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Create a Gallery Wall That Looks Like a Designer Did It!

Have you struggled with how to even start the process of setting up your gallery wall? I have an EASY process!

Does it seem too complicated? I have an easy formula!

Let’s start with where to begin first.

Find a piece of artwork – just one – and build around it!

You will be surprised how easy it is.

Why Gallery Walls are a Great Option

Fill a large wall with a gallery wall of framed picturesgallery-wall-on-wall-painted-with-benjamin-moore-quiet-moments-bronze-canopy-bed

Gallery walls are an amazing wall décor option for a variety of reasons:

  1. Inexpensively fills a large wall
  2. Creates visual interest in a room
  3. Great option for displaying family photos
  4. Artfully display personal photography
  5. Display not only framed items, but objects too

If you don’t have an interior design degree, but want your gallery wall to look like they do in magazines – I have the secret to success.  

There is one basic rule that works every time!

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Create a Gallery Wall That Looks Like a Designer Did It!

Post contains hand selected products, with some affiliate marketing links {full disclosure here} 

The Secret: Create Horizontal Lines

Do you want to know the main rule/secret to how I layout my gallery walls?

It sounds complicated, but is really very simple:

“Layout your frames by using a base of horizontal lines that anchor multiple objects”

Tracey, what does that mean?  I’ll show you with my gallery wall! 

See what I mean? As you layout your items, place several at the same height using either the bottom or top of the frame. 

It provides an anchor for the art and the eye. 

Even though this group of artwork is different shapes and sizes there is a substantial foundation to it.

How to Hang an Art Gallery Wall

Important: Use an uneven number of items

My gallery wall has the lucky number 13! Think in 5, 7, 9, 11 depending on the size of the space you are trying to fill. If you don’t have an uneven number, then plan to add one object later and leave space for it at one of the ends.

How-To Create a Gallery Wall

The picture below was the beginning of this gallery wall a few years ago and you can see my first instinct was to create a blocked symmetrical look.

Instead after several layouts I ended up with an asymmetrical layout that I think visually looks more interesting.

Plus I’ve been able to add artwork as the years have progressed, which would have been much harder to do in a blocked design.

Supplies
  1. Pencil
  2. Hammer
  3. Wrapping or craft paper
  4. Scissors
  5. Tape Measure
  6. Level
  7. Painter’s Tape
  8. Picture Hanging Kit
Step 1:

Layout all of your art or objects on the floor to determine the best design that works for you.

This really is the hardest and most time consuming part because the options are infinite!

Start of Gallery Wall_Floor
My original gallery wall
Step 2: 

Trace each frame on either craft paper or wrapping paper with grid lines. 

The cutting grid guide lines on the back of the wrapping paper makes everything easier from tracing, to cutting, to locating where to nail in the picture hangers.  

I usually buy wrapping paper when it is on sale (most of the time standing in line at Home Goods!).

Just check the label to make sure there is a cutting grid on the back. 

Grid Wrapping Paper for Gallery Wall

Step 3:

Layout the paper cut outs on the wall.

Use painter’s tape, so you can move the paper around easily without damaging the wall.

Play with the design until you get it to “just about” where you want it.

The beginning of this gallery wall started much smaller and with craft paper – I sure wish I would have thought to use the wrapping paper!

You aren’t finished yet 🙂 Don’t be nailing holes in the wall…keep reading.

Gallery Wall Brown Craft Paper

Step 4:

Using a tape measure, measure between each item and make sure the spacing is similar. 

Most items in my gallery wall pieces are about 3 to 4 inches apart vertically and horizontally, but it’s a VERY large wall. 

Keep adjusting each item to get the spacing just where you want it. 

At the same time, check to make sure each piece is level. 

Placing Pictures with Tape for Gallery Wall Layout

Step 5:

Have a picture hanging kit handy with a wide variety of sizes of picture hangers to make this job easier.

Then measure the back of the picture where the hanger is or pull up on the hanging wire to measure.

I typically will use the measurement from the top of the frame. 

You need the center point and the distance down from the top of the frame.

measure the back of a frame for hanger placement

Measure in from one end and down from the top.

Take those same measurements, map it out on the paper, and mark the spot with a pencil.

