8 Steps to Create the Perfect Gallery Wall

Since I moved to my current home, almost a year ago, I still haven’t made it to all the walls in my house. My kitchen has a very large blank wall that is crying out for multiple pieces of art. It’s such a large wall I feel like one piece of art wouldn’t be nearly enough. So I decided to make an attempt at creating a large gallery wall.

How To Create a Gallery Wall

1.) Choose a theme

I’ve looked at lots of gallery wall ideas on Pinterest and the ones I like have a certain theme. That doesn’t mean that all the art pieces are the same subject. Themes can vary. Here’s a list of theme ideas:

  • All photographs
  • All Black & White
  • All Floral
  • All black frames
  • All one color scheme (for example, pink and green)
  • All the same size and identical frames
  • All one place, for example Paris
  • All drawings
  • All abstract

Once you have a theme you have a direction. For example, if you chose floral as your theme you could choose lots of different shapes, colors and sizes. You can also choose a mix of prints, photos and original artwork.

My theme was red and floral. I wanted all the art to have red and I wanted it to be a mix of oil based paintings and prints with lots of flowers.

2.) Measure the space

The first thing you want to do is decide how much space you have to work with and start saving art. For example, my space is 8.0 feet x 4.5 feet. Be sure to measure both the size of the wall and the space that you want your artwork to fill.

3.) Choose Symmetry and Asymmetry

A good starting point is to decide if you want to create a symmetrical or asymmetrical gallery wall. In part this depends on the amount of space you want to fill. I’ve seen many beautiful gallery walls that are very symmetrical. For example, all the art is the same size, with identical picture frames and mat color. There might be four or six family photos all hung in a symmetrical pattern. This type of gallery wall is easier to plan because size is a limiting factor.

If you are choosing an asymmetrical gallery wall you will use a variety of sizes. iI works well to have one larger piece of art to serve as the anchor for the rest of the pieces. I have a symmetrical living room gallery wall – three pieces all the same size, color palette and frame, in the photo below. For the kitchen I wanted something asymmetrical.

4.) Start shopping for art

I have done lots of browsing online and in stores. The issue I have with buying something at a store is that I feel like people have seen it before. They might not be able to name the store, but it’s familiar.

I shopped around a lot on Etsy. Each time I found something I liked I made it a favorite. Minted.com and Artfullywalls.com are great sources of art, too. Etsy can be a great place to find variety if you are prepared to browse a lot. Minted and Artfully are smaller curated collections of art from independent artists and you can purchase pieces framed or unframed.

Etsy Choices (two of these are one of a kind), but if you search by the keyword like poppy oil painting you can find similar pieces.

5.) Make a Preview

If you are tech-savvy I recommend taking a photo of your blank wall. I use PicMonkey. I move my photo into PicMonkey and then take a screen shot of all the pieces and upload them to my wall. I do lots of adding and deleting when I find things that don’t look like they fit. It’s a great way to look at your gallery wall layout without actually hanging anything and the best part is it’s like shopping without having to return anything.

Here is an example of what mine looked like. I wanted red and black with a combination of oil paintings and prints. I sourced these pieces from Minted.com, three Etsy sellers (below) and Artfully.com.

If you aren’t tech-savvy don’t despair. There are several web sites that will basically do this for you if you just click the pieces that you like. Side note, of course they hope you will like the arrangement so much that you will also buy all of the art there.

Here is an example of one I did with just art from Artfullywalls.com.

Sample gallery wall from artfully.com

This site also has a great set of inspirational gallery walls in different styles – bohemian, light and airy, green, dramatic and tons more. If you choose one of their pre-set gallery walls you can also view to scale.

Artfully allows you to design your own gallery wall, change mats, frame styles, frame color and even the background paint color. It’s AMAZING! There’s even a tutorial. This is not a sponsored post, but I really dig this site.

6.) Choose Frames and Mats

The most expensive way to create a gallery wall is to have all the wall art framed before it is shipped to you. This is a great option if time is more important that money.

I’m assuming that you don’t buy anything local. If you have great sources of art in your area, or you want to use some art that you already own, you can save on framing.

Not everything has to be framed in the same color. Not everything has to be framed at all. I recommend just laying it out and seeing what you like. It really comes down to your personal style.

Sometimes the frames cost more than the art. If you want to save money, I recommend framing yourself. I ordered several frames from frameiteasy.com. I’ve looked at lots of online framing options and what I like about frameiteasy is that it’s inexpensive and you can choose non-glare acrylic.

If you prefer to send your art off and have someone else frame it, I like Framebridge.com. Framebridge is better if you upload your art. The price if you send the art to them is comparable to purchasing it framed.

7.) Graph Out The Different Sizes

Now that you’ve done the fun part of finding all the art, it’s time to put pencil to paper and make sure it will fit. I love seeing what it looks like but it’s hard to get the scale correct in picMonkey. I like to draw the squares on a piece of graph paper.

There are many how to guides that recommend cutting brown paper to the size of each image and taping those on the wall. This is a great idea, but I think graph paper is the easiest way. It gives me the same result with a lot less work. Here is my example. Each dot is 6 inches.

Last step is to purchase all the art you selected and hang it. I’d love to see your efforts if you have made your own gallery wall. Post an image in the comments.

If you want to learn more about building your own gallery wall check out these resources.

5 Steps to Create A Photo Gallery Wall

The Guide to a Well Hung Gallery Wall

Joanna Gaines’s Guide to Gallery Walls

what next

Don’t be intimidated to create your own gallery wall. If you hate it, it only takes about 5 minutes to patch the wall and start over. If you have a question about a gallery wall you want to hang, put your question in the comments. I love to see other people’s ideas.

Before you go, you might be interested in How High to Hang Pictures (take away all of the guess work) or how to make your own abstract artwork and where to find artwork on a budget.

8 steps to the perfect gallery wall

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  1. Great advice Andrea and it looks great! Love all the details and specifics on how to do it and I really love the picture with the measurements since I’m so visual. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Andrea, I love this post. It is so informational and I also do love your choice of art. Now you have given me some ideas on what I can paint for you!!!

  3. I love gallery walls. Unfortunately, my husband does not. We also don’t have a lot of wall space for artwork. We have a few pieces and they are likely here to stay. But, I am thinking I may be able to get by with doing a gallery wall in the one guest room I still need to renovate and then decorate. I used to have a pair of old family marriage certificates hanging in that room, and I think they just may be the beginning of my very first gallery wall! I love the idea of uploading everything to picMonkey and playing with the arrangement there! Thanks for the ideas!

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