Tips for Installing a Gallery Wall

Tips for hanging a gallery wallThis past week I finally finished installing my gallery wall in the living room. It's probably taken me over three months to complete this wall, from collecting all the art, to buying all the frames, framing everything and then hanging it all up. It was such a fun project, and I LOVE how it turned out!Tips for creating your own gallery wallI have always loved the look of large gallery walls in friend's homes, and I was very excited about the idea of creating one that fit my aesthetic. I had a lot of fun installing this project, and here are a few tips I learned along the way:

1. Choose Art You Love.  If you are planning to hang a gallery wall in your home, don't feel like you have to make it look like anyone else's. You can include original art, art prints, kiddo art, family photos, personal photo projects or even found objects that get framed in shadow boxes (if needed). Hang what you love and what has meaning to you. If it helps you to get started with your color scheme, then pick your color story before you start purchasing art or printing photos. You can use the color of the photo frames to help tie everything together if needed (like how I used all black frames).How to plan a gallery wall2. Get Creative With Matting Art. For a few of my frames I knew I wanted to fill them with groups of four Polaroid pictures. All these Polaroids are from trips I took while I was in college. I have polaroids of Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and Platform 9 3/4 (I'm a big Harry Potter fan!). These groupings presented a challenging matting situation. My (inexpensive) solution was to use white poster board to fill the frame and adhere the Polaroids to the poster board. Thicker paper would work well here too, depending on the depth of your frame.

3. Plan Out the Frame Placement. This is super obvious but an easy step to skip if you're feeling lazy. There have definitely been times over the years I decided to hang things without planning the placement first, and it almost always results in extra holes in the wall and extra work. No good! There are a couple of options for planning your framed art placement. I chose to cut the shapes of each frame out of poster board and tape them to the wall. This made it easy for me to move the shapes around to find the perfect arrangement before we began hanging them. But don't think you have to stick to your plan exactly. Once you start putting the actual frames on the wall, you might want to shift a few things around. I definitely did! But it was nice to have a guide so I knew the general layout I was shooting for. Can't break the rules until you know the rules, right?How to make your own gallery wallIf you're curious about some of the pieces on my wall, here's the low down. I have personal photos and Polaroids, a pug portrait made by Hope (Katie's sweet daughter), prints from UO, Pretty Little Thieves, Clare Elsaesser, Lisa Congdon, Vivienne Strauss, Hands Workshop, Ashley Goldberg and United Thread. What kinds of art/photos do you have hanging in your home? xo. Emma

  • I love this! It looks great…I also love your side tables 🙂 What color are your walls? Are they a dark purple or black? It’s the color I’m currently trying to convince my bf to let us paint our living room!


  • I love this… Emma, can you please share what the paint colour is and where the sofa is from? Also… please do a tour of your house soon! 🙂

  • Thanks for this post as I am in the process of redecorating my home and had it sketched out to do a wall like this but wasn’t sure exactly how I should place the photos.


  • It turned out great! I actually did mine the opposite! I started with one piece, and have added them gradually as I find the art.


  • In the process of doing this in my bedroom – great tip about the paper to plan the placement! Thanks!!

  • I love Urban Outfitters prints and, of course, Etsy art, and I love how you mixed it with personal photos and kid’s drawings. Such a lovely, and eclectic mix. I don’t really have a big enough place on my wall for a gallery right now, but I’ve been planning one in my mind for a while, and can’t wait!

  • this is perfect timing for me! we’ve been trying to decide on a gallery arrangement over our mantle for months!! thanks for sharing!

  • Going to use this method for my new place, also Rachel’s tutorial on the 57″ rule was so helpful
    Thanks again for being awesome!

  • This would fit very well into my living room ! Also adore your sense of putting the right pieces together. I’ll start right now to collect art pieces and photos!

    Greetings from Germany

  • Beautiful gallery wall. But I can’t get over the side tables. Where did you get them?

  • You did a wonderful job. I really like the artwork – it is beautifully mismatched and I imagine a perfect representation of what you love. I was hesitating for so long about our wall and trying to make sure it all ‘went together’, but I think I’m going to get a little bit more creative and just think about the things that are really important to me – my favourites – and see how they start looking all together.

  • Can you tell me where you got the phases of the moon print. It’s awesome and beautiful all at the same time.

