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Gallery Wall Tips from Interior Designers

A gallery wall can be a stunning focal point or a conversation starter in any space. But creating a gallery wall of your own can quickly turn into an overwhelming task. Here at Custom Picture Frames, our goal is to make custom framing more affordable and accessible and that extends to gallery walls as well. While you’ll always get the best frames thanks to our high-quality materials, it could be hard to get started planning your gallery wall.

To help make the gallery wall planning and hanging process easier, we asked interior designers for some of their favorite tips. 

Getting Started

Planning is key when it comes to the perfect gallery wall. It also helps to avoid stress down the line during the hanging process. Planning includes everything from where you’re going to place the gallery wall to the images you’re going to display. 

Look for Inspiration

Jess Welling, ​​a residential interior designer and blogger in Seattle, recommends starting with a Pinterest search and finding a few looks you like. “Take note of the colors,” Jess advises. “whether they've used all black and white photos, graphic art pieces, canvases, or a mix of everything.”

Pinterest Search for Gallery Wall Inspiration

Image courtesy of Crazy Wonderful

Once you determine what you like, and what you don’t like, it’ll be easier to start piecing together your custom gallery wall.

Choose Your Layout

The layout of your gallery wall will make a huge impact overall. With so many configurations to choose from, it’s important to choose the perfect layout for your space. 

“Figure out what you want your wall to look like,” recommends Jennifer Guerin, owner of JG Color Studios.  Do you want a gallery wall with straight, clean lines? Do you want a little organized chaos? Jennifer also suggests utilizing Photoshop or an app like ArtPlacer to see what your idea may look like to make the best decision. 

Pick a Theme

Now that you’ve identified the style and layout for your gallery wall, it’s time to curate the images. From family photos to art prints, the possibilities are endless. 

Interior designer Joe Cangelosi recommends focusing on one big idea instead of a bunch of small ideas. This makes for a larger impact overall and will help make curating your images easier. 

All of the interior designers we spoke with recommended focusing on decisions like color photos versus black and white imagery. Are you looking to display some of your favorite shots from vacation or decorate with pictures of your friends and family? Although they might be hard to make, these decisions are crucial to nail down before moving onto the next step.

Determine the Frames & Sizing

When we talk about sizing we’re looking at two different components. Determine how big your gallery wall will be. Then, it’s time to start planning the sizes of the frames that will fill that space. 

“Don’t be afraid to include large pieces,” Jess says. “I see people make is using too many small framed photos or art pieces in a grouping. This can end up looking cluttered and giving off a dorm room vibe.” She recommends starting with your bigger pieces (think 16x20 inches or larger) and then fill in around those pieces with smaller ones.  

Along with the size of the frames, it’s time to start thinking about the style. Jennifer says “You can mix them up, or go for all vintage or all modern - whatever gives it your own personal style!” Even if you’re looking to replicate a style or layout you found on Pinterest or Instagram, no two gallery walls will be the same when you incorporate your own photos and images into the mix. 

Gallery Wall Mockup in CAD

Image Courtesy of Joe Cangelosi Design

We hope we’re really driving home that a little planning goes a long way. Joe likes to take his ideas to the computer. “I use a computer program to approximate the size of each frame on the wall,” he says. “and can move them around the screen as needed to get the best composition.” But don’t worry if you don’t have the programs to do this online. You can also trace all your frames onto brown paper, and tape all the cutouts onto the wall using painter's tape. This brings us to the next step…

Gallery Wall Hanging Tips

If you haven’t traced your frames and cut out these handmade templates, now’s the time to do it. You can use craft paper, wrapping paper or even newspaper depending on the size of your frames. Don’t forget to mark where the hanging hardware is as well!

Newspaper Gallery Wall Templates

Image Courtesy of Jessica Welling Interiors

Start by taping the largest piece of paper to the wall,” Jess advises. It's important to create a balanced arrangement, whether you’re creating a symmetrical grid or an eclectic spread. Now that your layout is on the wall, you can make adjustments to ensure you don't end up with all vertical frames on one side and horizontal on the other.

