Gallery walls create a visual reminder of memories and, when curated beautifully, tell an intriguing and cohesive story. Because no two are alike, the groupings are personal and interesting. They serve as a way to position moments, paintings, and sketches together to create a larger work of art. Some of the most striking gallery walls are collected over the years, making them feel deeply Southern, too. And, like most things in the South, their beauty grows with time.
I have a gallery wall of watercolors in the foyer that I have collected over years of travel. Each one evokes questions from my children, presenting the opportunity for me and my husband to share experiences with them. It serves as a wonderful conversation starter! We have another gallery wall in the home that is deeply personal and includes photographs, framed notes, and a watercolor portrait of our first child (our white lab, Emma!). We love sharing stories with guests about the pieces we’ve chosen to display.
At Well + Wonder, I help clients create gallery walls in their homes by grouping their favorite pieces of art and mementos to design a unique collection. It’s the perfect way to pull together pieces that might be overlooked and create a striking, visual impact in a home. Of course, I naturally love when a collection includes one of our Collective’s budding Southern, female artists. Through the process, we encourage clients to see art as we do – that it evokes memories and feelings, making our homes feel alive and complete.
Here are some of the tips I share with our clients who are looking to begin their own gallery wall. I hope you’ll find them inspiring:
Put Down the Hammer: Yes, hanging a gallery wall can be intimidating, but you don’t have to immediately put holes in the wall. Make the process easier on yourself by using brown Kraft paper and laying out your gallery wall. That way, you can confidently arrange pieces and mark up the paper until you find just the right formation. When complete, use painter’s tape to hold the paper to the wall and as a guide for nails.
Select the Anchor: Identify your favorite piece of the bunch and let it be the anchor, setting the tone for the wall. Perhaps it’s your newly acquired abstract, a hand-me-down portrait of your beloved grandmother, a treasured note, or a sketch from a child. Whatever you choose-- make it the focal point of your wall and the key feature of the story you’re telling. Hang this piece about eye-level (around five feet from the floor) and continue from that point.
Mix & Match: Don’t be afraid to mix color, mediums, and price points. Gallery walls are much more interesting and thoughtful when they include a variety of styles and textures. Mix your vintage drawings framed in glass with modern abstracts on chunky wood board. And remember, not every piece is a “masterpiece.” Some of the most beautiful pieces of art may come from the hands of someone you love. The combination will keep it fun and interesting.
Space it out: Be sure to keep your paintings about three inches apart and the spacing consistent between each piece. To make this measurement consistent and easy, simply cut a small piece of paper about three inches wide. Use that to space each piece accordingly.
Hang it up: And remember to continue adding to your collection. The fun part is that gallery walls are meant to evolve. When you add to your collection, simply build out and up from your original grouping.