Finally, after living in my apartment for six months, my living room gallery wall is up and running. It took me a while to figure out how I wanted to display my artwork and which pieces I wanted to feature, but now that everything is hung, I’m happy with the results.
This was the largest gallery wall I’ve ever hung, and I learned some valuable lessons along the way. If you’re about to take on a similar project, I’m sharing five of my top takeaways. Happy hammering!
There is always trial and error
I’ve now hung gallery walls in all five of my past apartments. Does this mean I can tackle them in my sleep? No! Every space I’ve lived in has been different in terms of wall material, size, furniture configuration, and so on. These are all factors that need to be taken into consideration at the start of this project.
For example, when I first constructed a gallery wall in my current apartment, I hung it over my sofa as I had done in a past space — but I quickly realized that I made the display too small. Because my loveseat isn’t that wide, there was still a lot of wall space left over after I finished hammering. I realized I needed to go bigger, and so I really spread all of my pieces out across the wall above and next to my sofa. This also meant that I definitely had some nail holes to fill after moving things around. Trust me when I say that spackle works wonders.
Varying frame size, shape, and color is extra fun
I’m personally a fan of gallery walls that are more eclectic in appearance yet still pull from complementary colors. In an ideal world, this might be achieved by buying various art pieces over time and from a variety of sources — like vintage stores, flea markets, art websites, or shops you find while traveling. But you can definitely order a bunch of pieces at once and still make your space look curated by opting for a variety of frame sizes and finishes. Many of my pieces come from Artfully Walls, which offers a framing option with over 20 wooden and metal frame choices. There are also several finishing options, from matted to a float mount with deckled edges.
Mixing-and-matching pieces that are different sizes and orientations is important. The largest piece on my gallery wall measures 16 inches by 20 inches, and I chose to hang that toward the bottom left of my grid. I then opted for a mix of frames that are smaller than this piece but still significantly varied in size. Including a variety of sizes and orientations adds more visual interest to your wall and also makes it easier to incorporate a wide variety of artwork.
Mirrors and other objects are always a winning solution
I haven’t always hung mirrors or other small sculptural objects as part of my gallery walls, but I did this time around and really appreciate how much dimension they add to the overall look. I picked up a small mirror during a trip to London and another from a favorite online vintage shop. Just be open to finding items anywhere you go, and you’re likely to stumble upon little gems like these! Mirrors are perfect for filling empty space and come in so many shapes and finishes.
You don’t need to stick to one color scheme
My gallery wall features a lot of black, white, and gold, and then there’s a floral print with lots of blues and greens. Well, that was intentional — when I started to hang pieces, I realized that sticking with one specific color scheme was making the wall appear too moody for my liking. So in went the beautiful floral piece from artist Jennifer Allevato, and my wall instantly felt more me. I love the cheery touch her work adds.
When in doubt, spread pieces out
Placing frames too close together is a no-no when it comes to hanging a gallery wall. Allow a few inches of breathing room between each frame for a better visual result. That said, don’t place anything too far apart, either. If you’re spacing things out a ton because you’re struggling to fill your wall space, it may be time to buy some more art.