“Once you like how it looks, then add nails and hang each frame!” Joe recommends. 

Make sure your frames are level and spaced evenly so that nothing distracts from your stunning display. If you need more help hanging your frames, check out our hanging hacks!

We hope these interior designer-approved gallery wall tips help you to create the gallery wall of your dreams. If you have any other questions on getting started or the gallery wall process in general, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We’re looking forward to seeing all the gallery walls you create with our custom frames!

About The Author

Brittany DeMauro Headshot Brittany DeMauro is the Creative Director here at CustomPictureFrames.com. With a background in creative writing and a passion for all things DIY, you'll find her in the shop crafting content. She can always find space for a fun gallery wall and loves discovering new artists to display around her home (in custom frames, of course!) When she's not creating content for our brand, she can most likely be found binging shows on Netflix with her two cats.
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Easy Ways to Refresh Your Living Room
How To Refresh Your Gallery Wall

As your online custom framers, we love hearing from our partners about how and why they choose custom framing for their space. This larger-than-life gallery wall was a decor refresh that we were happy to frame for. Keep reading to see what Chancè had to say about her new and improved living room gallery wall!

Spring is in full swing and if you want to refresh the living room space or any space in your house, I got just what you need. I wanted to refresh our living room area with spring around the corner without spending too much money.

Living Room Gallery Wall Before 

I already had a gallery wall but it was not doing much for the space. The picture frames were black, and the size did not go with the space. Since I love gallery walls, I decided to keep the idea but change the pictures and frames. 

I wanted 20x20 picture frames since our ceilings are very high. Since 20x20 frames are large, I needed the matboards to be 8x8. It was very difficult to find the exact matboards for that frame size. While looking I found Custom Picture Frames and you guys this is the best thing I have ever seen! Custom Picture Frame customizes your picture frames and mats to your exact size. They have several different looks and colors. I went with all white everything because I wanted to brighten up my space.

Chance with Custom Picture Frames box

Being that I am a busy mom of three under three this was absolutely perfect. My pictures came already in the frame, ready to hang. 

Living Room Gallery Wall After

We decided on 12 picture frames and we couldn’t be happier. We absolutely love the updates. Our living room feels and looks so much brighter. The frames were the perfect size and I cannot get over how easy it was to set up.

If you are looking for an easy way to update your space, some custom frames might be it for you too!

About The Author

Chancè Hindir-Lane Headshot Chancè Hindir-Lane is a mom, a wife and a career woman. Chancè lives in the DMV ( DC, Maryland, VA) area with her husband and 3 babies. Chancè works full time in International Affairs while taking care of her one-year-old twins and two-year-old son. She is passionate about sharing the realities of being a working mom and advocating for women's mental health postpartum. She loves creating a safe and fun space for her family on a budget. Follow her for more at @c.hindir
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How to Create an Eclectic Gallery Wall

There is just something so charming about a gallery wall. They fill a wall unlike anything else and tell a story about the people that live there. Gallery walls come in many different styles. The ones that have captivated people’s attention the most are eclectic; using varying styles of art, frames, and sizes. A curated collection of art that appears to have been carefully added to over time. Today I’m going to share with you how to create an eclectic gallery wall of your own.

Eclectic Gallery Wall

Eclectic Gallery Wall

Eclectic Gallery Wall

Gather Inspiration

Maybe you have some existing framed art that you want to include in your gallery wall, or maybe you’re starting completely from scratch. Either way, you’ll want to gather some inspiration for how you want your wall to come together. Pinterest is always a great place to start your search. Create a board with galleries that pique your interest and refer back to them when looking for art, frames, and layout ideas.

Gallery Wall Pinterest Inspiration

Try-on Session

One of my favorite ways to figure out a new look for my home is to “try it on”. Take a photo of the wall you want to add a gallery to and upload it to a photo editing website, app, or program that will allow you to layer additional photos on top. Personally, I like to use Picmonkey.com for this.