  • I love everything about this! The wall color, the couch, the beautiful art and layout! Inspiring! 🙂

  • I just wrote a similar post the other day! Love the contrast of the chartreuse sofa against the black wall. Tres chic!

  • you have the sofa i have been searching for. where did you find it? its BEAUTIFUL!

  • this wall painters is a good idea!! I love the wall colour, it’s really nice!!

  • I’m going to tuck this one away so I can reference it when I move out of my studio apartment. Too small to do any major projects at this point but some day… 😉


    Jules of Canines & Couture

  • When I get my dream home, I’m definitely planning on a gallery wall 😉

  • This is great. I LOVE decorating and I can’t wait being in our new place by the end of the year/beginning of next year to make a lot of blogposts about decorating and my personal style 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing these tips! I’ve been wanting to install a gallery wall FOREVER now.

  • omg! I love this! I’ve attempted a gallery wall…it doesn’t look this great lol…runs to try again 🙂

  • really enjoyed this post! It’s super helpful because I’m planning on doing a gallery wall at our new place. Thanks for sharing!

  • Great post! I was actually just thinking of how I could create a salon style gallery wall 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!

  • We’re currently working on a gallery wall in our bedroom and it’s so fun!


  • lovely idea! 🙂 Really, if someday i have my own space, i will put my own gallery too. just like yours 🙂

  • Just remember, when you go to hang and you have wire hanger on the back of your frame You will have a 1/2″ – 1″ leeway depending on the WEIGHT!! of your frame. I only reccomend using the sawtooth hanger on frames no larger than a 11×14. Just due to the weight issues, but what ever is your preference is your choice 😀

    So what I like to do is pull the wire as tight as I can and measure the edge of the frame to JUST UNDER the wire to know where to put my frame edge if you want straight lines like in the gallery above.

    I would also recommend to lay your frames on the floor too for a good visual of everything together before you put it on the wall. But sometimes things look different at various perspectives, but its nice to have a visual.

    Melinda, your friendly neighbourhood Framer :p

  • I thought I liked my gallery wall until I saw yours. The tips are great though and I will like mine again.

  • This is the best post I’ve come across since moving into a new place in Scotland. The task of picturing arranging is always daunting because I doubt myself too much. Thanks so much for this helpful post!!!


  • *Personal, that is. Not seasonal. (autocorrect fail) Although I’m sure you could swap the frames around seasonally, if you wanted to.

  • Wow, you really packed a lot of personality into that wall! I absolutely love seeing gallery ideas that are cohesive, yet have things I don’t quite understand. They just seem very seasonal, and filled with the people in the home.

    ps. My favorite part is that adorable drawing Hope made!

  • I’ve painted a lot of our artwork. As I look around, I need more but have not the time!

  • Actually looks so rad! I love the punches of colour from the pictures and sofa against the matte black wall.

  • oh, i need this for my place too.
    good inspiration and pressure for me to do it. :o)

  • Totally off topic but how does that yellow couch hold up around kiddos?:)

  • That looks so lovely, I really like the black frames on the dark grey walls. We have a similar thing in our apartment: my partner is a painter so we have several of his peices on the wall, but we’ve also displayed a small collection of instruments (ukeleles, mandolins), plus an anatomical poster of the human skeleton from my medical school days. I’d love to have a wall display like the one from the Royal Tennebaums house but I’ll have to wait until I have a bit more wall-space!! xx

  • That gallery wall looks stunning! As soon as I get a bigger place (with room to dedicate to so much lovely art work) I’ll definitely be recreating my own version 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Nice ! thanks for the tips !
    New post up:
    Love from Paris <3

  • I love gallery walls! Especially if they have lots of meaningful photos and custom art. I can’t wait to hang one in the new house. Thanks for the tips, since I’ve never done this before!

  • I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, thanks for the FAB tips!!

    Check out today’s blog, vintage silk skirt for 99p!!



  • You can’t even imagine how thankful I am for this post! I’ve been meaning to start working on my gallery wall for months. Every Friday for the last two months I plan on working on it but I just don’t know where to start. Well, now I don’t have any excuses! 😉

    Have a lovely week!

  • Beautiful! I also have a similar grey wall but don’t know what to do. This is a great inspiration.

