10 Gallery Wall Design Ideas

Evelyn Long

Mar 12, 2021


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Thanks to cell phone technology, we all have high-resolution cameras in our pockets, which means we’re all taking more pictures than ever. The only downside of this penchant for amateur photography is that we end up with thousands of photographs and nowhere to display them. This fact is why gallery walls are becoming so popular and there’s no shortage of unique gallery wall ideas. 

If you’ve got some open wall space and plenty of pictures to hang, here are 10 of our favorite design ideas to help you build the perfect gallery wall. 

1. Pick Your Favorite Images

a variety of different hanging art pieces on a wall in a colorful living room

How many pictures do you have stored in your phone right now? Be honest — we won’t judge. The first task when it comes to creating the perfect gallery wall is to sort through all of them and pick your favorites. Figure out what you want to hang on your wall and enjoy seeing every time you pass. 

When it comes to gallery wall ideas, you’re not limited to the pictures you’ve taken. Branch out — start collecting artwork, pressed flowers, or anything that might fit your home’s aesthetic. 

2. Go Symmetrical

a woman hanging a black photo frame in line with others

What does your ideal gallery look like? Are the pictures all hanging in neat rows? Then the asymmetrical design will be the best one for you. You’ll need a couple of tools for this, like a level and a measuring tape or meter stick to ensure that everything hangs in straight lines, but it’s something that you can easily accomplish. 

If you don’t mind a little extra cleanup, consider investing in a chalk line. You can pick one up from your local hardware store. Wrap the string around two nails or tacks, snap it and leave behind a perfectly straight line of chalk dust that wipes off easily with a damp cloth once you finish. It’s easier and cleaner than trying to create a grid with a meter stick and a pencil. 

3. Go Asymmetrical

a colorful retro living room with asymmetrical gallery wall design

Who says everything needs to be perfectly neat and even when you’re designing a gallery wall? An asymmetrical look can be a fantastic way to give your house a look that is uniquely yours. 

The beautiful thing about an asymmetrical design is that you can do anything with it. Create a pattern. Hang your items any which-way. There are no rules, other than ensuring that you secure everything in the wall, so it doesn’t fall. 

4. Thrift for Antique Frames

a hanging gold frame with colorful ornately decorated plates hanging on the wall

If you’re hanging photos, frames can get expensive. Instead of spending your entire decorating budget on new frames, start hitting up local thrift stores. You can find some gorgeous antique frames for a fraction of what you’d pay at Ikea or other furniture stores. 

If you find a look you like, you can even build your entire gallery wall around a specific style of frame or artwork. You can make some fabulous finds at thrift stores if you don’t mind sorting through a lot of stuff that you’d never buy. 

5. Mix Your Media

hanging shelves, knickknacks, art, and plants

If you picture a gallery wall in your mind, what do you see? If the word “gallery” conjures up images of your local art museum, you need to toss out that idea. You aren’t limited to any type of artwork or photography when you’re creating your gallery wall. Feel free to mix up your media

Hang photographs next to thrift store paintings or artwork you’ve purchased from your favorite artist friends. Throw some knick-knacks or trinkets on small shelves, showcase your favorite books on floating shelves, or mount a few decoratively shaped mirrors to make a space look even more abundant. Your imagination — and your budget — are your only limits.

6. Add Some Text

retro art on shelves and hanging on the wall

Do you have a favorite quote, mantra, or affirmation that applies to your daily life? Why not include it in your gallery wall? Typography is a popular choice for gallery wall ideas, but there are a few things that you should skip when you’re choosing typography for your home. 

Make sure you’re buying or creating high-quality prints. We suggest opting for hand lettering or similar fonts rather than printed text. Hand lettering adds to the aesthetic of the gallery wall, and it’s something that you can customize to your liking or your look. 

7. Don’t Be Afraid of Color

a yellow gallery wall art

You don’t have to be afraid of color when creating a gallery wall — both in your artwork and in the wall itself. Take a close look at the kind of artwork and photos that you want to hang. What is the dominant color scheme? It might take a bit of observation to understand the perfect color, but once you know that, it’s easy to start putting the colorful puzzle together. 

You might think that you need to keep the wall white behind your gallery, so you don’t detract from the artwork, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Find an accent color that complements your dominant color scheme. Paint the room or just turn your gallery into an accent wall. 

8. They Don’t Have to Hang

a modern photograph resting on a wooden shelf

A gallery wall doesn’t necessarily require you to poke holes in your walls — or at least not as many as you might need otherwise. Instead of hanging each painting or photograph, hang some shelves. You’ll drill considerably fewer holes and still have plenty of space to create a unique gallery. 

Use your new shelves and lean each of the pieces against the wall. If the frames slide, prop them against small knick-knacks or line the shelf with contact paper to keep them from falling off. 

9. Focus on a Central Point

a large painting hung on a gallery wall

This option is another fun design choice that can turn your gallery wall into the focal point of your room. Choose one sizeable central object — a mirror, a piece of artwork, whatever appeals to your design sense — and build your gallery wall. 

This step is where proper mounting becomes essential. You need to secure large pieces of wall art to a framing stud to prevent them from pulling free and falling to the floor. 

10. Get Moving

a woman taking a picture of outdoor art on her iPhone

Living in the modern age means that we can live out our Harry Potter fantasies with moving photographs on the wall. This choice can be expensive, but you can fill your wall with digital frames that rotate through hundreds or thousands of photos — your entire collection if you feel so inclined. 

With basic digital picture frames, you’ll need to select the images you want to display and load them manually. If you’re keen on investing in your gallery wall, look into wifi-enabled picture frames that you can sync to your cloud storage, so you’ll never get tired of the images showcased in your gallery.

When it comes to gallery wall ideas, these are all purely suggestions. Every decision, from the photos you hang to the format of the wall and even the color of the room itself, is up to you. There is no wrong way to design your perfect gallery wall. All you need to do is get started.

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