If you’re anything like me, you love art. You love it so much, you collect and collect without definite plans of where each piece will go. Commence the gallery wall!
I’ve always shied away from gallery walls for many reasons. Math! Indecisiveness! Incorrect frames! Looking for the right wall! However, I realized that the long wall in the dining room was perfect for some fun. There no longer were those pesky bulkheads in the way! So let’s explore how to fill up a gallery wall in a meaningful and beautiful way.
Keep it cohesive
Selecting the specific art for a gallery wall can be tricky, as there should be continuity throughout it. This can be achieved with several methods.
Framing and layout
Some say that all of the frames should be around the same color. Others recommend that the art itself should be of similar color schemes and styles. Some gallery walls feature an even grid pattern with identical frames throughout. Others love the visual interest of different size frames together. In my book, all of these preferences are valid and depend on your personal style.
I opted for mixing and matching frames. I believe in choosing the best frame for the art itself, not just for Pinterest gallery wall aesthetics. Also, I like odd numbers and a more sculptural feel to gallery walls, so symmetry was not for me. As a result, I found cohesiveness in color. Almost every piece of art has a touch of black in it.
The colors of the art reflected in my gallery wall are other colors in the room and in my home. For example, I have a little pink in every room in my house, so you’ll find pink in the art in this room which happens to be the first room you enter into our home. The blue art speaks to the blue walls in my living room, which are visible at certain angles in my dining room. The greens of the art speak to the many green plants that are around my home. I guess my version of cohesion is a little meta! But, at a micro level, the touch of black in most of the art keeps harmony.
Next, gallery walls can contain all kinds of art! Paintings and art prints are the standard, but don’t sleep on photography! You can buy famous photos or access free ones online. Furthermore, you can print some of your own high quality shots! The photo of my parents included in my gallery wall was taken on a cell phone back in 2010. You don’t necessarily need a high powered DSLR or a professional photographer to do the trick.
Lastly, other sculptures such as clocks, place mats, mirrors, and baskets can be mixed into a gallery wall. Currently, vintage basket gallery walls are popular. I wanted to dip my toe into the trend by buying a set of baskets from At Home. I like them because of the black strips interwoven in the natural wood strips, thus reaffirming the cohesion of my gallery wall. It was a unique style that spoke with the sprinkles of black throughout the room.
Don’t forget about lighting!
Not all gallery walls require lighting, but it’s worthwhile to explore if yours would benefit from one. You may want to highlight a particular piece of art. You may want to highlight the whole wall. It depends on what you want the overall vibe to be and where the wall is located.
Gallery walls located at the end of a dark hallway would benefit from some lighting. True, there is usually one ceiling light in a hallway. However, that light is for seeing where you are walking, not for showcasing art! The light casting down may not reach the gallery wall that you worked so hard to cultivate and hang, so why not add a little more lighting to display it?
My gallery is directly across from a wall of windows, so lighting was optional for me. I chose to add a sconce to add more dimension to the left side of my gallery wall as some of the frames were reading as flat to me. Again, I enjoy that sculptural element.
You don’t need an electrician to hardwire a light for your wall. If you are just experimenting, try the famous puck light trick! It is an easy and inexpensive way to add lighting anywhere. If you like that added light, then you can eventually call an electrician to make lighting your gallery wall more permanent and controllable by a switch.
Finally, no matter what you decide to include in your gallery wall, make sure each piece is meaningful. See, it’s easy to be trendy and accumulate a bunch of baskets to put on a wall, but if you don’t even like baskets, why bother? If you prefer abstract art, no need to get an impressionist painting to put in your gallery to look “cool” or “grown up.” A gallery wall takes time. Don’t waste it on things that do not bring you joy.