  • i think gallery groupings on a dark wall are so stunning! a while back a i wrote about post about tips and tricks for designing & hanging an asymmetrical gallery wall.
    i love your tip about choosing art that you love. i think that is ultimately the most important tip of all! you’ll be looking at that art everyday, so want the art to be something that speaks to you.
    beautiful job! xo

  • We just hung up our gallery wall, too. It wasn’t too tedious, but I second the tip about planning the spacing beforehand. You don’t want to end up with a lopsided gallery and it’s especially important if you have frames of different shapes, sizes and colors. Here’s a link to our wall:

  • I love this wall, and I love the pictures and photos you chose! I have that moon print in my online shopping cart on 🙂 Beautiful, as always!

  • We recently started our own wall. Feels more homey now!

    The Occasional Indulgence

  • Looks amazing, Emma. And I love seeing the papers on the wall to give a visual.

  • This looks great! I’ve been wanting to do this in my place for ever, but, procrastination. Thanks for some inspiration 🙂

  • I love this post & your blog! I recently have started my own blog . . . it is still evolving. Thanks for the “5 tips for bloggers.” I shared your DIY floral antler necklace display.
    I wanted to make sure you were ok with me sharing it! Thanks for always inspiring!

  • Turned out great! What color is your wall or is that wallpaper? It makes for a wonderful background for your pieces.


  • What I love about this particular wall is that you guys have chosen images that work well together. Nice job!

  • Oh, well actually getting more large pegboards would be the obvious solution to being able to move things around! Holes in the wall were fine in rental-white rooms, but I’m quickly learning that holes in a brightly coloured wall are harder to hide!

  • Looks good, though for some reason I find a straight line cutting through them to be kind of distracting.

    Still, it will probably look better than the way I’ve been doing it: slowly collecting things over a longer period of time. It’s very… um… challenging to get something new and try to fit it in nicely around others that are already there. Definitely a few “I wish I’d put that higher” moments. 😛

  • This will really come in handy when I move come the summer!

    xo Lisa
    Making Life’s Lemons

  • Great tips, i’ve been wanting to start a gallery wall myself!


  • This is lovely! If you visit anyone’s home on my mom’s side of the family (including mine!) you’ll find at least one wall like this. We tend to like little collections of things. I have one in my home and also my office. When I’m planning out how to hang things, I physically arrange everything on the floor, because the colors and images in the pieces themselves affect how I’ll want them arranged (like, I don’t want five pictures of red things clustered together). Then I take a picture and use it as a reference when I hang.

  • I’m so happy you posted about this! I’ve always wanted to do it, but I wasn’t sure how to plan out the placement. Great idea using the paper!

  • nice gallery… I’ve redone mine….3 or 4 times, because I didn’t plan it out enough and wait for art that I really loved. I really like the gold forest picture in the middle, looks so good, and pulls the whole look together.

  • I think its fun to hang different mediums of art for a gallery wall, like combining watercolors, pictures, and even mirrors has resulted in a nice mix for me.

  • I love this. I have been storing art and photos to do just the same thing. I love how it all ties in with your adorable sofa. I love it all! You guys are my inspiration so I wanted to just say thank you very much.

  • This looks amazing and they are fantastic tips for doing it yourself. I’m inspired! Thank You!

  • This is on my to-do list. I’m still trying to find frames for everything but hope to finally hang everything soon! I love how yours turned out. The paint on your walls is lovely too. So dramatic but amazing. Did you paint your coffee table legs again?
    xx Allison

  • I love everything about this. This wall/photos/couch combo is perfect. 🙂 My fav is the moon phases. So rad.


  • I want a wall like this! It looks so unique

    Please check out and follow my blog! I’d really appreciate it!

  • I absolutely love watercolor as an art medium, so I have filled our home with watercolor prints of our travels. Some are framed posters, some are postcards, and some are watercolor originals. It’s a great way to display artwork while chronicling our trips.

    Your gallery wall turned out great by the way! I like the way you have blended photographs into your plan.

  • These are all great tips! A lot of people get art they don’t particularly like but they think others will like! Great list!

  • These three months are showing finally a great result!
    This is lovely and thanks for sharing the tips 😉

  • love the art there, and they go perfectly with that dark wall.
    I can’t wait to start decorating my new home and although I’m fan of only one huge painting on the wall, I will definitely have gallery wall. Most of my “wall art” are my own personal work and few drawings done by my dear friends.

