Gallery walls – from a distance, they seem so simple, but once you head to IKEA or Hobby Lobby or Home Goods or (Insert favorite store here), your mind suddenly explodes, and you come to realize that you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing. You scramble to Pinterest, thinking you might find something you love there, but, what do you know?! Your phone has no signal, your kids are hitting each other on the head with fake flowers and lampshades, your stomach is growling, and, did I mention you have no idea what you’re doing? You wander the aisles, thinking that maybe, just maybe, all of the perfect gallery wall pieces will just jump into your cart. You get through the entire store and realize that all you have in your cart is two restless kids and a 40% off coupon. Defeated, you head for the car, wondering why you ever thought you could create the perfect gallery wall.
Oh, that’s never happened to you? Just me? Well, let’s just be proactive and prevent that scenario from ever happening. Just check out these 5 Tips for Creating the Perfect Gallery Wall. If you make it all the way to the end, there might be a super cool free printable. Okay, there is a super cool free printable (or two… or three).
1. Decide what kind of gallery wall you want to have. Do you want your gallery wall to be only family portraits? Do you want it to be only pieces of art and funky statement pieces? Or do you want a healthy mixture of both? This is something you NEED to know before you start gathering things for your walls. Otherwise you will end up with a lot of wasted money and a ton of junk that you have no clue how to incorporate.
At home with the kids? Instantly access any of these printable activity bundles to keep them learning!
2. Measure your space. If you want to fill a space appropriately, you need to know how large it is. Choose appropriately sized decorations and pieces for the wall space. NEVER hang a photo smaller than 8×10. Even an 8×10 is really considered a desktop print size, so if you are determined to hang a photo that small, make sure it is matted to 11×14. Wall decorations like arrows and works of art, should also have a side that is at least eight inches long. Any smaller, and people wonder what the heck they are looking at.
3. Choose at least one statement piece. Say you are doing a gallery wall of just family photos – at least one photo should be large and stand out from the rest. Check out the diagrams below for an idea of family portrait gallery walls for small, medium, and large spaces. Note: These diagrams are based on walls where you have 4ft (small), 7 ft (medium), or 10 ft (large) of wall space to work with, with typical 9 ft ceiling height. You do NOT want your gallery wall to go super far down – you want photos and statement pieces to be at a comfortable viewing height (so don’t run your pieces right up to the ceiling, either – give yourself at least six inches of space between the top of your gallery wall and your ceiling). The layouts shown show a space of six inches between pictures.
Now, say you are doing a healthy mix of photos and decorative pieces (wooden signs, shapes, shelving, etc.). You can have one statement piece or multiple statement pieces. If you search “gallery walls” on Pinterest, the typical result will be a mix of decorative pieces and photos (or other framed artwork similar to the free printables below). The possibilities for layouts and sizes really are endless!
4. Think outside the wall. So you don’t have wall space? No big deal – you can still have the gallery wall feel and look in other ways. If you have a mantle, shelving, or bookcases that aren’t being used for you know, books, then get creative! We have some built-in shelves in our house that I turned into a little statement piece. Get some succulents, some old books, and some smaller picture frames and knickknacks and go to town. The key with “gallery shelves” is to balance things out and keep it simple – don’t let them get to the point of clutter.
5. Balance. Clutter is a real thing, people. And it IS possible to have too much crap on your walls, or too many of your walls full of crap. Do not make all four walls, in a room, gallery walls. If you have a large gallery wall, keep decorations on the other walls to a minimum. If you have two walls corner to corner that you want to decorate, make them flow – make sure the decorations or portraits are cohesive. Try for a bit of symmetry – it is more pleasing to the eye.
And finally, what you have all been waiting for – the freebie(s). I couldn’t resist putting a few things together.