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9 Tips for Creating a Unique Gallery Wall

By House*Tweaking on Jan 24, 2013

Have you noticed the abundance of gallery walls filling the design world lately? These days gallery walls are less about structure and perfect alignment and more about creating a unique, imperfect composition. Here are nine tips to keep in mind while creating a gallery wall of your own.

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1 – Mix and match. Gone are the days of rows of matching frames. Use wood frames, metal frames, fabric-covered frames – heck, even unframed pieces are game. And don’t count out tabletop frames. If you find one you are particularly drawn to, remove the prop from the back of the frame, add a wall hanger and put that bad boy on the wall. Use larger frames to create a base arrangement then fill in gaps with smaller frames.

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2 – Incorporate various mediums. Most people associate photographs and commissioned art with gallery walls but other artistic decor can be used as well. Try fabric remnants, petite shelves, sconces, prints, kid art, real/faux animal heads or antlers, mirrors, thrifted finds and decorative plates for an eclectic look.

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3 – Vary the spacing. Back away from the tape measure. And laser level. {I’m talking to you, HH.} Instead of exact spacing, focus more on the overall composition. Not every frame must be the same distance apart from its neighbors. One slightly crooked frame can be just the thing needed to loosen up a stuffy wall.

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4 – Go horizontal and vertical.  Hang some pieces horizontally and others vertically to avoid too perfect arrangements.

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5 – Let asymmetry be your friend. A perfectly symmetrical arrangement feels formal and final. An asymmetrical layout feels casual and effortless, like it has been gathered and hung over time. Look at the wall as a whole and take away anything that makes the gallery feel cluttered or busy. Asymmetrical arrangements can be easily added onto so they can evolve with you.

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6 – Bigger is, well, bigger. Use the entire width and height of a wall for a dramatic effect. This is particularly useful when considering partial walls or walls that aren’t necessarily contained within a specific room – such as walls found in stairwells, nooks and landings.

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7 – Layer and connect. Gallery walls can look lonely if they aren’t connected to a piece of furniture or an architectural detail. Creating a gallery wall just above – or even slightly behind – a sofa, chair, console, desk or flatscreen TV connects the wall to the room. Automatically, the wall becomes part of a dimensional space instead of just falling to the background. Resting a frame or two on the floor, a desk, a table or even a chair rail bridges the gap between wall and room.

8 – Find inspiration. If you’re new to mixing and matching, asymmetry and eclectic arrangements, browse the internet for inspiration. Use your favorite online gallery wall as a spring board for your own.

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9 – Let it evolve.  Just like rooms in your home, a gallery wall develops and evolves over time. A gallery wall is a visual story that should reflect your ever-changing loves and interests. Start with a basic arrangement and add to it as your heart desires!

images: Lonny

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