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5 Steps to Curate the Perfect Gallery Wall

13 Oct 2021

Most of us have probably had those moments in our homes when we have been trying to populate our spaces with items, only for one or two spots to remain annoyingly… awkward. You know the ones. And if there’s a wall in your home that has stayed unoccupied for months on end, it might have crossed your mind to create a gallery wall out of it.

But not so fast. There’s more to creating a truly effective and compelling gallery wall than simply getting together a bunch of your favourite paintings, prints and family photographs. 

So, here are some of the steps we recommend you take to master the ‘art’ of the gallery wall. 

1. Consider Your Personal Tastes

It might seem like the most obvious advice to give, but it is important to bear in mind that this is your gallery wall, and it should therefore feel personally captivating and significant to you. The curation of a gallery wall isn’t a moment to get too worked up about whether your local white-cube modern art gallery would approve of it – unless you’re specifically aiming for that aesthetic. 

Naturally, it is also possible when assembling a gallery wall to go too far in the other direction – simply gathering together random ‘bits and bobs’ that you might love, but that don’t go together very well. 

This is why we recommend an approach of ‘complementary diversity’ to your gallery wall layout. By this, we mean bringing together pieces of a variety of styles, sizes, shapes and mediums, but that also enhance each other and say something about your life and past. 

2. Measure Up the Space 

It’s easy to imagine that in today’s postmodern world (or should that be post-postmodern?), “anything goes”. But following at least some rules with your gallery wall layout will help ensure it doesn’t resemble a random jumble of items you simply couldn’t fit in anywhere else. 

If, for instance, like a lot of other people who create a gallery wall in their homes, you decide to add interest by mixing and matching a variety of both horizontal and vertical pieces, you should check that the spaces between them are consistent. 

Exactly how much space you allow will partly depend on how much overall wall space you have. But as a broad rule, we suggest aiming for about three to eight inches between each item, on all sides.

3. Gather Together Both Old and New

Creativity is all about drawing together elements that we might not initially think belong together. But of course, you also probably won’t want your gallery wall to seem like a completely disorganised selection of objects. It can therefore be a very good idea to assemble your gallery wall from a mix of both familiar and brand-new items. 

You might opt to begin with objects that are particularly known and special to you – those framed and mounted postcards from your visit to Gibraltar, for instance, or a family heirloom, or even a map or photo of the location you and your beloved first met. 

But after that, you might start to think about what you’re missing from your present collection of available pieces for your gallery wall, so that you can look to acquire them. 

Maybe you could do with some intriguing and earthy ‘landscape’ pieces, such as this Tidal Flow II Wall Art or some Snowy Scene Framed Wall Art? Or perhaps you like the idea of incorporating a sign with a playful slogan, such as “Nobody Gets Out Sober” or Remember As Far As Anybody Knows We Are a Nice Normal Family? Those of you who relate to these messages will know who you are…

4. Test Out Item Placement

So, you know that you really love certain items, but how can you be sure that mounted print will go well next to that figure sculpture? Or that those family holiday snaps will complement the abstract painted canvas your son or daughter created for their art degree? 

There’s only one way to find out; testing out your gallery wall layout for real. The term ‘for real’ here could be applied pretty loosely; Pinterest, for example, is a great social platform on which to bring items together virtually to see how they would look in one place. 

But you might also try measuring the total amount of space on your gallery wall, and then mapping those dimensions on the floor, marked out with painter’s tape. This would then give you the space in which to literally lay out the pieces, so that you can step away and assess how well they complement each other. Don’t forget to take photos so that you can try out different possible layouts for your final gallery wall.

5. Don’t Look Purely For ‘Artwork’

Finally – and this is an important tip – there is no need to restrict your gallery wall ideas to artworks with a capital ‘A’. Again, you’re not trying to directly compete here with Tate Modern, even if you might take aesthetic inspiration from art exhibitions you have previously visited. 

This freewheeling mindset opens the way for pieces that may be practical, but which also fit in visually with your wider gallery wall. Think such items as our own Gold Circles Mirror, Beetle Wall Mirror, or Rainbow Iron Clock that you might have considered for the given space before you even decided to start creating a gallery wall. 

Perfecting your gallery wall layout is unlikely to be the work of a moment; indeed, continually rearranging the pieces displayed in this part of your home can get quite addictive.

But this, of course, is central to what makes such a space so fascinating; there are as many gallery wall ideas as there are people who love gallery walls. So, don’t be afraid to keep experimenting, to create a gallery wall – or several – that really is your own. 

Up next: Looking for more home inspiration? Get familiar with the latest autumn decor trends.

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