Want to Give Your Home a Rich and Worldly Vibe? Make a Gallery Wall

So you’ve finally taken a hard look at your life, and the tattered Scarface poster in the corner, and decided it’s time to start caring about your living space. Let’s take all that art you’ve collected, (like that shrimp cocktail painting that guy you met at a bachelorette party made for you, or that Ray Pettibon flyer your high school BFF gave you) and make this rental camera-ready. You’ve seen photos of celebrities’ living rooms, and professionally designed hotel lobbies and you want to bring that high-brow energy into your abode. That’s right: You’re ready to create a gallery wall—but you might not know where to start. 

I know it looks intimidating on the ‘gram, or wherever you get your design inspo, but creating a striking gallery wall at home could truly not be easier. First things first—you’ve gotta know your steeze. Are you a maximalist? A Virgo? Someone with a very short attention span? You can tailor how you hang your art based on a ton of factors. If you already own a bunch of prints, photos, or paintings, but you’re struggling with framing and hanging, we’ve found an assortment of ready-to-go frame sets ranging in style from classic to bohemian that make planning a breeze. On the flip side, coming into the experience fresh allows for even more flexibility, and there are a bunch of cool brands out there making it stress-free to create a cohesive, thoughtful gallery wall. 

Step one is to think about scale, then figure out what style you gravitate towards. If you have a small place, it might sound counterintuitive, but smaller paintings, when isolated, can make your space seem more cramped—filling the entire wall will naturally draw your attention up, giving a more spacious feel. Similar rules apply if you have the problem we all wish we had: a giant wall to fill. Giving each piece proper breathing room will have a much bigger impact than clustering your art in the center of a big wall. 

Now, onto the contents of your wall. Prints, paintings, and posters are obvious options, but you don’t have to stop there. Depending on what you like—maybe you’re a hoarder collector of antiques, knick-knacks, commemorative plates, baseball cards—you can put them all on your wall in a great big maximalist display. If you’re more of a Marie Kondo-obsessed minimalist, even better. It’s not hard to create a zen atmosphere by focusing on a singular theme or color story. Pre-fab frame kits and picture ledges create a clean, cohesive look, with minimal effort and time spent. 

How to plan out your gallery wall

Once you’ve picked a style or general vibe for your wall, it’s time to take inventory of all the things you want to hang, then order frames to accommodate each piece. If you’re starting from scratch, I highly suggest ordering a set of frames that you like the look of and working backwards. Regardless, the best hack for hanging a wabi-sabi style gallery wall is to make butcher-paper mock ups so you can easily plan and rearrange. Once you’ve decided on your favorite configuration, you can nail straight through the paper where you’ve marked the picture hangers, et voila—you’re ready to hang. Pro tip: Starting with your largest frame, and building around, usually heeds the most natural, sophisticated result.  

For precise grids, or if you plan on filling the entire wall, a self-leveling laser comes in super clutch. It’s not a necessity, but you will thank yourself later. 

If you have a lot of personal photos that you want to feature, Framebridge makes it stupid easy for you to create the wall of your dreams—all you have to do is pick a set of frames that matches your project, upload your pictures to the site, and, in a matter of days, your will receive your framed prints and a life-size hanging guide in the mail. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the design process, Framebridge also offers professional gallery wall consultations, starting at $99, so you don’t have to think about what looks best where. 

Where to buy cool art online

Still needing to flesh out your assortment? We gotchu. There are plenty of places online to find art on any budget—affordable, vintage-inspired prints, one-of-a-kind art pieces, and even some wacky accessories to tie the whole look together. For the affordable route, AllPosters, Zazzle and Society 6 have plenty of cool options, so you won’t have the same basic-ass Klimt print that’s in everyone’s college apartment (no offense). There are plenty of Art Deco designs, as well as original photography and reprints of vintage advertisements that work as a great anchor piece to build the rest of your layout around. For more ideas, check out our complete guides to online shopping for affordable art and eye-catching prints.  

Frame kits

Sometimes “faking it” is the best option. Sure, you could take months to hunt through Ebay and garage sales finding unique frames, but who has the time for that? Grab one of these cool sets, and be done with it. 

Shelf it

If you want a clean, minimal design but have anxiety over hanging a bunch of perfectly aligned frames, picture ledges are truly the absolute fastest way to make a big statement. There are plenty of options in neutral shades that will blend into the wall, plus fun, colorful acrylic shelves for a nice visual pop. 

Add a bit of flair

The best way to display your Princess Diana Beanie Baby, Lego creations, or signed Mickey Mantle card is to incorporate it into your gallery wall. You can frame practically anything—they make shadow box frames for everything from your college jersey to a bunch of vintage matchbooks. Try adding dimension by breaking up your grid with an object, a neon sign, or a piece of three-dimensional art. 

Don't panic—there is truly no wrong way to do it. 

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals?Sign up for our newsletter.


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