How to make a Gallery Wall (the impatient person’s guide)

gallery wall

Gallery walls are still a thing, honest. I know this because I write for proper fancy interiors magazines and regularly interview people with nicer houses than my own (see a snippet of my portfolio here *shameless plug*). The thing about gallery walls, is that they can add colour, interest and personality to a space without actually having to do much work, which is why I love the one we have in our living room.

Anyway, one of the most random and repeated questions I get asked about on Instagram is my living room gallery wall. People seem to like it, and seem to think it takes a degree and a whole lot of planning to create. Newsflash: you need neither a degree nor a whole lot of planning to make a gallery wall!

In fact, the only thing you need is a few twitches of creativity, a bit of motivation and – potentially, although not exclusively – a theme.

Our gallery wall was put up for various reasons. Reason 1 being we haven’t gotten around to redecorating our living room in a while and wanted a quick way to give it a new lease of life / distract from the tired walls / add a splash of colour and interest without actually putting up any paint. And reason 2 being that our holiday photos (and some of our happiest family memories ) were just sitting forgotten on my computer hard-drive. And so, the Holiday Gallery Wall was born.

I made a video about our gallery wall which you can see below (hence the big shot of my face right there), but I’ve listed some of the main points here too, if this is an idea you might want to incorporate into your own home. By the way, if videos are your thing and you’re not already subbed to me on YouTube then now’s the time to do it – I’ve been busy in March making lots more content for my channel with around five videos a week!

So, the gallery wall…

1. Think about your frame colours

The quickest and easiest way to give a gallery wall a cohesive look is to think about the frames you’re using. Do you want a vintage style? Maybe you’re showcasing old prints and postcards? Then hunt down retro style frames in charity shops – you can always give them an upcycled chalk paint or spray painted finish.

We chose a monochrome theme for the frames on our wall, mainly because we wanted the colour in the photos to do the talking and because we knew we’d probably change the colour scheme of the room at some point (and couldn’t be bothered to do a whole new gallery wall).

2. Think about your frame styles and sizes

You might want a completely uniform look, in which case go right ahead and put all your photos or prints in the same size frame, spaced apart at exactly the same angle and distance. This is obviously going to be a bit more time consuming to do. Personally, I like a bit of experimentation on a gallery wall, so we opted for deliberately different sizes and styles of frames, some allowing us to display more than one photo. Doing it this way also means it’s easier to add to over time, if we want to put up more pictures of future adventures.

3. Plan your colours

You don’t need to create a bar chart and complicated diagram of your gallery wall before it actually goes up. My approach was far more slapdash, holding prints up side by side to see which ones looked good together and which colours worked well. We don’t have any kind of colour theme – and you can’t really when you’re displaying family photos from various periods – but if you wanted to create some uniformity then this is one way to go, using colour to make a statement through art or typographical prints.

4. Mix and match

I loved the idea of having a few typographical style prints dotted amongst the photos, to cement the theme. This is why I chose the “Adventure” print (from Etsy) and the Family, One Love and lips prints from Instagram pal and general queen Vickie at @inpolife – her shop is In No Particular Order.

And that’s it, really. As with anything to do with interiors I really feel there is no right way to do it – experiment, see what works for you and your space and keep in mind that if it all goes wrong, you can take it all back down again.

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