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4 Tips on How To Create a Gallery Wall

by Heather Warthen
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Whether you are a skilled photographer or art lover, building a gallery wall is an excellent way to exhibit photos and artwork alike. It’s also a great way to show off your personality, by telling your story and who you are. Not sure where to start? Check out our tips and tricks below to master this DIY project!

Tip #1: Determine your theme

Whether you want to show off photos from your latest vacation or display a mix of family photos with family heirlooms, determining your theme before you start building your gallery wall is key. 

Jen Bekman, founder of online art shop 20×200, finds that creating a gallery wall is the perfect way to make a personal statement at home. 

“This is your opportunity to make a statement about who you are and what you like. Mix paintings and photography, black-and-white and color and combine high and low pieces,” Bekman advises. 

How you frame your pieces can also add to the theme. Upscale home furnishing store Pottery Barn recommends using “matching frames for a modern, cohesive look or mix and match frame styles for an eclectic look.”

Tip #2: Plan it out first

Before you go hammering any nails into the wall, take a moment and plan out what you want the end result to look like. Determining the layout is one of the hardest things when creating a gallery wall. 

Krista Builds at Remodelaholic.com used Google Sketchup to design her wall first, but added you can also use any image editing or drawing program, or even graph paper, to plot out your design.

Bekman said she lays her framed artwork on the floor first.

“You can even use painters tape to outline the size of the wall to help you visualize,” she said. “Take cell phone snaps of a few variations that you like as you go.” 

Be sure to take into account furniture that may be located near the gallery wall, too. Bekman suggests allowing eight inches between the frame and the top of the furniture. She also recommends keeping pieces at eye level and avoid hanging them too low or too high.

Tip #3: Make a template

Building on Tip #2, the DIY experts at FamilyHandyman.com recommend tracing your frames or items on paper – even wrapping paper can work – then writing what piece it corresponds with and marking where the nail will go before you post it on the wall. From there, you can easily “hang” the pieces of paper on your gallery wall and arrange them before putting the actual pieces of artwork on the wall. They also suggest dabbing a tiny bit of toothpaste to mark where the hanger is on the frame and pressing it against the template so you know exactly where the nail should go.

Tip #4: There are no rules for a great gallery wall

While this may sound contradictory to the other three tips, it’s important to keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to create a gallery wall. 

“Creating a gallery wall can be intimidating, but don’t overthink it. Just jump in!” said Hillary Thomas of Hillary Thomas Designs.

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