Gallery walls are the scene stealers in any living space. They give you an opportunity to showcase your artwork, family photos or other ephemera in a stylish way. But, when done incorrectly, they can look really bad, cluttered and just tacky.
I first fell in love with gallery walls while scrolling on Pinterest. Isn’t that where we all draw our inspiration? And considering that I live in a condo with near 10-foot walls, I have the perfect blank canvas for my creativity. So, when I moved in, I knew immediately that I was going to be creating several gallery walls.
Most people love the idea of transforming their space with artwork, but it’s the execution gives them pause. They don’t know where to begin, they don’t want to mess it up and they certainly don’t want to spend a small fortune styling their walls. They don’t have to.
Here are seven tips that you can use to create the perfect clutter-free gallery wall for your home.
1. Create Your Own Art
I wouldn’t consider myself an artist by any stretch of the imagination. But, I am a creative and I love painting. So, I tend to draw and paint a lot of the artwork in my home. Several weeks ago, I told you guys about a West Elm painting that I fell in love with, but didn’t want to pay the hefty price tag, so I created my own West Elm-inspired art.
The best part about creating your own art is that first of all, it’s much cheaper than buying art, especially if you already have some canvases and paint lying around. Time really is your only investment. Secondly, it’s unique. No one is going to have your exact painting, even if they tried to recreate it. So, that adds character to your gallery wall.
I have twin nieces who are four-years-old and I absolutely love when they create their artwork. I don’t just slap their paintings on the fridge. Nope. I buy frames and put them on the wall. That’s their art and it’s special. Those are fantastic for a gallery wall.
2. Leave Some White Space
Imagine picking up a newspaper and reading blocks and blocks of heavy black text with no white space. What do you think would happen? Your eyes would get tired, you’d get overwhelmed and stop reading. Well, it’s the same with a gallery wall. It’s important to have white space so that your eyes can breathe, so to speak. Clutter is never attractive and can actually look like an eyesore.
So, when positioning your pieces on the wall, make sure there is sufficient space so that your art pieces have breathing room.
3. Let Your Pieces Have Purpose
I’m very intentional with the items I place on my gallery wall. I don’t just go into stores and pick up anything and call it a day. I love for pieces to speak to me (I know, I know…I sound so pretentious, but seriously, they should). I like when paintings to remind me of the places or people I love. Or if they make me laugh. Everything should have a purpose and not just make its way to your wall because they look good. That creates a disconnect.
4. Find Creative Pieces
Ask anyone about me and they’ll tell you that I’m a bit offbeat . . . quirky, and depending on who you ask, they may just say that I’m straight weird. And they’re right. Because I look at things that people scowl at and see beauty and happiness in them. This is why I said earlier that you have to let your pieces have purpose. If you go into a store and find a picture of a funny-looking frog and it makes you happy, you should get it and put it on your wall. Creative items are the best.
Also, there’s a famous saying that goes, “it’s not what you look at, it’s what you see.” I am a firm believer in that. I see art in almost everything. For example, I was in Target last year and came across some incredible greeting cards that featured black women. I thought they were so bold and colourful and fun-looking, that I picked up a few. I knew that I was going to turn them into artwork.
The same goes for postcards. Postcards are wonderful in in gallery walls. And you can frame them or use a bit of washi tape to attach them to the wall. There are no rules.
5. Reuse What You Have
Listen, I love shopping at HomeGoods, Homesense at the rest of the other budget-friendly stores as much as anybody, but you don’t have to run out and buy brand new pieces every time. There are items in your home that you can use to put on your wall. We overlook so many things in our closet or in albums or even in email that would make great additions to our gallery walls because we think they’re not worthy.
Let’s take handwritten letters for example. When’s the last time you got a handwritten letter? If you did, you should consider framing it and putting it on your wall, as long as it doesn’t contain sensitive information that you wouldn’t want just anybody to read. But, if you got a handwritten letter congratulating you on an accomplishment or just a beautiful thank you note, you should consider putting it on the wall.
6. Have Anchor Pieces
I didn’t plan out my gallery wall when I first started. I just knew that I wanted to build my artwork around two anchor pieces, and those anchor pieces were two large paintings from HomeGoods. I love plants and earth tones, so the two paintings on my wall were perfect.
I think anchor pieces should be larger than the rest of your other wall art because they are going to be the items people see first. They will anchor the look.
7. Mix Sizes
I have read so many articles online and listened to “gurus” who say that wall art should not be smaller than 8×10. Ah phooey! I have artwork that is smaller than that they look fine to me.
I do like mixing frames, though. But, I do tend to stick with earth-toned colours.
I recently did a YouTube video on my DIY gallery wall. Please click the video below to watch real life examples. If you haven’t subscribed to my channel yet, please do so by clicking here.
Happy decorating. Let me know down below in the comments section what you think of my tips and also let me know how your wall turned out.
This Bahamian Gyal