Questions? Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Showcasing photos or artwork that means something special is a simple (and affordable!) way to infuse creative charm into any room. And you don’t have to spend a ton on pricey frames for an art gallery-inspired display! All it takes are a few inexpensive or thrifted frames and your favorite paintings or prints or a collection of interesting items (think plates, wooden boxes or even embroidery hoops!) to create a gorgeous gallery wall in any part of your home. Here, design pros share 8 easy gallery wall ideas to put your interests and memories on stylish display!
What is a gallery wall?
A gallery wall is a collection of photo frames, artwork or other collected items hung or arranged in a group together on a wall. “This design trend is fun and easy to do,” says design pro Cortney McClure of CortneyMcClure.com. “You can create these gallery walls using around-the-house items or flea market finds!” The key to a cohesive gallery wall display: a balanced mix of frames or another collection of items arranged within the borders of a geometric outline. For a well-proportioned look, aim to establish equal visual weight from left to right and top to bottom. Read on for easy gallery wall ideas for every part of your home.
Gallery wall ideas #1: a floating ledge
The empty space above a sofa or seating area is the perfect place to make a big impact, says designer Mark Cutler, who has appeared on HGTV’s Designers’ Challenge. “Placing frames on a ledge in this spot is an eye-catching yet easy way to showcase art — especially if you want to switch prints out with the seasons.” To do: Hang a long ledge or shelf anywhere from 2 to 10 inches above the back of your couch or chairs and display framed family photos, sketches or favorite prints on the ledge. For added interest, add lamps and battery-run candles to the shelf to fill in space between the frames and cast a gorgeous glow on your prints. Also smart: “Find a shelf deep enough to layer and overlap frames for a richer look,” suggests Cutler.
Gallery wall ideas #2: a classic grid design
“The blank space above a couch can be challenging and pricey to fill with one large piece,” notes design pro Dana Dore, founder of AdoredHouse.com. “So showcasing a collection of smaller prints in a gallery wall is an easy solution.” And this foliage-themed grid design offers a big impact. To do: Gather foliage-inspired prints and frames, or buy a collection of framed foliage artwork, like Laurel Foundry Modern Farmhouse Bronze Leaf Framed 2 Pieces (Buy from Wayfair, $31.99). Then, measure the total space on the wall that you want to fill. Before hanging, trace frames on newspaper and cut out, then tape cutouts to the wall to perfect placement and measurements. Make marks with pencil to use as a guide; hang frames.
Gallery wall ideas #3: a mix of metallics
“When I’m arranging a gallery wall, I choose one common thread to hold it all together,” says Cutler. For example, sticking to the same frame finish or hue will keep the display looking cohesive. “Here, the brass frames lend a more sophisticated, upscale feel,” he says. To get this look, gather fashion- and beauty-inspired prints, like HoozGee Fashion Wall Art Prints Set of 6 (Buy from Amazon, $13.99), then add prints to brass frames, like Autjvy 8×10 Brass Picture Frames 2 Pack (Buy from Amazon, $19.49). Before hanging, lay frames on the floor and play with the placement. When you find something you like, snap a photo, then try other arrangements. Before hanging, put a glue dot on the back corners of each frame to keep them straight. (Click through to find out if your old picture frames are valuable.)
Gallery wall ideas #4: a floating shelf trio
Gracing a wall with graduated floating shelves creates a negative space on the wall that’s perfect for showcasing a gorgeous hanging light fixture or larger piece of art. Plus the ample amount of shelf space allows you the freedom to showcase lots of artwork, mementos, vases, books and the like. You can also swap out items seasonally! To get the look, hang three different lengths of white floating shelves, like Winston Porter Bellapais Floating Shelf (Buy from Wayfair, $41.99) above one another about 14 inches apart and display items on each. For extra dimension, mix up frame sizes and overlap pieces. Tip: Dore suggests finding chic, low-cost frames in your local Facebook Marketplace or at thrift stores or yard sales.
Gallery wall ideas #5: a stairway collection
All gallery walls bring interest and texture to a space, but they also provide an opportunity to tell a special story or share memories, says Dore. Here, a collection of black-and-white family photos are arranged in a relaxed, “gathered” look along a staircase wall. When creating a stairway gallery, Dore recommends using a variety of frame sizes to make it easier to follow the incline of the stairs. “You’ll want the bottom row of frames to all be hung the same distance from the stair treads.” Tip: When showcasing a photo wall like this, keep frames all one color. This adds structure and cohesively pulls the gallery together.
Gallery wall ideas #6: a pretty plate display
“A plate wall just beams with style and personality,” notes McClure. The mix of shapes and colors adds eye-catching dimension to a simple dining room, kitchen or living area. What’s more, she says, “A plate wall can be totally sourced from thrift stores.” When choosing plate colors, she suggests repeating at least one hue a few times, like the white shown here, to keep the group unified. To get the look, gather 8 to 12 small- to medium-size plates in an array of colors, patterns and shapes. Affix the plates to the wall in any desired fashion using hangers, like Hotop Hotop Plate Hangers (Buy from Amazon, $13.99).
Gallery wall ideas #7: embroidery hoop display
Transforming an empty wall in your craft or sewing room into a beautiful focal wall is simple with a 3D “art” display that uses embroidery hoops! To get the look, gather a collection of embroidery hoops fitted with your own cross-stitching or make a new hoops (no stitching required!) by pressing a cut-to-fit circle of fabric between an embroidery hoop from a set like Caydo 6 Pieces Bamboo Embroidery Hoops (Buy from Amazon, $7.99). Then hang each lightweight hoop on your wall using peel-and-stick glue dots, Velcro strips or poster putty, arranging in a horizontal gallery-style fashion.
Gallery wall ideas #8: a living succulent wall
“Planting vertical gardens on walls, fences, gates and more frees up patio or garden bed space, and the gardens are surprisingly simple to set up,” says Shawna Coronado, author of Grow a Living Wall. “Here, framed living succulent displays add a surprising burst of color to a fence or forgotten wall.”
To do: Open a hinged wooden shadowbox with magnetic closure, lay it flat and remove the glass from the frame. Lay a cut-to-fit piece of chicken wire on the back of the frame; use a staple gun to secure it in place. Fill the box with cactus soil mix, then add wood glue to the wood edges near the magnetic closure before closing to ensure the box seals shut; let dry. Push roots of echeveria succulents into the soil through the wire. Lay the box in light sun for two weeks so roots can establish, then hang. Remove from the wall to water once weekly. Click through for tips on how to save a dying succulent.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.
For more decorating ideas, click through these stories: