5 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Gallery Wall Art
Most successful gallery walls carefully walk the line between being intentional and collected over time, which is a prospect that can be overwhelming. Use these tried-and-true tips to pick the perfect art for your gallery wall.
When setting out to design a gallery wall, remember that it is supposed to be a labor of love. The artwork you choose should express your interests and style; it should tell your story. In fact, your ultimate goal should be to create a display that makes you happy every time you see it. Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong answer to a gallery wall. It can be made up of 6 pieces or 16, be monochromatic or full of color, and even include sculpture or photography. Whatever you say, goes. So have fun!
How to Start
An easy way to begin is to let an existing piece of art serve as the backbone of your gallery wall. For example, if you have a favorite piece that you haven’t been able to find the right spot for yet, this is the perfect opportunity to use it. Allow it to anchor the entire display — it can set the tone for color as well as style.
When building a gallery wall from scratch, there are no limits to what can be done. Take time to consider all your options. Look at many different styles of art to find out what you like. For instance, are you drawn to photo art? How about bold graphic art? Is there a particular combination of texture and color you find attractive? Once you’ve thoroughly explored the possibilities, then you can start fine-tuning until you hit on a style or color palette that you love.
Location, Location, Location
You don’t need huge amounts of wallspace to have a gallery wall that makes an impact. In fact, try to find an odd corner or awkward nook that provides an interesting backdrop. Hallways, stairwells and entryways all make great choices. Particularly nice gallery wall settings are often found in older homes that have a sense of history through various updates over time. Be sure to factor in window and door frames when plotting out your design.
Variety is Key
Don’t be afraid to mix things up, regardless of your gallery wall theme. Whether you’re dealing with seasonal hues, photo prints, or pieces by local artists, it’s important to play with size, color and scale. For instance, if portraits are a passion of yours, mix full body photos and headshots with images of smaller details. If abstract art is what you enjoy, throw in some straightforward pieces to avoid your gallery looking too busy.
For a gallery wall full of character, you can’t go wrong with mixed media. Pair watercolor artwork with oil paintings, graphic text pieces and old prints for a display that will catch the eye. To keep the grouping cohesive, be sure each piece shares a common color.
Sculptural pieces can be included for texture and added interest. Or mix frame styles to give the appearance of a collection gathered over time. Switch up frame colors and widths, or even try hanging a canvas without a frame.
Tune Into Your Space
It goes without saying that what works well in one room may not work at all in another. For example, designing a gallery wall for your living room or bedroom is very different from designing one for a child’s room. Depending on the space, there may be opportunities to be bold or playful — take them. In addition, try to hold more sophisticated pieces for locations with the highest payoff.
In any room, your gallery wall’s color palette can be established based on the surrounding furnishings, rugs and wall colors. Or do the opposite and let your collection of art influence the room’s color scheme. To accentuate hues inspired by the artwork, coordinate accessories like pillows, throws and tabletop decor. For gallery walls in compact spaces, consider incorporating a mirror or two to enhance light and make the area feel bigger. Conversely, make a tall wall feel smaller by using an oversized print as the anchor for a gallery wall. Filling large sections of empty wall space can bring a sense of coziness to a large room.
Every single piece of artwork has its own unique story, which can make unifying a collection difficult. Luckily, there are ways to connect works that lack an obvious thread. The key to blending seemingly unlike artwork is in the way they are presented. For example, try framing them all in the same color and style mat and frame to create cohesion.