Tips on creating a gallery wall and choosing the artwork

A gallery wall is a classic but still a bold way how to display artwork and decorate a room in the process. You can use it in big or small spaces – the only difference will be the size of the artwork. The only thing is, you need to master the skill of creating gallery walls so it looks coherent despite the fact that every piece is different. Keep reading to learn more!

Tips on how to layout a gallery wall

Every artwork is different, and that’s why there is no “one size fits all” solution. And that is also the beauty of a gallery wall – it will always be unique and personalized to the space. However, there are tips that you can keep in mind when creating your personal gallery wall so it looks intentional and harmonious.

Create the layout with paper on the floor

First things first! Before you even start planning your layout, you need to have a draft of it. If you don’t have the artwork yet, you can start by sketching it out on paper and then looking for artwork that fits your sketch. If you already have some frames or art you know you want on the gallery wall, trace them on kraft paper or any other scrap paper you have, and arrange the gallery wall on the floor with the kraft paper replicas. When you are satisfied with the layout on the floor, add the paper replicas to the wall and check do you still like the layout. If needed, make some tweaks. Only when you are satisfied with the paper draft, start adding the real artwork to the wall.

Start with the largest piece

When you are planning a gallery wall, start with the largest piece. It will be the “weight” of your installation. There are several options for where to place it in the composition.

Center

The center position for the main piece is acceptable if the arrangement is having a specific shape where it goes from the largest to smallest starting from the middle and going out on both sides. Otherwise adding the largest piece in the center will leave the gallery wall feeling a bit boring and lacking a surprise element.

Slightly off center

However great place for the largest piece is slightly off-center. If you add it to the side of the composition, it will not look balanced with the rest of the composition. The gallery wall will just look “off”. So, try to incorporate it near the middle, but not as a central piece. It is also good to avoid a central piece altogether, to make a good-looking gallery wall.

Don’t be afraid to cluster smaller pieces together

There might be some pieces that you want to add to the wall that is on the smaller side. To create a coherent look, try creating a shape with the smaller pieces! For example, create a rectangle of four smaller frames and incorporate that rectangle shape into the wall.

Choose a form for the gallery wall

Gallery walls can have different forms or shapes. It can have a solid border, for example, you can surely see when all the frames are arranged in a rectangle or even a square or circle. Then there are freeform gallery walls, for example, the general shape is a rectangle but it doesn’t have strict borders – some art pieces on the gallery wall go outside the imagined frame. A gallery wall can also be art displayed in a line.

To get inspiration, you can find different ideas for layouts on the internet.

Space out evenly

The gallery wall should feel intentional and pleasing to the eye. And one of the tricks how to get that feeling is spacing the artwork evenly. You can afford a little bigger space between larger art pieces, but overall try to have a feeling that all the spaces are even.

Spread out the similarities through the gallery wall

In a good gallery wall, you will have some similar elements between the art pieces. But not all pieces will have the same elements. So, a wise thing to do is to place the art pieces with similar elements far from each other. It can also relate to the frames and size. But it can also be a pattern, a color, or a motif. The exception is if you are going for a gradient gallery wall, which is also a cool idea by itself.

Tips on how to choose artwork

The artwork is a very personal collection. You want pieces that speak to you and ones that go well with the interior of your home. Even though it is impossible to say what exact pieces you need to buy, there are some tips you can implement when looking for artwork.

Personal artwork from print on demand

Let’s start with the most personal option (except for an actual artist painting something you have personally ordered) – print on demand wall decor. That includes canvas and posters, both can be framed or not framed. For posters, it is best to always choose them framed while canvases will look great bare as well as framed.

If you choose canvas, there are larger size options – from really big to really small. Posters will usually have the standard paper sizes, for example, A2, A3, A4, A5, etc.

The art you choose for print on demand wall decor can be anything – a replica, a photo you took, a graphic design, a quote, etc. You can use your imagination and have whatever personal design you want.

If you like this option, be sure to check out printseekers.com ! They are a print on demand supplier, that offers canvases and posters, as well as other print on demand items, like t-shirts, hoodies, tote bags, wallpaper, etc. They have high-quality products, great customer service, and good reviews.

Have a theme

Another way how to pick out artwork is to follow a theme. It can be anything you like and it can be as obvious as you like. For example, a sea theme will be easily noticeable, as a food theme might be a little more difficult to spot. The theme can also be an art style, for example, Art Deco, Baroque, impressionism, color, or culture.

Collect over time

The most valuable gallery wall for you will be one that you have collected over time – it will have pieces with a story of how you got it or from who you got it. Even if you cannot put together a gallery wall of such items right now, you can start working on it and collecting pieces that have meaning for you.

Choose different shapes, frames, and objects

Go outside the frame and don’t focus only on framed or drawn artwork. Look for pieces of different shapes and forms, as well as use different objects, for example, mirrors, hats, figurines, wall hangings, etc. It is definitely a place for your imagination.

Buy from Etsy

And last but not least, if you are feeling uninspired but want a gallery wall created soon, just go on Etsy and find already a curated gallery wall. Often those will be prints that go well together and create a beautiful, coherent gallery wall.

In conclusion

Creating a gallery wall will take some time if you haven’t got the pieces yet. But no worries, that is half the fun! Sourcing special items with a personal story and making them a part of something bigger. The other half is figuring out how to put all the items together so they look coherent. And the last step is taking a step back and appreciating your hard work. Have fun!

Huynh Nguyen

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