Here’s How to Get the Gallery Wall Look That’s All Over Instagram on a Budget (and From the Comfort of Your Sofa)

published Oct 7, 2021
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Credit: Minette Hand

Creating an impressive gallery wall can seem intimidating, but the easiest trick (and the biggest new trend) is to create a gallery full of portraits. No, not of yourself of your family, but vintage or vintage-inspired paintings and drawings of people you’ve never met. Collecting pictures of people you don’t know may seem strange, but grouping them together provides a cohesive look with lots of character.  

You may have seen a few of these high-impact portrait walls on Pinterest and Instagram (or on One Kings Lane, where they sell them in sets!). They look amazing, but it’s tough to know where to start, especially if you don’t have a dozen or so antique portraits laying around the house. The good news is you don’t have to scour estate sales or inherit a collection to get this look, and you can start small with just a portrait or two, if that feels more attainable, too.

Credit: Liz Calka

Whether you’re looking to create a Victorian-inspired display or something more modern, there’s no shortage of contemporary artists you can turn to, each of them creating beautiful works that feel like they have soul and a sense of history, even if they were painted in 2021 and are being reproduced as prints. A few quick notes on buying and displaying these pieces: If you want to spend less, opt for smaller sizes and unframed prints. You can always find thrift store frames to give them a little bit of old world character on the cheap. Here’s where to find quirky portraits from the comfort of your living room.

1. Janet Hill Studio

For those looking to buy a few pieces by one artist or just want to discover a new painter, Janet Hill has created dozens of portraits with subjects ranging from royalty to 1950’s-style babes. As for this print, I love the juxtaposition of the traditional solid background with a more modern-looking woman. Hill even sells small card versions of some of her paintings for less than $5, which are perfect for trying to fill really small blank spots.

Buy: Pembroke by Janet Hill, Starts at $28.00 from Janet Hill Studio 

Credit: Saatchi Art

2. Saatchi Art

Saatchi sells original works as well as prints of those works, so depending on what you’d like to spend, you have options. This piece was based on the artist’s friend, and her color-blocked top was inspired by a mixture of the woman’s favorite clothing.

Buy: Alice Print by Brook Tate, Starts at $60.00 from Saatchi Art

Credit: Minted

3. Minted

This minimalist portrait comes in a variety of sizes and framing options. One of the most interesting elements of Ofek’s work is that this person doesn’t have a detailed face. That signature makes this piece a standout. Also, where can I get the coat this woman’s wearing? I digress. Point is: Check out Minted for affordable, modern takes on portraiture like this print.

Buy: A Girl With A Coat by Efrat Ofek, Starts at $26.00 from Minted

4. Artfully Walls

Not all portraits need to depict folks in incredibly fancy or ornate duds. Sometimes the star of the work, like “Julie” here in this print,  is just rocking a preppy pajama shirt, and I totally support that. Large strokes of color give it an impressionist vibe. 

Buy: Julie by Victoria Bradley, Starts at $37.00 from Artfully Walls

Credit: Etsy

5. Etsy

The incredibly soulful and realistic eyes on this print totally make this piece. The original work was an oil painting done in a chiaroscuro fashion, meaning high contrast lights and darks (a style that was popular during the Renaissance). It’s dramatic and eye-catching, which makes it a great pick for a gallery wall. Don’t discount Etsy for portrait prints or actual vintage portrait paintings either.

Buy: Mezmerize by Pat Kelley, $30.00 from Etsy

6. Josh Young Art

This painting is a showstopper. Artist Josh Young is inspired by the integration of classic motifs and modern techniques, which has paved the way for his avant-garde portraits. They’re beautiful and they’re a bit tongue-in-cheek. Win-win.

Buy: Danielle Art by Josh Young, Starts at $85.00 from Josh Young Design House 

Credit: Society 6

7. Society 6

From a distance, this painting has a color-blocked look, but when you get close up, you can see the intricate patterns in each element: the dotted blanket, wavy skirt, and curvy lines of the blouse. Consider buying in a bigger size to get the full effect. Keep Society 6 in mind for other portrait prints, too. They have a bunch available.

Buy: It’s Called Fashion Art Print by Rachelle Baker, Starts at $35.99 $25.19 from Society 6

Credit: Fy

8. Fy

The earthy sepia tones in this print make the pops of bright orange that much more dramatic. It has the look of a vintage art piece you’d find at a thrift shop or estate sale, but the bold colors make it feel fresh. Starting at $18, it’s a major steal. Keep this British retailer in mind for all of your art needs.

Buy: Orange Portrait Art Print by Laura Douglas, Starts at $18.00 from Fy

Credit: Lumas

9. Lumas

The surrealist style of this portrait adds an unexpected element to a traditional subject matter. If you’re looking for a portrait that can stand on its own sans gallery wall, I think I’ve found her, but because she comes frame and is a limited-edition, she is a little pricey. Check out Lumas for even more portraiture.

Buy: Antoinette Tropical, $680.00 from LUMAS

10. Anthropologie

If you’re in the market for colorful portraits, Anthropologie has a great stash. Children’s book author and artist Shada Strickland used watercolors to create this peach-filled portrait — a nod to her Atlanta routes. 

Buy: Peach Wall Art by Shada Strickland, $428.00 from Anthropologie