Nail the hanger right through the paper. Hang up the artwork to test if it looks good.

Make any adjustments and rip down the paper.  Nice, right?

Adding a picture to a gallery wall with paper and tape_Hanger through paper copy

Step 6:

Step back and admire your work. Be proud of your accomplishment!

You just created a gallery wall that looks like you hired a designer to do it!

Large Bedroom Gallery Wall 13 Pieces of Art

The gallery wall in my bedroom makes me smile. 

I’ve filled it with images that are personal to me or inspire me plus added some of my own “artful” photography as well. 

It includes images of my favorite travel destinations, goals and even a lovely painting of my dog Mick as a puppy.

Overtime I change it for my mood or life events.

Two of my favorite places to find inexpensive art are Etsy and Minted.  

You can support a new artist along the way!

Plus as you travel pick up post cards or take photography that can be framed.

Frame Sizing

So you have perspective, I thought it would be fun to show you the exact frame sizes and measurements of my gallery wall.

Then if you want to re-create the same look or portions of the wall you will know ahead of time exactly what to purchase. 

Gallery Wall Layout with Sizes of Frames Included
Frame Sizes in Inches

Or if you like you can purchase pre-made frame kits to get you started!

Don’t forget mats! Mats are really what highlights the artwork itself and also creates a cohesive visual look.  

Most of the frames have them included, so not to worry!

shop frames

These are the nominal outside frame sizes to my actual inside frame sizes in the chart above.

Remember some were custom framed, so these are close!!! 

Click the links to shop by size: 

3 ea. 12 in x 16 in  |  2 ea. 17 in x 21 in  |  3 ea. 11 in x 13 in  |  1 ea. 12 in x 16 in  |  1 ea. 18 in x 11 in  |  1 ea. 11 in x 8 in  | 1 ea. 30 in x 24 in  

Happy hanging!

See how I transformed my walnut frames to champagne gold easily and inexpensively.

As my FREE GIFT to you, with email sign-up a detailed paint sheen project guide! 

You will know the right sheen for every project…

free-paint-sheen-download-porch-daydreamer

Please consider following me on Pinterest and Instagram for daily inspiration.

Until next time…

Porch Daydreamer

Tracey

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12 Comments

  1. Hello, what are the overall dimensions of this gallery wall? Trying to decide if it could fit over my larger buffet. Thanks!

  2. Hi Tracey! I love this so much and am planning to do the same gallery wall in my bedroom. I wanted to mention that none of the Amazon links for the frames seem to be working. I keep getting an error message. Thanks!

  3. Thank you so much for the great tips on how to create a gallery wall. We moved into our house recently and I am having trouble trying to decide which pictures to hang and how to hang them. I might have missed it, but how high off the ground should a group of pictures or even just one, be hung? Thanks for your great tips!

  4. Hey there! I’m SO THANKFUL for your breakdown of this process! Could you tell me how wide the entire gallery is?

  5. May I ask where you got the frames that were originally the espresso color? They look a bit like PB frames.

    Thank you much.

    1. Hey, Christina! Yes, there area few from PB and others I bought at Hobby Lobby or Frame it Easy. Hope that helps – didn’t want to spend the PB money to build the whole wall!

  6. Hi Tracey,

    I love your gallery wall Thank you so much for the detailed instructions. I have been looking at so many gallery photo/art walls online but the difference with yours is that design edge. Just like you mentioned, it looks like a designer created it!!! Can I ask you how tall your wall is from floor to ceiling and what height from the ceiling is the picture that is closest to the ceiling if that makes sense?

    Thank you!!
    Julie

    1. Julie,

      Hi! I’m so glad that you found my instructions helpful! My ceilings are 10 ft. tall and the crown moulding is about a foot deep. When I measure the “couple” piece of art from the top of the frame to the bottom of the crown moulding it is 28.5 inches.

      Hope that’s what you need 🙂
      Tracey

  7. I looooove this! So helpful to know that the top and bottoms of frames should be level with one another. I’m really diggin your wall color! Can you tell me what color it is?

    1. Thank you and glad this was helpful! This wall color is so soothing. I’ve had it 7 years and redecorated 3 times around it. The blue acts like a neutral: LOWE’S/ Valspar Feeling Blue CI 13.

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