Where to Start When Creating a Gallery Wall

Question: Where do you start when trying to create a gallery wall? The idea is great, but knowing how or where to start is difficult.


Creating a gallery wall does not have to be difficult. Here are some tips to use when creating one in order to make your experience painless!

First, gather together the pieces you are planning to use in your gallery.  Lay them out on the floor and start by selecting the piece that is the largest, the brightest or the most eye catching. This will be the focal point of the wall. By starting with the desired focal piece, the rest of the picture placement on your galley wall will be much simpler.

There is no right or wrong when deciding on the placement of various pieces that hang in a gallery grouping. It can be symmetrical or asymmetrical. Go with your intuition and try to balance the overall grouping throughout the placement.

The idea with your galley wall is to create a display of complementary pieces.  Each individual piece adds its own beauty, but the piece as a whole can also hold itself together.

Variety of subject matter will help the gallery grouping be more successful. Having variety will add interest and keep the eye moving around the grouping. It is fine to use color or black and white as a theme throughout the pictures. One idea is to to use a black and white center piece, surrounded by colorful pieces.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that it should feel balanced. Layout the grouping on the floor or a table surface and play around with different layouts. Decide the best layout and then install the grouping. It helps to create a sketch, so that you can remember where things go.

Hang the focal piece first, followed by the pictures closest to it as arranged beforehand.  Don’t worry if your arrangement changes as you hang each piece.  Your final arrangement on the wall will be the best layout of all!

Mix and Match Art for an Inviting Display

Are you facing a large empty wall and trying to decide how to dress it with art? One common choice is to find a generous-sized piece of art to absorb the space. This can add drama to a room and provide a burst of color.

Tapestries, quilts and other wall hangings also make an effective large-format choice. If you want an old-world look, you could visit a local architectural salvage store to explore the possibilities there. Many carry everything from stone carvings to retrieved gates and other wrought iron pieces that work well on a wall.

If you would rather showcase a selection of smaller pieces, here are a few suggestions for you.

  • Select a variety of sizes so that you create an interesting display.
  • Consider adding one or two shelves to set images on for a different look.
  • Don’t feel obliged to have all the frames match; a combination can be very inviting.
  • Don’t limit yourself to photos or paintings; look for embossed art pieces, plates or other items with some dimension to add personality.

To set up a display using a number of pieces, start by making a plan on paper and then try the arrangement on the floor before putting in any nails. If you’re still not sure of your plan, cut rectangles out of wrapping paper to match the sizes of your art and masking tape your plan on the wall. That will give you a more visual understanding of your arrangement.

Replace the rectangles with the art, checking to see that your nails coordinate with the hanging hooks or wire on the back. Start with the largest piece and work out from there.

This process can be time-consuming, but when you’re done you’ll have a lovely and personalized display.