Creating a Gallery Wall? Here Are 7 Tips to Get Started

If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of making your first gallery wall or you’re looking for some help making your ideas a reality here’s some advice for you.

Becky Benshoof
6 min readApr 19, 2020
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Gallery walls are a fantastic way to liven up any room. If done right, they look great and can make any space more inviting. They’re also an excellent way to fill a large wall or to show off your style and collection of artworks.

But if you don’t consider yourself a design expert, gallery walls can be intimidating.

Do you love the idea of a gallery wall, but aren’t sure where to get started? Have you seen photos in magazines or articles, but aren’t sure how to achieve the same look yourself? Or you might have an idea for one, but you need confidence to make it a reality?

If this is your first time making a gallery wall, here are some tips to guide you:

Pick a common theme

The best way to create a cohesive design is to have a common theme to tie it all together. This doesn’t mean it has to look conventional or boring. There are all sorts of themes you can choose from.

A classic theme to focus on is a single medium. Like, a wall featuring only abstract paintings, or charcoal drawings. This can offer a very clean and timeless look.

Or the subject matter can be your common theme. For example, a wall inspired beach scenes or figurative works of art.

Alternatively, you can use the same frame type to tie your gallery wall artwork together. That way you can mix and match different mediums and types of pieces, but they have a coordinated look by using consistent framing.

Or you can select a common color pallet for your artwork. These can be all neutrals or various shades of one color, or paired colors.

Again, picking a theme will help make your design cohesive. It’ll also help you avoid making a gallery wall that looks messy or jumbled.

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Mix and match artfully

You may have eclectic taste and prefer to coordinate a range of works without a specific theme. If so, then be sure you have some visual cohesion to tie everything together.

An artful eclectic gallery wall requires a good sense of style and a good editorial eye for design. Otherwise, you run the risk that your wall will be a scattered mess. If you’re confident or have some design help, then an eclectic gallery wall is a great way to make a major design statement.

Plot out the space

Before taking a hammer to nail, I recommend plotting your space. That way you don’t have to worry about having to redesign your wall or fill in any misplaced holes. You can also play with different layouts to get a good idea of what will look best.

You can do this in several ways. If you have a good sense that the pieces you’ve selected will look good together, you can do this with painters’ tape. This will help you plan the layout on your wall and determine the right spacing for each piece.

If you’re feeling a little less confident about the works you’ve selected then a virtual wall may be the way to start. You can do this in photoshop, or similar type of software, by uploading a picture of your wall first. Then you can place images of your artwork on this virtual wall. If you try this remember to measure and do this to scale.

This will give you a good sense of how everything will look on your wall. It can also help you plan your space and determine if any of the pieces you select don’t quite fit with the others. You can then swap pieces in and out to determine your final group and layout.

Scared of getting too permanent?

Are you worried that your tastes will change or you don’t want too many nails in your wall? You could instead put up a shelf or set of shelves and then line different works up and lean them against the wall. This way you can overlap pieces a bit and get creative with what you mix and match. If you change your style or acquire new works you can swap things out and mix it up.

Another way to avoid the permanent feeling of hanging pieces on the wall is to hang a series of photographs or small works of art from clips. This gives you the flexibility to also change the pieces you put up.

Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

It’s ok to build as you go

Do you only have a few pieces to get started and you feel that you’ll build the rest of your art collection overtime? That’s ok!

You can still have a great gallery wall that grows and develops as your art collection does. You don’t need to have your entire wall arranged in advance. You can go for a free-flowing look that you can add to overtime.

Go big or small

Many people want gallery walls to be the main feature wall. You can do this by highlighting a prominent wall in your living area, entryway, or staircase. Rather than having a single statement piece of art, a gallery wall allows you to create a similar type of effect with a collection of smaller works.

Or you can do a smaller version in a less prominent space. If you want to test out the process and aesthetic, or if you have smaller artworks to feature. You can select a bathroom or a less prominent room and do a small gallery wall.

Looking for more guidance? Here some gallery wall ideas to inspire you

Create a gallery wall that’s all about you. Make a gallery wall personal by featuring places you’ve traveled, photos you’ve taken, or maps of the places you’ve lived in. You can also create a meaningful gallery wall by displaying some of your most cherished items.

Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. from Pexels

Make a decorative collection gallery wall. Gallery walls aren’t only for traditional pieces of art. You can take a plate, basket, or mirror collection that may be collecting dust otherwise and create a stunning feature wall. Really, you can use any type of wall décor and transform it into a gallery wall.

Focus on a series. You can keep it simple by focusing on a series of works by one artist or a single subject matter and hang them together. This can be as few as 3 pieces displayed together.

Stay simple and neutral. If you want to go for a clean look hang a series of black and white photographs. Or a wall of charcoal sketches or drawings. A simple theme can be very timeless and elegant.

Photo by Medhat Ayad from Pexels

Most importantly, have fun and be creative! You may surprise yourself with what you can come up with.