Someday soon, I will have a gallery wall that travels up to my second floor. I've imagined how this would look for years, yet I still haven't done it. I plan to combine family photos, both past and present, and some family documents. I will mix golds with warm woods, and most of the frames will have some heft. So you see, I really have thought a lot about it, I just haven't had it in me to actually do it. (Have a mentioned all of the family photo albums I haven't finished either? This must be my thing.) While I'm pondering when I'll get to this project, I wanted to share some great examples and ideas about how you can put together a gallery wall too.
In the photo above, it's all about color. Notice the blue tones of the carpet runner echoed in the matting and subject matter. When putting together a collection of art, photos, and other materials, it's best to have a starting point and that each element is chosen to complement the others in some way. In addition to color, the frames are all similar in style. You'll notice that the majority of them have clean lines, a smooth surface, and similar widths.
Switching gears just a bit, this collection is also all about color, or lack thereof. The gold tones of the parchment and frames seamlessly blend into the wall, while the pop of black draws your eye to the settee and photograph to the left. You'll also notice that both contemporary, clean-lined frames have been mixed with a rough-hewn gilt piece. But because the subject matter (the human body and written word) is repeated, it works. Don't be afraid to combine a variety of design elements together if there is a common thread to hold it all together.
In this example, browns and blacks tell the story. Identical frames with matching matting is used throughout. In fact, you'll see pairs of items repeated four times. Introducing signs, architectural fragments and other objects can round out a collection and add depth and interest as well. Because this gallery was created over a table, the contents on and under the table become just as important. The gallery is your focal point, so keep tabletop items to a minimum and make sure whatever you choose as accessories won't block your view. Similarly, the objects chosen underneath the table help to balance all you see above.
You can squeeze in a gallery just about anywhere. This NYC apartment pays homage to the city that never sleeps by displaying black and white photos of its beautiful architecture. A few letters, a street sign, and a framed piece of black and white zebra-print paper adds a touch of feistiness and plays well with the leopard pillows and bold graphic prints on the sofa.
What do all of these gallery walls have in common? Their arrangement. Smaller pieces are mixed in with larger pieces. Similar frames are both beside and/or adjacent to one another. Colors are spread out, and there is no exact pattern to how they're laid out. However, in order to pull this off, play with your design on the floor first. Measure the space you're using and duplicate this to the best of your ability on the floor using masking tape (or architects tape) if possible, even string can work. Choose the one piece that catches your eye first and lay it on the ground. Choose a second, and so on. Be sure to take into consideration what this collage of objects will hang over. This will sometimes mean using larger items at the top of your wall versus the usual smaller-goes-on-top thinking for better balance. Embrace this idea. Review the photos again and any magazine photos you may happen to have to see what I mean.
Now please come over and help me with my wall.
Images via 5th and State, Potterybarn.com, Focal Point Styling