This is a guest post by our dear friend Liz Kamarul. Check her Instagram at @liz_kamarul.
Gallery walls. They’ve been around forever. Some people love them and some people hate them. Either way they aren’t going anywhere and we’re all still trying to figure out how to hang them properly.
I’ve seen so many tutorials that involve a lot of prep-work and supplies, a lot of measuring and calculating, a lot of things I don’t want to do. Decorating a home should be a fun experience, not a chore. I also don’t want to feel like I’m doing something wrong or about to be judged because of how my art is hung on the walls. So let’s keep it simple and remember this, your house is YOUR house and it should be styled in a way that makes YOU happy because this is where you live and spend your time.
I want to help break the stigma of design rules. I want you to feel comfortable to try new things and create joy in your home. No pressure. No judgment. There are no mistakes, only experiments. So let’s get that stack of art that’s been leaning on the wall or piled on the floor hung up on those walls. Don’t worry about nail holes, they can be filled. Let’s go wild.
So, in saying that, here is my suggestion of how to hang a successful gallery wall: Don’t overthink it. Let your creative side take control and stop judging yourself.
Here’s an example.
I collected several pieces of artwork to use in our gallery wall to be hung in my husband’s office. An eclectic mix of paintings, drawings and personal items that mean something to us in a variety of sizes and shapes. (If you want a more uniform look choose frames that are all the same color or go with a theme like all portraits or flowers to create a cohesive look. I lean towards sentimental pieces and unmatched frames but you should do what feels best for you.)
The first step was to pick a spot on the wall, any spot, and hang the first piece of art. I like to start with something large to give a good base to grow off of. In this case I also started in the corner which is an easy point to branch out from.
-The large art is a piece that my husband drew. I then added a few smaller pieces next to it and worked around the light switches. Each of those were gifts from friends.
Next I added a few more pieces. By grouping the art together you can see that a larger shape is starting to form on the wall. This shape can go in any which way. You can build up or down, across or diagonally. There is no wrong way to do this. The art doesn’t need to be perfectly spaced from one another and there doesn’t need to be straight lines.
I could even start another grouping in the opposite corner and have two collections of art on one wall.
Eventually I had a weird blank spot that none of the art I had on hand would fit in so I got creative. I found a design book we had on the shelf that had a nice cover and it filled the gap perfectly. It was easily hung up by hammering two very large nails next to eachother into the wall and balancing the book on top of those nails.
What do you have lying around that could be incorporated into a gallery wall?
-I also added this star chart I had made from Under Lucky Stars. A personal touch that means something to us.
Inevitably there were more unusual gaps between the art, a perfect time to display more unexpected items. By using other objects, and not just art, the wall becomes three dimensional and even more interesting. It almost makes you want to reach out and touch it.
-I chose a wicker bulls head that could hold a basketball, some baseball caps, a round clock and another design book.
The gallery wall could have been considered complete at any of these stages while creating it in my opinion. It’s an ever changing process. The way you choose to display art is completely up to you. However, if you are still feeling unsure and are looking for more unusual or creative ideas to give you a jumpstart, take a look at some of these:
At our previous home in Portland Oregon, gallery walls were an ever evolving situation which is another thing to remember, just because you’ve hung something up does not make it permanent. Keep trying new arrangements until it feels right. Here are three different gallery walls in the same room over the course of three years.
-First, a minimal (as minimal as I can get) gallery wall. Second, I switched up the art. Third, a version where all the art was combined and hung up with the frames touching.
One of my favorite gallery walls in our New Orleans rental wrapped around the corner of the room. I layered art by using extra-long nails to hang the smaller pieces in front of larger artwork.
A gallery wall is something that can take time. Don’t feel like you’re in a rush to fill the whole space. Start with just a few pieces and as you collect more continue to add them to the wall. Choose pieces that have meaning and are unique to you as a way to reflect your personality and life experiences. That way when you sit back and enjoy the wall you can reflect on each piece as they tell a story.
Most importantly, don’t stress, don’t second guess yourself and don’t be afraid to try something different. Life is too short to be serious. Have FUN.