Contemporary interior designers absolutely love the gallery wall — a wall space devoted to floor-to-ceiling photographs, artwork and other hangings — because it turns an otherwise bare and unwelcoming surface into an intriguing work of art. Here are some tips for how to create the perfect gallery wall using a mix of personal mementos, box signs, lighted letters and other unique wall hangings.
A properly designed gallery wall gives your room the feeling that it has been fully utilized and added to over time. The last thing you want is a photo or art wall that appears to have been staged. This feels inauthentic and is counter to the goal of the design — to share your favorite pictures, phrases and life’s relics with everyone who passes through your home. By collecting mementos from all the places you’ve been and all the things you’ve done in life and pairing them with beautiful, high-quality artwork from professionals, you can create something truly inspiring.
First and foremost, you’ll want to gather up your artwork. We suggest pairing cool wall hangings, like vintage-inspired advertising pieces, unique wrought iron mirrors or box signs, and other keepsakes you may have been saving for a special project. Some great ideas for truly personal gallery walls include framing your wedding invitations or programs, concert tickets, special playing cards, kids’ artwork, immigration certificate, family photos, love notes, doodles or post cards. Be sure to invest in the right framing and matting for an upscale look.
You’ll also want to think outside the confines of the wall. Work in texture and dimension with lighted marquee letters that spell out your favorite word or rustic metal letters with your initials or monogram. Candle wall sconces, wall mirrors, clocks and other decorative home accents such as taxidermy or a ship’s wheel can also help bring a dramatic, three-dimensional touch to your stunning final product. Don’t be afraid to think differently when it comes to choosing a wall, either. The stairway, kitchen or bedroom are just as good a space as any for your gallery wall.
Quick tips for creating a gallery wall that nails it:
- Pick a wall that makes a great focal point — above the fireplace, behind a large piece of furniture or directly across from the room’s entrance point.
- Splurge on frames or shop around for high-quality, secondhand frames. Framing can add to the appeal of artwork and can be customized to each piece. Matting is another great way to ensure that framing looks clean and classy.
- Choose a central statement piece or two. This way, you can design your gallery wall outward and around the larger, more eye-catching artwork.
- Personalize it. In addition to the many stunning wall hangings available in stores like Iron Accents, pepper your gallery wall with personalized pieces, like family photos and children’s artwork.
- Don’t get hung up on measurements. The beauty of a gallery wall is that it’s its own work of art — don’t make the process too strategic or mathematical, or you’ll lose out on the eclectic, collected feel and will instead create a space that looks staged.