  • beautiful! your gallery wall looks amazing. i recently did a gallery wall diy post too, but you’ve shown it up in a big way. love the prints
    kw ladies in navy

  • It’s beautiful looking. Love the wall color too. Here’s my gallery wall:

    Turquoise Flamingo

  • I love this! I’ve been wanting to set up a gallery wall (or two… or five) in my house but have been unsure of where to start. Love the idea of taping paper to the wall in the same size as the frames. Thank you for sharing this project!

  • Your gallery wall turned out great! I can’t wait until I have more space to put up one of my own. In the meantime, I just have a shelf display, but with similar sentimental pictures and things from trips. Check it out if you can! Thanks for sharing!

  • such an amazing idea! I definitely want to start collecting art for my own!

  • i’ve been a reader of this amazing blog for quite some time now, but have never commented. I just want to let you lovely ladies know how much you inspire me, how much you’re sisterly relationship reminds me of me and my 2 older sisters, and just how fun blogging and creating can be. keep up the awesome work! and know that i’m reading!!

  • I want a wall like this for such a long time now, but I never make time for it. The tips are very helpful, thanks for sharing them!

  • Oh I love this! Looks beautiful! I’ve been wanting to do something similar to this!

  • this is so beautiful! it came out perfectly, i love how personal it looks and how well they all fit even though they are all different and special! the framed polaroids are simply perfect:)

  • Great tips! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Lulu xx

  • This is so lovely… great tips too!


    Wishing you a wonderful week.

  • When I opened this up I couldn’t remember what blog I was on — I had to double-check and see if it was Design Sponge! Your gallery wall is BEAUTIFUL and I love the black wall. I had a bright blue-emerald wall (deep in color) in my first apartment and it was beautiful. I felt like every day I was waking up inside a magazine cover. I shouldn’t have painted it (it ended up costing me a lot of $$ with the landlord) but it was so worth it for that feeling. I can’t wait to have a house where I can paint the walls whatever color I want — then every day I’ll try and feel that way again.

  • This is gorgeous! Wonderful tips! I’ll be using these somewhere in the future!

  • I’ve done something similar with photos of my kids. To save money, I bought frames at thrift stores and garage sales, then spray-painted them all one color. The different style and shape of the frames adds visual interest, and being all one color ties them together.

  • This looks very cool, I am in process of making a gallery wall, but I haven’t really planned it. I have frames tho and one picture up. x)

  • i love frames! i like how you planned the frame placement 🙂

  • I love this – it looks beautiful 🙂
    I am collecting at the moment – thanks for the tips – can’t wait to get started on ours!

  • I would love to put something like this up in my home 🙂


  • Great post! You guys are so original!

  • We’ve just redecorated our entire house and have stuffed pictures up all over the place. I’m totally in love with it. We have a gallery corner in the landing which is just amazing; a black and white gallery on the stairs; an instagram collage above the stairs, and a general hodge podge in the sitting room. Each one is a mix of art, family photos, kids’ artwork and landscapes. I love just sitting and looking at all the fun things!

  • I love gallery walls! Now I just need a house so I can do one of my own 😉 xxx

  • I’m about to do a project like this in my bedroom, so this will be quite helpful!

  • hey! you’re not fooling us, we know you’re livin’ it up in Mexico right now! Haha, jk. Lovely gallery wall!

  • I have made a few random gallery walls. I love them!


  • Thanks for sharing where you got your prints. I was just about to ask! Looks great 🙂 Right now we have nothing on the walls! (Home renos), but we will collect art pieces wherever we go, my father in law is a photographer, and our friends own a framing store so we have lots to put up!

  • Love it!
    My boyfriend has a gallery wall too, we call it the ‘Pinterest wall’. Even though there are some pieces which were made by us 🙂

  • I love this! My college roommate for next year and I were talking about doing this! Great tips!

    Juliette Laura

  • I have made a gallery wall in my bedroom with collages I made myself, pictures I painted myself and pictures I cut out from a magazine. And in between a calender I made myself. I didn´t really make a plan for how to arrange the frame, I did it in impulse.

    On another wall have I made a huge collage with concert posters, fashion and perfume adverts and black-and-white photographs of me and my friends.

  • I love this! I bought frames a year or two ago and I never hung them up. But I will be doing a gallery wall soon!

    (I’m a potterhead too! :D)

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