Framed! 18 Picture-Perfect Gallery Walls

Candid vacation snapshots. Formal family portraits. Contemporary art. Flea market finds. Your most prized pictures and artistic expressions deserve a special place in your home—a gallery, if you will. But where to begin? Creating an eye-pleasing montage is one of those things that seems intuitive once it’s done, but the planning stages can be a bit overwhelming. Finding the right mix of colors, sizes, textures and balance takes not only creativity, but also a bit of mathematical patience. (Hint: Save yourself both aggravation and spackle by making a paper template before you grab the hammer and nails!) To give you inspiration for telling your own wonderful wall story, we’ve scoured the Web for the best of the best. From staircase displays to unusually beautiful patterns to floor-to-ceiling gallery arrangements, here are some of our favorite ideas for showcasing your frame-worthy pieces.

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  1. Eclectic Collection


    Displaying a broad assortment of photographs, art, and interesting objects is a great way to let your personal style shine through. There are no real rules here: Unique finds from consignment shops, auctions, or your travels are a great place to start. Get the creative juices flowing with a few pieces that work with your color scheme, then add items that enhance the texture of the display.

  2. A Sense of Place


    Imagine having a reminder of that special place that tugs at your heartstrings every time you walk into your living room. Whether your sentimental spot is Paris or Pasadena, you can really make a wall come to life with an assortment of framed photos, prints, maps, and artifacts that pay tribute to your favorite stomping grounds. 

    Related: 5 Things to Do with... Maps

  3. Atypical Typography


    Black-and-white celebrations of typography promote a sophisticated yet streamlined mood in a room. Using simple matted frames, you can spotlight bold fonts, unique postcards, a family initial, or even some minimalist artwork of your own.

    Related: 12 Reasons to Embrace the Elegance of Black and White

  4. Child’s Play


    If you have a bulging envelope of school art projects in a closet somewhere, you're not alone. Why not give them some hang time? Your kids’ masterpieces—displayed in a whimsical geometrical pattern—can become a charming gallery of their own. Drawings, paintings, collages, and even that dried macaroni necklace glued to construction paper are all fair game.

    Related: 12 Fresh Ideas for Your Kids' Room

  5. Color Outside the Lines


    A monochromatic wall display is anything but boring when it's backed by a contrasting color or texture. As an alternative to using paint to make your gallery pop, arranging it on a brick or paneled wall, or on some other raised surface, will make the display more distinct.

    Related: How To Paint Wood Paneling

  6. 50 Shades of…


    A varied collection of artwork and photographs feels connected when you abide by just one rule: Stick to a uniform color palette. Both vintage and modern pieces meld harmoniously when the big picture remains monochromatic.

    Related: Best Neutral Paint Colors

  7. Staircase to Heaven


    The wall flanking your staircase is a perfect place for a gallery. The project peeve? It's tough to keep your frames level and evenly spaced while following the natural ascent of the stairs. If you like the creative part of the job more than the planning stage, consider using a DIY gallery kit that includes a template, such as those available from Picturewall.

    Related: 10 Clever Uses for the Space Under the Stairs

  8. Photos Without Borders


    If you have some high-resolution photos to show off, why not go big? Family portraits or colorful landscapes look great enlarged and printed on durable canvas. The material is wrapped around a hidden frame, so all you see are your dynamic images mounted in bold, living color.

    Related: Bon Appétit—10 Ways to Dine Without the Room

  9. Angled Aesthetics


    When you’re working with objects that are rigidly right angled (as most frames are), tilt your head to gain a new perspective. You'll find that arranging several framed prints on the diagonal can add a visually interesting dimension to your space.

    Related: How To Find a Wall Stud

  10. They Were Framed


    A variety of colorful or unusually shaped frames add interest to a themed display. If you can’t find the exact colors you’re looking for, consider painting your own or shopping for a collection on Etsy. This bunch looks so nice on its own, you might even consider hanging the frames sans photos.

    Related: 10 Unexpected Spots for an Accent Color via FeFiFoFun

  11. Off the Wall


    With some simple shelving, you can easily assemble an attractive, functional, and interchangeable wall display. To create depth, nestle small objects, such as candles, vases, or figurines, among the framed images. Shelves also give you some freedom of composition, allowing you to mix, match, and change things up without having to fill in nail holes.

    Related: How To Install Floating Shelves

  12. ‘Round the Bend


    You might get so inspired by your home gallery that you have trouble containing it to just one wall. No worries. Who’s to say you can’t use two? When you're hanging frames at the intersection of two walls, keep the spacing tight to create the sense of continuous flow.

  13. Line Up and Be Counted


    Sometimes beauty lies in sheer simplicity. For an aesthetically pleasing, minimalist approach, use matching frames and hang them on a single plane, with an equal amount of space between each. Tip: When you're hanging two pieces of artwork side by side, treat them as one large picture to find the center point in between.

  14. Power in Numbers


    There are times when less is more, and there are times when more is magnificent! A series of retro magazine ads, period postcards, or sepia photos are all examples of items that gain importance and drama when displayed in bulk.

    Related: Make an Entrance—10 Inspirational Foyer Ideas

  15. 86 the White Space


    We tend to covet white space, and gallery displays are no exception. In general, you should try to retain about two inches of white space around your frames. Yet, although this display of maps defies this rule of thumb, the result is striking. The frames shown here are actually all the same size, but half are positioned vertically, half horizontally.

    Related: 5 Tricks for Enhancing Hallways

  16. Easel Eye


    Your frames' layout can have as much eye-catching impact as their contents. You'll find that it's easy to design a dramatic, multilevel display with the help of the right hardware. This studio wall easel from Pottery Barn secures the frames with brackets, which slide and lock into place.

  17. Take a Photo Break


    Photos aren’t the only stars of the show. This arrangement (seen here laid out on a carpet for planning purposes) pulls in shades of yellow and green to coordinate with the color scheme of the room. Let your imagination take off with this concept by framing unusual items like swatches of wallpaper or your own doodles. As for the frames themselves, anything goes. Do you notice the two embroidery hoops used as frames?

    Related: 5 Smart Ways to Fill the House with Your Favorite Color

  18. Peekaboo


    We all know that artwork seems right at home above the sofa, but behind it? This approach creates the illusion that the lower frames are “peeking out,” but there is actually a narrow corridor between the couch and the wall. A floor-to-ceiling display puts the art center stage; you feel like you are literally sitting in the middle of a gallery.

    Related: Bob Vila Radio—Picture Frames

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