6 Tips To Creating The Perfect Gallery Wall
In the age of Instagram, twitter, Pinterest — or even just a good old fashioned photo message — we’re used to seeing all sorts of arty inspiration to help jazz up our interiors. Increasingly, budding art enthusiasts and long-time collectors share beautiful images of their painstakingly-positioned gallery walls. And if you have spent any time in a gallery or museum, no doubt you’ll have seen exhibitions where various types of art share the same wall space. If you’re drawn to this eclectic look, you’re in the right place, as within this blog you’ll find some hints and tips to help create this very look at home.
What is a “gallery wall”?
The gallery wall has many pseudonyms — salon hangs, art vignettes, exhibition style — but put quite simply, it means a wall where a number of pieces of art hang side by side. Originally inspired by the French Salon, where works were hung tightly next to one another to allow as many to be displayed as possible. Nowadays, selected artworks don’t just have to be restricted to paintings; gallery walls can include all kinds of pieces, from photography, prints, to three-dimensional work or even light pieces.
Why should I create a gallery wall?
For today’s art collectors, there’s lot of advantages to displaying work in this way. Firstly, it can be an opportunity to express a little creativity of your own and experiment with traditional hanging methods. From choosing works which speak to one another, be that through content, framing or colour (an all monochrome wall anyone?), to choosing artworks which are utterly distinct from one another, creating a gallery wall at home is a wonderful way to display your collection.
Where do I start?
For many, the prospect of hanging one artwork, no matter its size, is daunting enough — let alone hanging a myriad of artworks of varying dimensions, with widths between artworks to worry about too. Furthermore, it’s easy for a gallery wall to quickly feel chaotic and overwhelming, rather than effortless and sophisticated. Never fear: to help you create that perfect presentation of your beloved artworks, we have a few foolproof tips to share, which cover both practical issues and aesthetic ideas. Read on for a beautiful DIY display in no time!
1. Choose a focal piece
To help ensure the works don’t look crammed or claustrophobic, select one artwork which will work as your focal piece on the wall, this will act as an anchor to the other pieces. This may simply be the largest piece, or a work with bright colours or a bold frame. Chances are it will be clear to you which artwork you want your gallery wall to revolve around. Then, our first handy tip is to ensure that this focal piece is placed at eye-height, this will help to create that all-important sense of balance to your hang.
2. Map it out…
Crucial for your gallery wall is a decent plan. Whilst this may not sound hugely creative, it’s important to map out where the work’s are going to hang. This also helps you consider the aesthetic style of your wall. And now you have selected your focal piece, our second handy tip is to create your layout from the inside-out – which will help make the mapping process a whole lot easier!
3. …then check it works!
Once you’ve made a plan, transfer it to the wall using paper templates. It’s a great way to play around with your design, and if you mark up the wall with light pencil or masking tape, you can create an easy on-the-wall plan to guide you whilst hanging. This is the moment to grab a friend and hold a few of the pieces up side-by-side, to check they actually work.
4. Don’t be afraid to use your space…
One of the biggest advantages of a gallery wall is that you can use the vertical space in your home, which is often overlooked when hanging work. This means it can be a great way to display work in small, sometimes awkward spaces: think hallways, corridors or landings. So be inventive about where you hang that gallery wall, and have a think about utilising spaces that don’t at first seem like normal spots to hang artwork. For a bit of inspiration, check out our 'In The Frame' Pinterest board, where we have saved all of our favourite creative gallery walls.
5. … Or to clash!
The whole point of a gallery wall is to bring together your art works in one, spectacular smorgasbord representing all your arty interests on a blank wall. You may be mad about mono printing, passionate about photography, or love lithographs; the gallery wall allows you to combine these works on one surface, so don’t be afraid to go bold. With that in mind — mixing smaller works with larger pieces can also work great too.
6. And lastly, hang carefully
We recommend spacing artworks between 3-4 centimetres, giving the works room to breathe. Make sure not to hang the work too low, as this might create a sense of imbalance in the room; rather start at eye-height (with your focal piece) and work out from there. Remember to use a spirit level to make sure everything is perfectly straight, as a wonky frame will disrupt the whole hang! And if you’re anxious about the technical aspect of hanging the works themselves, then take a look at our step-by-step hanging guide.
An expert Gallery Wall at Affordable Art Fair Hampstead.
Featured images from first to last:
Visitors enjoying a gallery hang at Affordable Art Fair New York.
A further example of a gallery wall at Affordable Art Fair Battersea.
Inspiration for some of the many ways you can arrange a Gallery Wall hang.
An example of alternative wall hangings as a part of a Gallery Wall at Affordable Art Fair Amsterdam.