall collages have a really powerful anchor piece. A piece that's a little larger, one that's a little bolder or more colorful. One that has a slightly more prominent frame. Something that sets your favorite piece of art apart. It just seems to make the collage feel grounded to the room.

6. Make sure good light falls on your collage

This sort of goes back to placement of the wall collage, but make sure there's some good light — either natural or artificial — that lights up your wall collage.

7. Have it connect to the rest of your room by some other design element

Though it's called a "gallery" wall, to keep it from feeling too much like a cold museum, you want to connect your wall collage with the rest of your room. How? Hang it just a little too close to a bookshelf or a sofa. Have an arching floor lamp or hanging pendant cover it just slightly. Place a credenza with a towering vignette atop it in front of a collage.

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