How to Create a Gallery Wall

Since moving into our apartment, it’s taken way longer than planned to get furniture in place, boxes unpacked, and pictures on the wall. We’ve been decorating, and adding new pieces of thrifted furniture to make this house feel like a home. Slowly each room is becoming more and more of how we want it to be, embodying more of who Chesh and I are.

One piece of this is our Gallery Wall. Chesh and I like collecting cool art and knick knacks from thrift stores and garage sales, but we didn’t have a great way to display it all. That’s where the gallery wall comes in.

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Let’s say you have a ton of photos, art prints, shelving, signs, and other cool things you love and want on display, but you don’t know how to put them up without having a space feel cluttered or randomly slapped up. This is where a gallery wall comes in. It allows for all of these things to be displayed together in an orderly way, makes the best use of the space you have, and brings a bit more color and excitement to blank walls.

1. Choosing a Theme

Choosing a theme is the hard part. Deciding your aesthetic is an important first step. Decide what look you’re going for, and choose pieces that match that theme. Try to space out your different pieces so that you have a collage of different art pieces on your wall. Pace out your frames, shelving, plants, sculptures, clocks and anything else you’d like, evenly throughout your gallery wall. If you have a specific color you want to display, painting second hand frames is easy. This way you can keep a continual color theme with your frames to match your room, or to be an accent color.

Cheshire and I have neutral colored furniture in our living room (tan couch, wood piano, wooden side tables, cream carpet), so we wanted to stick within a neutral color scheme. We also had a ton of art pieces that had a muted color scheme as well, so that made it easy. I went for a little bit of a rustic feel with all the wood and neutral tones, and we wanted the pieces to make the living room feel homey.

2. Lay It Out

Measure the space you want your gallery wall in, and begin building a layout that would fit within that wall area. Find a space on the floor, and lay out all of your pieces. Organize and rearrange them with a single line (like we did) or a center piece as your base. We didn’t have any one piece of artwork that we wanted to base our wall around, so we went with a straight bottom line, with eclectic pieces moving up and out from there. A rule of thumb when laying out your pieces, is to distance them out evenly using four fingers as a spacer between each piece.

3. Tools

It’s important to have the right tools to keep your gallery wall from looking crooked, especially if you’re using a bottom line like we did. Here are some helpful tools you might need for your wall:

  • Levels – duh. This is a great way to make sure your lines are nice and straight.
  • Measuring tape – know how much space you have to work with before laying out a plan.
  • String – if you’re making a straight line base like we did, I started with a piece of string leveled out and taped to the wall to know where my bottom line was and where I wanted my art to start
  • Hammer and Nails – once again, this one is obvious, but make sure that if you’re renting, you’re allowed to put nails in the walls. Some apartments are picky about that

4. Hang It Up!

Now that you’ve measured out and organized and moved and reorganized again, it’s time to put up your gallery wall. Do so slowly, and take your time when putting up your pieces. Take time to step back and have a look before putting up your next piece. You’ll thank yourself later when your wall is exactly the way you planned it to look. And then TADA! You can sit back and enjoy your eclectic masterpiece.

I love our gallery wall. I’ve never been super great at putting up art or displaying our pieces well, but this gallery wall is something I want to recreate in every house we live in. Not only is Chesh and my favorite artwork up on the wall, but I also got these gorgeous square shelves off of Amazon to display pictures of the two of us, plants (complete with bulbasour planter), our cake topper, and other important keepsakes. The wall also features a “non-verbal hints” board my best friend made for us.

I hope you enjoyed this little only-slightly-subtle living room tour, and I wish you the best of luck on creating your own gallery wall!

P.S. Interested in finding some shelving for your gallery wall? Amazon has a ton of super cool shelves, with a ton of different designs and styles. Here were some of my favorites:

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