Gallery Wall 101: Find The Proper Theme

Gallery Wall ideas | mid-century modern decor | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Style by Emily Henderson

Gallery walls are nothing new. Hanging multiple framed pieces of art in a staggered layout gives instant creative interest to large and small spaces alike. It’s easy to be inspired to create a gallery wall, but then all of the options of what to frame can be overwhelming! Here’s a quick and easy guide to help you narrow down your choices a little better.

Gallery wall guide | What to hang and how to frame | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Apartment Therapy

K.I.S.S. Method

New to collage framing? Also known as the keep-it-simple-sister method, the most basic gallery wall you can do consists of 3 frames. One large frame flanked by two shorter frames is as easy as you can get. Keep the colors similar and the frames the same basic style. You really can’t go wrong. Create a larger square or rectangular shape using the 3 frames and try to keep the smallest spaces the same width. This is the end of your pre-gallery class; now you’re ready to move to the bigger stuff.

Simple gallery wall using 3 frames | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Pinterest

Bohemian Eclectic Vibes

Once you’re ready to break away from the same-frame basic-square idea, a whole world of possibilities begins to open up. You don’t have to stick to art prints to create a Bohemian-themed gallery wall. Add interesting shapes, warm textures, and break away from a structured overall shape. Get out your yarn and beads a create a macrame wall hanging easy with this DIY by Free People. Personal touches and handmade art works beautifully with prints from the 60s and 70s.

Create a gallery wall with a DIY macrame wall hanging | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Urban Outfitters

Use a Gallery Wall for Inspiration

For any #GIRLBOSS or gal with a side hustle, feel free to break outside of the box. Hang non-traditional items in interesting shapes on your gallery wall to serve as motivation or creative inspiration. The wall above your desk should underscore your branding and can work as a subliminal cheerleader, too. Anytime you look at your desk space, you should get feelings of confidence and optimism. Never underestimate the power of manifestation! Feel free to check out our Feng Shui overview article if you’re interested in learning how visual reminders can propel you forward.

A gallery wall should inspire and motivate you at your desk | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: West Elm

Lovely Vintage Frames

One of the most fun things to shop for at vintage shops are picture frames. Mix-and-match vintage frames in black and gold to create a gallery wall that’s big on impact. If you find a frame with details you like in the wrong color, just add spray paint in the right hue! Using vintage frames somehow makes photos and art seem that much more special. Skip the fridge and hang your children’s art work in an entryway instead! Watch their faces beam with pride.

Hang children's artwork in vintage frames | Gallery Wall 101 | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Laurel and Wolf

Better Than a Slide Show

Why does everyone insist on taking a million pictures of themselves on vacation? Invest in local artwork instead and create a gallery wall that will uplift you every time you look at it. This also makes for a great conversation piece and trust me, your guests will be much more interested. Using art that you’ve curated from your travels gives the space an instant museum quality. It’s so nice to use areas in your home to educate and inspire.

Use local art from travels to create a gallery wall | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: domino magazine

100% Au Naturel

Back to the Bohemian vibe, don’t feel like you are stuck with black frames. A gallery wall works equally well in natural frames mixed with other items in wood. This gives an earthy feel and works especially well if you want to rock an ethnic look and feel. It’s also a nice way to warm up black and white prints.

Use natural frames and ethic art for a Bohemian gallery wall | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Bloglovin’

No Need to Be So Intense

Dark paint can make a small space feel intimate, but is a little overpowering in a larger room. Here’s an idea – de-intensify a space with a large gallery wall. The dark color will now work as negative space and makes bright colors really pop! Frame art with wide pieces of light matting to take up more space if needed. Leave no more than about 6 inches of wall showing between each piece and feel free to take up the entire wall. Ah, we can all breathe again.

Create a large gallery wall on dark paint to lower intensity in the room | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Centsational Girl

Frame a Collection

My feeling is that collections should always be on display as much as possible. Annie underscored this concept with her article on displaying vintage Pyrex in the kitchen. When displaying a collection as a gallery wall, it’s better to go back to the structured look. This helps keep things looking organized and less like you have a strange hoarding problem that is manifest on your walls. Use uniform frames and simple overall shapes to let the collection itself make the impact.

Keep collections structured in a gallery wall | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Vicky’s Home

Create a Vignette

If you’re a lover of black and white photos, your wall doesn’t have to be all high-impact. Use simple black or white frames and focus on shape to create a lovely gallery wall vignette. This concept is similar to arranging flowers. Create triangles, add circles, and keep the overall shape simple and subtle. You can do this on a wall that is the focal point of a room and let the less-is-more theory shine through.

Create a subtle gallery wall vignette with black and white photos | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Harmony and Design

Black, White, and Bronze All Over

To give your gallery wall high impact, use quality frames in timeless styles. Right now Restoration Hardware gallery frames are 25% off! FYI, they also offer a membership program that allows you to save 25% on all merchandise year round and an extra 20% off sale items. If you’re doing an extensive gallery wall, that would certainly be worth looking into. We love Restoration Hardware frames for their quality crafting and beautiful materials. Our three favorites are done in antiqued brass, black zinc, and gold.

SHOP: Click any of the images below for more details.
ANTIQUED NAILHEAD NARROW GALLERY FRAMES - ANTIQUED BRASS | Restoration HardwareANTIQUED NAILHEAD NARROW GALLERY FRAMES - BLACK ZINC | Restoration HardwareGILT GALLERY FRAMES - GOLD | Restoration Hardware

Create Meaningful Spaces for Art

Art and photography bring significance to any space they are displayed. Refer to our Creativity and Children Feng Shui article if you’re interested in the best location for a gallery wall in your home. Our late grandparents used to have a gallery wall of old family photos lining their hallway. We all have reverent memories of stopping in that hall and paying tribute to our ancestors past. A collection of art or photos should ultimately have this effect on anyone who lives in, or visits, your home. Have fun, but take your time to do it right and make it special. It’s not hard, just requires a little thought. You can do it!

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