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Affordable Art Fair
Art advice - 24 August 2020

How to: Staircase Gallery Wall

Sinead DoyleWith the trend for the gallery wall, or salon hang, being more popular than ever; we turned to art lover and interiors addict, Sinead Doyle from Belfast. Sinead shared her top 5 tips on curating and hanging a statement gallery wall for one of the trickiest areas of the home – the staircase. Pulling from her experience of creating her own impactful display of bright, striking works; read on to learn how to create a stunning staircase gallery wall in your own home.




Hi, I’m Sinead. I’m passionate about art and interiors. I blog about making our first house a home, my love of art and all things interiors. In this guest blog, I’ll explain how we created our staircase gallery wall - a statement feature in the heart of our home.

1. Throw out the Rule Book

The first thing you need to know about gallery walls is, there are no rules. The art set you choose will just come down to personal taste.

Like everything in life, tastes vary. Some people are drawn to the simplicity of clean lines and monochrome schemes, whilst others are drawn to neutral palettes and some want bold, bright pops of colour. There’s no right or wrong, it’s just what works for you and your home.

You also don’t need to have 50 super expensive framed pieces of art to start hanging a gallery wall. Art can absolutely be affordable; you can create a gallery wall on any budget. You can also add to and mix up your collection as your taste evolves, just like a real gallery.


 Gallery WallGallery Wall 2


2. Curate your Collection

The art you hang in your home can say a lot about you – it’s like a little window into your personality – your loves; beliefs; interests; where you’ve been; the music you like; the people that inspire you. It tells a story and can spark a conversation when people visit your home.

When creating my gallery wall, I wanted to add a splash of colour to our otherwise quite muted white and grey hallway. Like many homes, the staircase is the first thing you see when you walk through the front door, so from day one, I had my heart set on creating a statement floor to ceiling hang that would become a talking point in our home.

When choosing art, my advice is always to choose pieces that speak to you. Find pieces that resonate or signify something important to you; pieces that remind you of a happy moment; and, most importantly, that make you smile.


3. Don’t Be Afraid to Mix it Up

Life Is Cleaner, Michelle ThomsponThe most impactful gallery walls have lots of variety: pieces of different sizes and shapes; different mediums, styles and colourways. Personally, I’m drawn to bight pops of colour, collage and in some cases, typography in artwork, if the message resonates.

Our gallery wall features screen prints, original artworks and collages alongside a few personal photos, mementos and keepsakes.

One of my favourite pieces is a limited edition Party Like it’s 1999 screen print by the legendary Dave Buonaguidi. The piece features his signature fluorescent neon pink typeface over a dazzling red glitter backdrop and was part of a collaboration with Jealous London last year to celebrate the Affordable Art Fair’s 20th anniversary in 2019.

Some of the more recent pieces we’ve added, including pieces by Michelle Thompson and Adam Bridgland, were purchased during lockdown and will always remind me of this strange time in our lives.

To create a truly wall to ceiling hang, we still have to fill a lot of empty wall space. For me, that’s all part of the fun – knowing that we still have new pieces of art to discover and hang. I hope to get to the next Affordable Art Fair in London to pick up a few shiny new things to add to our home gallery. Looking through the online marketplace, there are already quite a few pieces on my wish list.

Michelle Thompson’s latest limited edition print, Wish You Were Here is definitely on the list – I have a few of Michelle’s pieces and I love how she uses found materials from old books, newspapers and magazines in her mixed material artworks and there’s a palpable feeling of nostalgia in her work.


 Adam Bridgland, I Need This Wilderness (Empire State Blue)Wish You Were HereBehind Every Strong Woman


Amy Gardner is another artist that I have been fangirling for a while now. I love her bold use of colour and the ‘women supporting women’ ethos that runs through her works, like Behind Every Strong Woman and Sister Souls.

Tim Fowler’s stunning hand finished limited edition prints of his stunning paintings are also on the wish list – I particularly love his colourful depiction of Nina Simone. I’ve also got my eyes on a few pieces by Jo Hummel, including her Plomb collage and I love Anne Storno’s colourful screen prints, including, The Secret Woman.


Tim Fowler, Nina SimonePlombThe Secret Woman


4. In the Frame

The questions I get asked most on Instagram are around how I approach framing art for our gallery walls. If you have a really special piece of art, a huge piece, or it’s a peculiar shape/size, I would definitely advise professional framing.

If you have a lot of art to work with, as will be the case with a gallery wall, that can be pricy. I tend to frame smaller, inexpensive pieces (up to about A3) that fit off the shelf frames myself. Everything else, I tend to get done professionally. However, I would also say that art is better framed in any frame and being up on your wall, than sitting in the tube it came in and not being enjoyed.

The Affordable Art Fair’s Ready to Hang collection is also well worth a look and takes the hassle out of finding the perfect frame.


5. Plot it Out & Hang It

How to layout a staircase gallery wallWhen it comes to hanging gallery walls, some people just start hammering nails in a wall and hope for the best. I’m slightly more methodical than that and like to have a plan about where each piece will go. I think investing a little time at this stage is worthwhile and helps create a more polished gallery wall.

Start by laying out all of your frames on the floor, considering the placement and which pieces will complement each other, or conversely, that will provide the contrast you’re looking for. To make sure the pieces work in situ, stick paper templates the approximate size of each frame loosely to the wall. Take a step back and check you’re happy before you start drilling any holes. Then, just hang it. For heavy frames, make sure to use proper wall plugs and screw fixings; lighter items will be fine with a small picture hook or nail knocked into the wall.

Once you’re done, stand back, admire and enjoy. Our gallery wall brings a smile to my face every single day. I can’t wait to add more to it.

Such fantastic advice, thank you Sinead! We can’t wait to get started on our own, rather dull, staircases. If you’ve been inspired by her top tips, why not browse our Ready to Hang collection of pre-framed artworks – and don’t forget to share the final look with us by tagging us on social.




Main Image:
An image of artwork on a staircase wall by Sinead Doyle.

Featured art from first to last:
An image of Sinead Doyle by the artwork on a staircase wall.
Party Like It's 1999 Screen Print by Dave Buonaguidi
Artwork images on the staircase wall by Sinead Doyle.
An image of Sinead Doyle by the artwork on a staircase wall.
Michelle Thomspon, Life Is Cleaner, 2020, Digital Print, H 50 cm x W 40 cm x D .01 cm, £120, Liberty Gallery.
Adam Bridgland, I Need This Wilderness (Empire State Blue), 2019, Signed, H 75 cm x W 55 cm x D 0.1 cm, £300, TAG Fine Arts.
Michelle Thomspon, Wish You Were here, 2020, Mixed-Media, H 42 cm x W 29.6 cm x D .01 cm, £175, Liberty Gallery.
Michelle Thomspon, Wish You Were here, 2020, Mixed-Media, H 42 cm x W 29.6 cm x D .01 cm, £175, Liberty Gallery.
Amy Gardner, Behind Every Strong Woman, 2019, Silkscreen Print, H 50 cm x W 50 cm x D .01 cm, £340, Liberty Gallery.
Tim Fowler, Nina Simone (plant), 2018, Giclee, H 90.5 cm x W 73.5 cm x D 0.1 cm, £300, StudionAme.
Jo Hummel, Plomb, 2018, Household Paint, H 26 cm x W 18 cm x D .01 cm, £225, Liberty Gallery.
Anne Storno, The Secret Woman, 2017, Silkscreen Print, H 40 cm x W 30 cm x D 0.1 cm £160, ContemporArti.
Artwork by staircase gallery wall

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