First, upload a photo of your wall to the photo editor. Next, take screenshots of art and frames that catch your eye. Refer back to your inspiration photos so you can play with different layouts. Now, layer art and frame screenshots onto the photo, adjusting size and position until you find a layout you love. This will help you visualize how the art will work together and what style of frames are best for your space.

Gallery Wall Layout 

If you want to visualize it even more (I always do), you can make paper templates to help nail down your exact frame measurements. I used wrapping paper for my templates. The backside of the wrapping paper had grids which made this even easier. Kraft paper or strips of painter's tape works too. When you’re finished with those templates save them because they’ll come in handy later!

 Gallery Wall Mock Up

Choosing Frames

Eclectic gallery walls are fun to put together because no two frames have to be identical. For the grouping in my bedroom, each of the six frames was different. To help reign in the options I repeated frame tones. Two black frames, two wood toned frames, and two metallic frames.

Eclectic Gallery Wall Frames

Picture frame moulding width is something else you will want to pay attention to. While there are no rules with this style of a gallery wall, I wanted my frames to have a similar moulding width. All of the frames I choose were a little under or over one inch wide.

Eclectic Gallery Wall Frames

And don’t be afraid to think out of the box with your framing! Instead of using a traditional frame for my large centerpiece artwork, I used a shadowbox frame. These frames are deeper with the artwork set at the back of the frame with separation from it and the acrylic at the front. I opted to forgo the acrylic and mounted my art print (which was 1/2 inch smaller than the frame) on a piece of foam board. It proved difficult to capture on camera, but the extra dimension it added is a cool effect.

Eclectic Gallery Wall Shadow Box

Choosing Mats

My favorite gallery walls have a mixture of frames with and without mats. For this grouping, the mats I used were the same color. Feel free to play around with size and style as well. For instance, this sketch below has a double mat setting it apart from the other single mat piece.

Eclectic Gallery Wall Mats

Choosing Art

Obtaining artwork has become a lot easier over the past few years. There are a ton of websites where you can download and print your own art which is a huge money saver. My favorite place to look is Etsy. For extra ease, you can even find curated groupings of artwork just for gallery walls.

As I did in repeating frame tones, I repeated the type of art I used. Neutral sketches, and painted landscapes in coordinating tones. This will still give you that eclectic feel but in a more cohesive manner.

Eclectic Gallery Wall Art

How to Hang a Gallery Wall

This is usually where people chicken out. Hanging a gallery wall sounds intimidating, and no one wants to make unwanted nail holes in their walls. There are many tips out there that can make this daunting task much simpler.

For the wall in my bedroom, I reused the paper templates I made earlier in the process. If you skipped that step just trace each frame onto gift wrapping paper or Kraft paper and cut it out. Tape your paper template into place and adjust as needed. I find it handy to have a tape measure and level on hand to ensure correct spacing at this point. Hanging your frames is going to be a breeze now!

Gallery Wall Hanging Tips

DIY Hanging Tool

There are picture hanging tools you can purchase to help get your nail holes spot on, or you can make one with scrap wood for FREE. That’s what I did. Just put a screw through the end of a scrap piece of wood and you’re good to go!

DIY Picture Hanging Tool

Hang the art from the screw, and when the art is in the correct position over the paper template just press the screw into the wall. You’ll have an indentation in the wall in the exact position for your nail. This even works for frames hung from wire.

Gallery Wall Hanging Tips

Gallery Wall Hanging Tips

All that’s left to do is level everything out and enjoy your work.

Gallery Wall Level

Eclectic Gallery Wall Final

Now that you know all the tips and tricks on how to create an eclectic gallery wall I hope you’ll give it a try!

Frame and Art Sources

Eclectic Gallery Wall Art

Frame and art sources in clockwise order:


About The Author

Shelley Westerman Headshot

Shelley, the blogger behind Crazy Wonderful, lives outside of Houston, TX with her husband, two children, and a dog.  She is currently working on making their builder-grade house feel like a home through DIY projects and thoughtful purchases.  Inspiring others to create a home they love is why Shelley enjoys blogging so much.  Her belief is that with a little creativity and elbow grease, you can make your home look like a million bucks without spending it.

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