Gallery walls are having quite the moment right now. Although popular for home décor, they can also be well utilized in contemporary commercial spaces, such as loft-style offices or chic warehouse restaurants. Creating a gallery wall that's eclectic but not tacky can seem like a tough line to toe, but curating a successful gallery wall is downright fun as long as you keep a few tips in mind.
Striking a balance between a cohesive look and a dynamic layout is easier than you think.
Step 1: Choose Centerpiece(s)
Decide which piece or pieces will be the largest on your wall. These will help anchor the display. It's probably best to not use more than two centerpieces.
Step 2: Flesh out your color palette
Using your centerpieces as a guide, explore a color palette of other work to go along with it.
Loosely based on the warm tones of the vintage map and the pink and navy of the Ziegfeld poster, we chose (clockwise from top left) Angels by Fanny Allie, Black Diamond by Ieva Baklane, President by Takahiro Kimura, and Tide by Kate Roebuck.
It's usually best to only loosely adhere to the palette. The reds and pinks in Ieva Baklane's Black Diamond and Kate Roebuck's Tide don't exactly match those of the Ziegfeld poster, but that's okay. The point is to be cohesive but eclectic. The centerpieces are a guide, not a hard rule.
An area where you can really go wild is image size and orientation. For a dynamic gallery wall, choose horizontal, vertical, and square images. See what kind of visual rhythm they can generate when working together.
Step 3: Add some neutrals
Fill some gaps without overwhelming the space by adding some neutral images to the mix.
Like the color palette, we only loosely applied consistency with the frames. Some of the frames are espresso while others are black. Although both are fairly neutral, the subtle difference might clash in a more traditional display. But on a gallery wall, it helps to give the feel of a personal, storied collection. Also notice the metallic silver frame we chose for Crows by New Era Photography. One or two outliers will also help bring a natural variety to your gallery wall.
In this arrangement, some images are horizontally centered with the gaps between other images.
Although art may not perfectly align with what's directly next to it, every part of the gallery wall aligns with some other part. Notice how the gap between Angels and Tide on the far left is horizontally aligned with President on the far right. These details might not be immediately obvious, but they help the composition come together in a balance of style and effortless fun.
Knowing the Rules Before You Break Them
These guidelines can help in curating a successful gallery wall, but part of the fun in knowing the rules is knowing when to break them. Art that's all the same color, or arranged in tidy rows and columns, or even propped up on shelves can make for an interesting display. Keep these tips in mind, but if inspiration strikes, don't be afraid to take it in your own unique direction.