Monday, January 2, 2012

50 Gallery Wall Tips & Tricks

When my girl, Amanda, was in my neck of the woods for the holiday season, we decided to get together and do some type of project.  You know, because that is what bloggers do right?

Amanda's sister was looking for a bit of help with a gallery wall in her bedroom.  So that's where we focused our time.  And I was beyond excited about this since I really need help in the gallery wall department and Amanda is a pro!

Wait.  What?  For someone who has a love for both photography and her home, you would think that I would have seventeen gallery walls.  But nope, my OCD "even" self, tried a gallery wall a couple of years ago and I ended up with something uniform and simple....


And I have longed for something grand and random.  Maybe something down the stairs?  Down the hall?  Something in the playroom?  Or maybe above the sofa in our future lower level family room? 

I have even played with a variety of old and thrift store frames that I have been saving over the years, laying them out in random patterns on the floor.  And you know what happens every single time?  It turns into a perfect square or rectangle.  For some reason, this gal has a hard time making randomness.... I needed a lesson!

We started out with a bare wall, as most would.


Amanda and her sister had already framed some pieces of art and had a number of pieces to select from.  They all had something in common, although, this isn't always necessary when doing a gallery wall.  Just select pieces that you love and that make you happy!

The first thing Amanda did, was clear an area in front of the wall on the floor, and start laying out the frames in a random pattern.  She made this look so easy.  She also mentioned you could take another approach of tracing each frame onto paper and taping the templates randomly on the wall until you get the desired look.  We didn't do that this time, but it is totally another option.

Once she had her desired look on the floor, she just started picking up each frame from the floor and hanging it in the same spot on the wall.


Here were the tips I had learned as she worked her gallery wall magic:
  • Don't leave too much space between the frames.  1-2 inches is about perfect.  
  • Make sure you get a pattern figured out that you love before putting holes in your walls.  Do this by either laying it out on the floor or taping templates to you walls.
  • It's not always necessary {we didn't this time but you will barely notice the frames of a different color since the artwork matches so wonderfully}, but you may like to use frames that are uniform in color.  Different shapes and sizes and detailing to the frames are great for visual interest, it's the color that keeps a uniform look. 
  • Add matting to your art.  Even if it's just a scribbled watercolor painting from your two year old, matting it will make it look like a priceless piece of wall art!

As I watched at how easy and natural this whole process for her was, I was in complete awe watching the transformation take place in such a short amount of time.  In less than an hour {even with some stops to listen to my excessive chatting}, she went from this:


To this!


When playing with her perfectly imperfect pattern, she started with the boldest frame in the middle, and worked her way out from there.


Most of the art is either abstract or nature related.  All of the pieces carry similar tones which really brought the whole display together.  My heart smiled!


I am so inspired now to tackle my own gallery wall.  For realz this time.  And it will be random.  I am thinking lots and lots of random thoughts....

So stay tuned as I share the outcome of my tutorial with Amanda.  {As soon as our weather allows me to whip out the spray paint that is}.  I have the perfect spot just waiting for some gallery wall lovin'.

What other gallery wall tips and tricks have worked well for you?  Am I the only gal that can't seem to do random things like this because of an "even disorder"?  Anyone have any great Etsy shop recommendations as I begin searching for some perfect art pieces?



50 comments:

  1. Great tutorial and summary points. I too struggle to make everything in my home even! I don't do well with randomness but LOVE it when I see it in other peoples spaces. :)

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  2. I tried this many times, but the pointers here help, so I'm going to give it another try!

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  3. her pattern isn't so much random, as circular with squarish items. Maybe try drawing or imagining a free-form oval to help your brain get out of the 'square' suggestion? :)

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  4. I know what you mean about wanting randomness but ending up with evenness! I have loved the gallery walls that I've seen on YHL and Bower Power, but I have been nervous to tackle one of my own. (And I don't think I've amassed enough frames yet!) Can't wait to see how yours turns out! :)

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  5. Gorgeous! I totally want to try a gallery wall but with family photos. It terrifies me! Thanks for the inspiration and great ideas though, I really want to try it myself.

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  6. I definitely have "symmetry" issues also! Every time I try to do a gallery wall it ends up a perfect square or rectangle and pretty boring. I'm going to keep trying though!

