Home Design Tips with Darby. How to design a Fabulous Gallery Wall
If you're like me, this lock down has made you take a hard look at every wall in your house and reconsider what you're looking at. Darby has some great ideas about how to make your walls shine again!
Gallery walls are a fabulous way to personalise your space. It is a great way to integrate older pictures that you love with newer ones to make the room look fresh and interesting.
Step 1: The planning process
The first thing you have to do is decide on the look. It can be overwhelming scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest looking at all of the gorgeous gallery walls. The options are endless. To help simplify the options, I like to divide my styles into 3 main themes.
Eclectic: Use different frames, colours and sizes. This lends itself well if you have vintage photographs, architectural drawings or family items that you would like to incorporate.
photo credit: @_noopdesigns_. photo credit: @ Harrison_nate_and_me
Modern Grid: This works well if you have a more uniform collection. It could be photographs, little paintings, architectural drawings, fabric, wallpaper samples, shells.
photo credit:@renovatedfaith photo credit:@Sydney.rae.mcneil
- Combo: This one uses different frame shapes and sizes, but all the same colour scheme.
photo credit: @88.pri photo credit: @_noopdesigns_
Step 2: Measure your wall
Measure the space where you're considering the new layout. Keep in mind that you would like the centre of your piece at 60” off the floor. I usually put 2” in between each piece. This helps group the individual pieces so that visually they look like one large piece. If it is over a sofa, make sure that you keep head room in mind. This should give you a general idea of frame size and shape.
At this point, I lay out the existing pieces that I will use on the floor in front of the wall. Feel free to move your coffee or kitchen table out of the way so you can better visualise the photos and the frames in the grid. This helps me figure out if I need to buy new frames, or if I can re-purpose old ones. It also helps me figure out the sizing.
Step 2: Select your Frames
I love to re-use frames from other areas of my house. It forces me to change the art on those other walls, and it's free! If that isn't possible, then I look to Kijiji, Michaels or Ikea. I will often update the frames by painting or staining them.
Step 3: Select your Artwork
Now comes the fun part. Deciding what goes in the frames. One of my favourite things to do is take a photograph close up of a part of my kids artwork and then print it out. It adds a whimsical and usually colourful touch. For a design project I am working on now, the clients teens have a homework assignment to take nature photos with their phones. The photos are so great we decided to incorporate them into the artwork for the wall! I have also used maps, wallpaper samples, fabric samples, books, it is really endless. And you probably have most of the resources already in your home or on your phone.
Pro Tip: If you are using images on your phone, don’t forget you can use your filters to fit your photo into your colour scheme. Also, you need to use a large file format so it prints out crisply.
Step 4: Installation
You are now ready to dress your wall: For this you need a few materials.
- A pencil and good eraser
- A level (laser levels are the best)
- I like to use Velcro Hangables, but you can use regular picture hangers too. Tip: if you are using picture hangers get rubber sound dampening disks for kitchen cabinets to put on the corners so they stay straight.
- Measuring tape
Now that you have laid out your artwork on the floor it is time to install it. Measure the total length and width. Find the centre. Now mark the centre of your artwork on the wall approximately 60” off the floor and centred on the wall or over the piece of furniture below.
Start from the centre of your gallery wall and work out towards the edges. Make sure your artwork is level. This is critical. I have often tried to cut corners and eyeball it in an attempt to save time and I have never been successful. Be patient.
If you are using picture hangers, here comes the math. You need to measure from the top of the frame to the wire when it is pulled up as if it is hanging.
Then measure from the top edge of the frame you have just installed to where the centre of the new frame adding the inches for the space in between. This is where you use your level to ensure they are at the right height.
Pro tip: even though you may have purchased a pack of seemingly identical frames, do not assume that they are all wired for the same height! Measure twice...hang once!
Success! You have done it! A brand new personalised gallery wall for you to enjoy.
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