First let me preface this post by saying I'm not an expert! You might find the tips and tricks that worked for me ridiculous and that's ok! Different strokes (err, tips) for different folks :)
Don't measure your spacing
Did I shock you? I shocked me too! If you haven't picked up on it yet, I'm a bit of a perfectionist and have slight OCD tendencies which means creating this imbalanced, non-perfect gallery wall was HARD for me!
I started to space everything out 2" but then I ran into a "problem" when my starburst mirror stuck out farther than the edge of Dexter's floor plan frame which meant that the spacing between Dexter's frame and AWOLNATION's frame was going to be more than 2". I froze a little bit, paralyzed in perfectionism fear but then I threw my hands in the air and hung the poster up anyway – almost 3" away! Oh, the horror! ;)
I'll be honest and say that it was hard for me to let go and wing it but you know what? It was actually FUN to not over think things and I really started to like eyeballing the picture's placement after a little while! Moral of the story? I survived and the wall looks good!
One size doesn't fit all
Most of the pieces in my gallery wall vary in size from small and medium, to large and even x-large. I tried not to put similar sized pieces next to each other (unless they were part of a group like the abstract prints above) because I wanted to have an even mix of differently sized pieces on either side of the arrangement.
I was worried that I was going to end up with all of the large pieces on one side and the smaller ones on the other so I started hanging things on the outside edges first while working towards the center. Speaking of the center: don't hang one piece directly in the center of your wall! I learned this tip from Emily Henderson and since she's a pro, I took her advice into consideration when putting my gallery wall together :)
Mix things up
Note: this tip applies to both the frames you choose and the pieces of art you put inside of them.
All of my frames are black with the exception of a few canvases and clear acrylic frames. While they're mostly all the same color, they're not all the same style. I also tossed in a sliver frame that's different from all of the others because it holds a picture of my boyfriend and I and we're special, just like the frame!
Kidding! ;) (Man they really need to invent a sarcasm font!)
All of my art is different too! In an attempt to keep things interesting, I chose to mix photographs with canvases and posters, illustrations and sketches, and sculptural items which leads me to my next tip...
Toss in some sculptural items
If you have a mirror or an irregularly shaped item like a sconce, a monogram or a blue French horn, hang it on your wall! The item's shape will help break up the monotony that a grid of frames can sometimes cause and give the wall some more dimension. Plus, it'll add extra interest to the overall arrangement!
Meaningful pieces matter
Whether they came from a friend or family member or simply remind me of a good time, 26 out of the 29 things on our gallery wall mean something to me. The other 3 are things I thought were neat and didn't mind staring at all day haha
All of the pieces you hang on your wall don't have to have a special meaning though, they could simply be things you like! However, incorporating meaningful things into your overall arrangement (like the cow skull from my late grandma) helps take the "specialness" up a notch!
Balance your colors
While the majority of my art that's on the perimeter of my gallery wall is black and white and/or neutral, the rest of the pieces towards the middle are colorful. I didn't initially intend to arrange everything this way but I'm happy with how it all turned out since the colorful pieces help draw your eye across the entire wall!
Keep your eye moving
Speaking of your eyes – eye movement is key in any gallery wall arrangement! Just like in styling, the last thing you want is for your eye to stop on one area because that means some of your hard work isn't being seen.
Don't be afraid to put holes in your walls!
This tip may not apply to everyone depending on what type of walls you have and if you rent vs. own but if you own your place and have basic drywalled walls like mine, don't be afraid to put holes in them! Really! What's the worst that could happen? You have to patch a few holes and touch up some paint? No big deal! I'd rather put 50 holes in my walls while trying to figure out an art arrangement than live without any art on my walls for fear of making a placement mistake or having to do a few minor touch ups!
Of course you can always go the smart route by making paper templates for each one of your frames and taping them to the wall to figure out an arrangement before making any holes in it but I'm obviously a rebel who chose not to go that route! ;)
UPDATE: One of my readers reminded me of Command Strips! I forgot to mention them but they're a great alternative to using nails or screws if you're unsure of your arrangement or like to move things around a lot. Thanks for the reminder, Rosanne! :)
Here's a couple of crappy night time iPhone photos that show some of the looks my gallery wall was sporting before I figured out its final arrangement:
My gallery wall wouldn't be where it is today if I didn't have the courage to move things around and put extra holes in the wall :)
Do you have a gallery wall? What other tips or tricks would you add to my list?