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  7. LOVE the spacing tip! I've been tackling a layout for my own wall for what seems like MONTHS now and I couldn't commit to spacing or arrangement -- but I totally agree -- closer seems better! <3 and I ADORE the bold frame in the center!

    xoXOxo
    Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

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  8. I have a little gallery hallway in our home, and I totally agree with the spacing tip, although I never could have articulated it. :)

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  9. I laid out wrapping paper with the pattern face down and then laid my frames on it until I had a design I liked. Then I traced the pictures and marked which square/rectangle was which pic, and taped the wrapping paper to the wall. From there I moved the paper until I had it where I wanted it. Then I took nails and put them through the paper where each picture was drawn. Rip down the paper and hang the pics! Done! :) I hope that helps someone :)

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  10. I finished my kitchen gallery wall with silly food artwork.

    http://www.bigdandme.com/2011/09/the-kitchen-art-wall-reveal-finally/

    My suggestion is if you can't find it, make it and....just put it up, most people will be in awe of your wall even if you notice the one picture that's slightly crooked all the time.

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  11. Randomness is good, but there's something to be said for symmetry as well. I love your gorgeous living room arrangement, and it has inspired me to 'copy' it for our empty living room wall in the near future.

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  12. You are right; they did make it look easy. I agree that uniform frames help with a appealing aesthetic. All of our frames are black with white mats and it pulls the photos together well. I have another wall that is screaming for attention. Thank you for reminding me of that.

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  13. Haha I just hung up some old cheap shadow boxes that I covered in fabric and it took every fiber of my being not so hang them in a perfect pattern. I have the same problem. They still ended up fairly symmetrical, but more random than I usually do! It's something I'll have to work on too!!

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  14. I recently did a gallery wall of my own and was surprised at how much easier it was in real life than it was in my mind! here's a peek: http://www.andthen-shesnapped.com/2011/11/i-made-gallery-wall-all-by-myself.html

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  15. I love random! It makes it unique, but I still feel it gives it that uniform look too! Thanks for the tips!

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  16. I LOVE how she used different types/styles of frames! I ve been DYING to get our family photos and art up on our hallway wall, but I was dreading the cost of having to buy lots of the same themed frames! This gives me hope! Thanks so much for posting!

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  17. I bought this frame set (http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?SKU=17932616) and have hung it above our sofa. I love it! My only problem is that I want to add more frames to it...I'll have to do some practicing before adding more holes!

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  18. just found your blog today and loving it already...I've had similar anxiety about the gallery wall as we've redecorated the living room...thank you for this!

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  19. The wall art looks great. Boldest in the middle really works!

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  20. Very nice! I'm considering one of these in our bedroom as well. Here's a cool tip I found on Pinterest about hanging frames: http://mmscrapshoppe.blogspot.com/2011/07/picture-frame-hanging-tip.html

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  21. That's a great post. I've shared some tips myself as I love gallary walls. Once I have the artwork determined, I'm doing mine too. As for Etsy, I recently found Pixie Pixels. Good luck!

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/pixiepixels?ref=pr_faveshops

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  22. I don't know that I could ever do something that random. My husband is always laughing at me because I say things like "They should standardized board game boxes" and "I wish they would make a city where all the skyscraprs where the same height" Lol. I do love gallery walls though. :)

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  23. I have read through the sources list, but I can't find your cream sofa listed. Help...I'm buying a new sofa this week!

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  24. what is matting?

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  25. @Kellie,

    We actually got it at a Five Day Furniture a couple of years ago. It was steeply discounted. We learned a lesson.

    The style of the couch is great and exactly what we were looking for, however, the pillows on the back get slouchy because they are filled with stuffing {not an actual cushion} and are not attached. The covers to the seat cushions are too big and often needs to be tucked in to look more streamlined and the skirt constantly frays. I wish we would have invested in a better piece instead of going with a a great price on what seamed like a great piece of furniture. Live and learn I say! Just keep note of those things when looking for yours so you have better luck that we did! :)

    xoxo,
    Jen

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    Replies
    1. I am a very picky couch person. I have moved alot so bought alot of couches. also have bought them for my mother my since I was little. She has always refrenced me for her furniture because she says she has no style and doesnt know how I got mine. I have found some of the best quality couches are from Ashley Furniture. Expencive yes but a well benefiting investment.

