Your art is framed. Your wall is primed. Are you ready to tackle that blank wall? Whether you’re staging a home for sale, moving into a new place or beautifying your long-term residence, a gallery wall is a chic way to give your space personality.
We’ll help you get the most out of your artwork composition while guiding you on the proper way to mount your frames with minimal room for error.
What You’ll Need
- Picture hanging hardware
- Large sheets of paper such as poster board or printer paper
- Tape measure
- Blue painter’s tape
- Black pen
Step 1: Prep Your Wall
Before installing any artwork, make sure your wall is smooth and flat. Any existing holes should be filled and also sanded down; white toothpaste will work in a pinch. The wall needs to be smooth so that all frames hang evenly against it.
Step 2: Test Your Arrangement
Lay everything on the floor and take inventory of what your overall gallery will be composed of. Then, start to arrange the artwork into a composition. This is the time to play! If your frames are eclectic, find a nice balance between large frames and small frames, bright colors and neutral tones. As a tip, the largest artwork in a composition often looks best when placed towards the bottom to help ground the arrangement.
Once you’ve set the composition, measure its length and height, noting its widest point and longest point. Do a simple sketch of the shapes, jotting down any relevant measurements like inches between frames and size of the overall composition.
Step 3: Mark the Overall Measurement & Key Points on the Wall
We suggest using it only as a starting point, then adjusting depending on the conditions of the wall. Do you have high ceilings? Will the gallery wall hang above a sofa, credenza, fireplace or bed? These factors may require you to adjust the height, so that the composition looks best for the space.
Starting with the 57” artwork height gives you a guideline. Use the blue painter’s tape to make a height of 57” from the floor to the middle of the wall. Then, use the additional tape to mark out the overall length and width of the composition. This can be done by designating the corners of your overall composition, so that you can see the full scale of your gallery wall.
Step 4: Make Templates for Each Artwork
Trace the overall size of each artwork on white paper. Cut out these shapes to create your templates. Next, flip around each artwork and study the locations of your hanging hardware. Measure these locations and mark them in black pen on your templates to create hanging marks.
For any frames to be hung with wire, be sure to check the measurement when the middle of the wire is pulled taut. This tests how low the piece will hang from the picture hook. Then, tape up all of the templates on the wall following the composition you laid out earlier and within the boundaries of the blue tape from step 3.
Now, step back. Take a look at your composition and adjust the templates until you’re happy with the arrangement. Be sure to view it from all angles of your room, especially through entryways. If the 57” artwork height looks too low or too high, now is the time to adjust and review. Marking and measuring prior will help make your job easier.
Step 5: Grab A Hammer
Gather your hanging hardware and a hammer. Start by hanging one artwork at a time, nailing hardware into locations marked on your templates, from step 4. Use a level as needed to test the evenness of any artwork. Once the piece is mounted, rip out the template from underneath. As you build your gallery wall, periodically stand back and check the progress as well as the levels and spacing. Once all frames are mounted, use the level one more time to double check that everything is even and straight.
Celebrate your gallery wall success! And stay creative. You can grow your wall from here, working new pieces into your composition as your collection grows over time. If you think you need a second opinion, contact an interior designer.