I don’t think anybody here can deny that gallery walls are huge right now. There’s just something about a perfectly balanced collection of art that screams chic design. As a designer, this is the number one request I get with most of my clients. They want a perfect gallery wall but aren’t quite sure how to tie one together. I get that. Gallery walls can be pretty scary to start. Even I get intimidated from time to time, especially if a client has a ridiculously tight budget. So I compiled a list of 5 tips to help you design the perfect Gallery Wall that will WOW your guests.
There’s just something about a perfectly balanced collection of art that screams chic design.
Know your space, and size accordingly.
Many of us tend to forget that your gallery wall can’t be bigger than the actual wall. Regardless of how tempting it may be, you don’t need several 30″ X 40″ prints on a five foot wall. Keep proportions in mind when selecting your art. You should also try to avoid buying to many photos. I’ve seen some pretty powerful gallery walls that didn’t take up much space. If you’re concerned about buying too much art, or not enough, it may be a good idea to plan out your gallery wall before making any purchases. This way you have a general idea of what sizes and how many you may need.
Have realistic expectations with your budget.
As much as I hate to say it, art is expensive. Aside from sofas, Art is usually the second largest category in the budget. If you’re trying to get a full and abundant gallery wall with $200, be aware it is going to be tough. It’s definitely not impossible, stay tuned for my upcoming post on The best places to build your gallery wall on a budget. Just know you’re going to have to be creative. If I could suggest to anyone a budget for the gallery wall, I’d strongly encourage you to have between $500-$1000 dedicated to your art. Can you do it for less? Absolutely. But a larger budget allows for you to get some unique pieces that will really stand out. You’ll also be able to get nice frames, which have just as much impact as the pieces themselves. And of course, you wont have any reservations about buying several pieces of art.
Have a combo of smaller and larger pieces.
So I’ve touched on the “preparation”, if you will, of designing a gallery wall so now we are getting to the meat and potatoes of the design. One of the key elements of a great gallery wall is variety. The “random but put together” look is what draws us in. So make sure your have a variety of sizes. I’ve found that two small pieces paired beside one large piece has a really great balance.
Add even more variety, with some unity.
Variety of sizes: CHECK. Now you need a variety of pieces. This may seem very general and it is. Find pieces you love, but are different. For example, a great gallery wall is going to have a mixture of abstract art, objective art, maybe some typography, photography, or even sculptural art. Mirrors are really awesome to incorporate into your gallery walls as well. You want to have all kinds of stuff in your gallery. The key to uniting all of the pieces is to have a solid color scheme. Don’t feel like the color scheme is going to restrict you though. If a piece of art has an “outlier color” that’s nothing to get hung up on. But it’s nice when your art is unified with 4 or 5 colors. Having at least 4 colors in your scheme gives you lots of options for variety while still providing guidelines. Your gallery wall is a work of art in itself.
Balance Balance Balance.
This last one can make or break your gallery wall. It has to be balanced. Whether you are “artfully inclined” or not, if you look at your wall and it doesn’t feel right, it’s not balanced. One way to make sure your wall is balanced is to think of your wall like a see-saw. Really large pieces, and really dark pieces, are going to weigh more than smaller andl lighter pieces. To keep the see-saw balanced try to keep a somewhat equal amount of “weight” on each side. You also want to gallery to appear level, so try to avoid your art creeping upwards or downwards too much. I’m definitely not saying making symmetrical, though those can have a very strong effect too. Just make it even.
It probably goes without saying that it’s a good idea to always lay out your art before hammering a nail. Keep these tips in mind, but more importantly, make sure it’s how your like it. Break the rules if you want. In the end your gallery wall is your own personal work of art.