A gallery of art works and photographs can instantly upgrade the look and feel of any room in your home. Gallery arrangement is an interior design trend that has been gathering momentum for the past few years, and is not likely to lose its attraction in the future too. A gallery wall invokes visual interest, and is a good way of highlighting an accent wall. This décor idea is also inexpensive and easy to maintain. However, when choosing elements for a gallery wall, you should ensure that there is a thread of continuity – for example similar hues – which run through every display.
A gallery wall should ideally be put together in large rooms where the viewer has enough space to stand back and appreciate each element of the arrangement. Galleries in small or narrow rooms can make the space look crowded and busy. Living rooms, dens and staircases are ideal places to plan a gallery. Avoid creating a gallery in bedrooms if you feel it’s too distracting. Once a gallery wall is created, changing it can be quite tiresome and time consuming. Hence, take plenty of time to plan your gallery before putting up pictures. The successful implementation of a gallery wall requires patience and physical effort. So, it is best to attempt creating this with a friend. Here are 6 steps to help you create a beautiful gallery.
Consider the type of the wall and weight of frames when selecting hardware for your picture gallery. Any wall can take the weight of a single frame, but, not every wall can take the weight of multiple frames in a picture gallery. Avoid hanging pictures on drywalls and thin plywood walls. If you must hang pictures on such walls, consider light frames with adhesive backing strips instead of nails or screws. While picture hooks can take the weight of lightweight frames, you may need to use a wall anchor for heavier frames. For the sake of stability, wide pictures should ideally have two hanging points that are equidistant from the centre.
There are a number of ways to arrange a gallery wall. These can be broadly categorized as grid arrangements and random arrangements. The first step to hanging pictures for a gallery wall is to collect all your elements and plan a layout. When picking a style, look at the rest of your interiors and the elements of your gallery. A grid arrangement works well in minimalistic and classic interiors with traditional elements, while a random arrangement is better suited for contemporary interiors.
The size of elements also plays an important role in planning a gallery wall, and should be in proportion to the size of your wall. A gallery of miniatures on a large wall can look insignificant while a large gallery of big prints can overwhelm a slim wall. As far as possible, maintain a uniform spacing between frames. In a random arrangement, choose one or two large pieces to anchor the wall with smaller elements planned around these. If your arrangement is above a piece of furniture, leave a gap of 6 to 8 inches between the top of the furniture and the bottom of the lowest frame.
Once you have all your elements, begin by arranging them on the floor. Plan this arrangement to be as close to the actual arrangement you are imagining on the wall. If possible, try planning the gallery in the same room it is being designed for. Measure the length of the wall including windows and mark it on the floor to get an idea of the space you have to work with. Start with a large anchor piece and build your gallery outwards. At this stage, you can experiment as much as you like with the gallery. When you finish an arrangement photograph it, and then proceed to change the order. Pay attention to balancing things like colour, finish and size in the arrangement. Do this a few times before picking an arrangement that you like most.
Using your floor layout as a reference; mark out the actual position of frames on the wall. Avoid using a marker to draw on the walls. Instead, you can use masking tape to mark frame positions. Alternatively, cut out brown paper or newspaper to the size of the frames, and paste these onto the wall as frame templates. Arrange the furniture and other elements that will come along with the picture gallery, to gauge the final visual effect. It is easier to adjust the position of pictures at this stage rather than after you have drilled holes in the wall.
A paper mock-up makes marking nail positions easy. To get an accurate nail position, flip the picture frames and place the mock template face-down over it. Use a pin to pierce the paper and mark the hook position. Next, flip the template over and mark the spot more obviously with a pen on the right side. For frames that have a hanging wire that connects both hanging points, pull the wire up taut, and measure the distance between this and the top of the frame to get the correct nail position.
Use the right hardware for each picture so that it can take the weight of the frame. For most walls, it is best to first make a pilot hole with a small drill bit before using a bigger drill bit to widen the hole and to prevent the plaster from cracking.
Finally, take down the mock templates and clean the wall of dust that may have fallen while drilling holes in the wall. Wipe down your picture frames and hang each frame in its position, by using the photograph you had taken earlier as a reference. Tie your gallery wall to the overall décor of the room by letting soft furnishings and accessories in the rest of the room reflect the colours of your pictures. Get inspired by this simple yet chic room and its art display rendered by Lunosa, interior designers and decorators from Italy.
Stand back and enjoy your picture gallery! To get more creative, here is another ideabook for you - Interesting ways to display your wall art.