how to create a gallery wall

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We just finished a whole-house makeover, plus we finished our basement. When I say ‘just’ I mean about it was nearly finished a year ago, then life happened and I just barely, last weekend, finished installing and painting the very last pieces of trim. Phew!

Now my walls are all perfectly painted in a color I love, but empty.

Since my house is finally beautiful (if I do say so my house) and elegant, I hardly want to put back up the old art and decor I started collecting 20 years ago, as a very-poor newlywed college student. Of course, I’m keeping my own paintings, though I did re-frame most of them. And I’m keeping all of our family photos. But I’m relegating those to the basement, where I’ll create a large gallery wall.

My beautiful walls upstairs are in desperate need of new art. My main floor — the kitchen, great room, music room, formal living room, foyer and up the stairs to a large landing — is all open. The colors, flooring and style are now a transitional farmhouse style, while my old decor is kind of hodge-podge.

So I started looking through Pinterest and shopping around.

There is nothing I love more than a good gallery wall, and I have a huge space just begging for one. I actually have three perfect, large spaces, but I figured I’d start with one, ha, ha! 

Once I got started I couldn’t stop, however.

It is just a little harder than you’d think. The well-executed gallery walls I found all over Pinterest combined frames and styles, seemingly effortlessly, but I kept second-guessing the combinations of my own choices. It was also difficult to know how much art I would need and which sizes to purchase. I think I finally have mine all situated and decided to compile the tips that helped me into a concise list of steps.



1. Measure your space

Measure the space you want to fill. Cut a large piece of kraft paper (you can buy it cheap at Dollar Tree) your desired size (tape together smaller pieces if you don’t have a roll of kraft paper that is wide enough) and use it to help you visualize. Set the kraft paper aside.

2. Pick your art

This is the fun part! To keep it interesting choose a mix of mediums and styles — art prints, paintings, photographs, typography designs, ink drawings and illustrations. Stick to a mostly consistent color palette (such as all pastels, or all primaries or all black/white) but with a couple of unexpected elements. You’re going for visually cohesive, but not matchy-matchy. You will want at least one larger piece to visually anchor your arrangement, along with assorted smaller sizes. Too many small things will look messy. 

Use the measurements you took earlier to help you decide the sizes of the art you choose.

I found a couple of fantastic pieces locally, but also sourced several pieces, for great prices, at Minted Art. They carry so many different aesthetics and styles from independent artists around the world, and they make the job so much easier by offering already-curated collections. Pieces range from $21 (unframed) to about $600 (matted and framed). Be sure to add yourself to their mailing list for free shipping codes and other discounts.

My very favorite thing about buying art from Minted is that Minted helps emerging artists to use their platform to earn money and establish themselves. The artists each have their own profiles with bios and links to all of their work. As an artist and designer myself, I love that!

3. Choose frames

You should look for frames in different sizes, styles, widths, textures and colors for an interesting gallery that looks as if it were curated over time. Or you can keep all the frames in your color palette and just vary the styles, widths and textures. 

4. Layout the perfect composition

You’ll want to use that kraft paper you cut earlier. Lay it on the floor and position your art on top of it, as if it were a puzzle, rearranging the pieces until your reach a composition you like. Use a larger piece a little bit off-center to anchor the collection. If you don’t have one large piece of art, group two together for the illusion of a larger piece.

It is always best to place the largest piece of art slightly off center so that it doesn’t become a focal point.

Closely spaced art is always better. There should only be 2-3 inches between frames, and never more than four. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen is to try to fill too large a space with too few items, and spacing the items too far apart. That looks really awkward — more like a bunch a random objects than a cohesive grouping.

Once you’ve reached the perfect composition, trace around the pieces. Then turn the pieces over, find where you should locate the nail, and transfer that position to the kraft paper.

5. Hang everything

Now that sheet of kraft paper will be your best friend. Tape it to the wall in the desired position and go ahead and hammer the nails right through the paper. It will help nail placement immensely so you won’t have a ton of extra nail holes to spackle and paint. You can rip the paper right off the nails once you finish placing them all.

It’s a little hard to put holes in your brand new, perfect walls, I know. Yikes! But once I start, I’m all in. Good luck with your gorgeous gallery wall.



Do you have any tips or tricks to add to this list?

Shop my gallery wall favorites for ideas:




I absolutely love these Foil-pressed Maps. Click the picture to see if they have your favorite city! Wouldn’t this be a fun, personal and memorable gift?




I also love these photo collages. This one would be a perfect graduation gift, but Minted Art also offers state-shaped collages, holiday collages and so many more. The graduation photo with the personalized mat is fun, too. There are so many options!




And oh, my gosh! Check out this adorable Baby Animals Collection for a nursery gallery wall! I love how these watercolor prints are soft and fuzzy-feeling. Your baby would love them! You can find other nursery art collections at Minted Art, too.





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  1. I love gallery walls I have 3 throughout my house lol. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      Well, you’re a pro then! Do you have any tips for us?

  2. You made this look so simple and easy. Thanks for the tips!

  3. I bet your new redo looks great! I’d like to do a kitchen overhaul but I’m renting, I don’t think the landlord would mind but I won’t be doing that. I think gallery walls are so pretty! Especially with art, photos, and other decor.

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      Yeah, I don’t think I’d want to put the money or time into renovating someone else’s property, ha, ha!

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