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  26. i have a gallery of old black and white photographs in black frames (some of them matted, some not) hung in a random order. I used both methods you mentioned. In the first round of pictures I used the lay it out on the floor method. When I recently added additional pictures to either side of the original layout, I used the blank paper in the size of the frames, taping the paper to the wall to figure out what I liked best. So I would remember which framed photo corresponded to which paper, I wrote the name(s) of the people in the photograph. Pinterest also has some links to photo gallery layouts.

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  27. I have a gallery in my hall. I put a piece of painters tape to act as a guide and hung randomly on top and on the bottom. So everything starts from the same point, but the tops (or bottoms) of the frames are random.

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  28. I just finished my very first gallery wall this weekend....I started with a 16X20 canvas wrap of our family and then the rest of the pictures were from the same photo shoot with black frames. I layed it on the floor and then started hanging.....it turned out great and I have a little OCD with things being even, so this was good for me as well. Good luck!

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  29. Thanks!! I love the 'uniform' gallery look, I don't think I have enough panache to make the haphazard type look stylish, it'd just look like I had an accident with a hammer and some nails, haha!

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  30. Very nice gallerywall indeed! But if you have a thing for patterns :) (as I do) you can see that there is a "pattern in the randomness"... Big and bold frame in the middle and then a smaller and a bigger frame hang in pairs above, below and to the upper and lower left/right around that middle one! So thinking in imperfect patterns can still help you achieve randomness! :)

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  31. I love it! I have a gallery wall but I didn't have to get too creative as it's a limited space. The frames take up the whole wall!

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  32. It looks wonderful Jen!! This post couldn't have been timed more perfectly, I am in the planning process of a photo wall myself and love the tips. Keep them coming!

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  33. Hi Jen! Happy New Year! Great tips for a gallery wall, maybe I'll getting around to posting mine on my blog.

    I was wondering if you will be doing any 'get organized' posts this year.

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  34. Looks like a fish. Which is awesome since they are nature related. May have been subconscious, but a great look!

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  35. @25 Anonymous: http://daystarvisions.com/Docs/Tuts/Matting/pg1.html

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  36. My rule is just go with it. I see all these diagrams and cutting out paper and laying it out. No way, I just start with my favorite and add to it. Its just a nail hole! I did my stair wall as my gallery, and the best part of doing it so freely is that I can easily add to it. My only requirement is that the frame is black, doesn't matter the size or shape. And i chose black because my frames come from the thrift store or dollar store and if they are some odd color, black is the easiest to cover with!

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  37. Love the idea. I want to do something like that in my stair way. The wall is blank but I want to put up family pictures going as far back as great grandparents up to the present!

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  38. Your gallery wall looks fantastic -- I love your art too!

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  39. This is what I just emailed you about! Sounds like a challenge to me;)

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  40. Thanks so much for featuring this gallery wall with my art! xo - Christine from Mai Autumn

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  41. Oooh, Mai Autumn, which one is yours? And where can I find it? The prints in the post are beautiful. I think I want them all!

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  42. Mine are in the top left and also to the right of the center piece - an abstract black and white landscape - (http://shop.maiautumn.com/collections/artwork/products/snowfield) and the bright green landscape - (http://shop.maiautumn.com/collections/artwork/products/delicate)
    Thanks! :) They are all so gorgeous! I'm honored to be included!

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  43. Ha! I DON'T struggle with "order-disorder" but still have trouble making "random" look awesome. The idea of putting the boldest one in the middle and working out is WONDERFUL! Thank you!

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  44. I was planning on doing this in my bedroom and was trying to figure out how. I never thought about tracing the frames and taping them. Thanks for the tips!

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  45. I'm a big fan of a gallery wall :) I recently visited Ashville, NC and found some great artists. Here are my two favorites: http://www.deonafish.com/portfolio.html
    http://sarahfaulkner.com/paintings.html
    Love how whimsical their work is!

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  46. Also, another tip - if you end up tracing the frame and hanging up the paper, you can put the nail right through the paper (after measuring) then when you tear the paper away you know your picture will hang right where you want it!

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  47. I did a gallery wall in my very small front entryway. It is not at all uniform and very 'ecclectic' (I guess would be the best word for it). I am very much like you where I want everything in nice neat rows and all the same and symmetrical. I really went outside the box on this one! :)

    http://laurascraftylife.blogspot.com/2011/09/gallery-wall.html

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  48. Hi! Although I love the gallery wall, I love your "organized" wall also! I was wondering what size frames, mats, and pictures that you used. I am trying to determine what size pictures to order from our family photo session. Thanks so much for the info!

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