This piece originally appeared on Domainehome.com.
We love the gallery wall. When it's right — like in interior designer Max Humphrey's Los Angeles home, — it's oh-so good. Creating a gallery wall isn't something that comes naturally for all of us, though; there is definitely a science to this art. So read on for some tried-and-true tricks; we promise, it's not too hard...
The beauty of the gallery wall is that it can give almost anything visual impact, be it sketches on a napkin, children's artwork, or magazine tearsheets. You can even hang framed mirrors instead of artwork for the same effect. There are a couple avenues you can take in terms of what you display.
Think of a Link
The first option is a cohesive collection. Displaying a collection such as, say, black and white portrait photography you've been collecting for years, can provide a really distinct point of view about what your aesthetic is. Meanwhile, hanging images of every horse that won the Kentucky Derby would showcase your hobbies and interests.
Mix It Up
Another option is to display a mixture of artwork. Perhaps it's vintage movie poster, a color landscape photograph, a black and white squiggle, and an abstract acrylic painting. You can use all printed art pieces in your gallery wall, or you can display multiple mediums, such as a watercolor, a lithograph, and a painting. Mixing mediums, color and black and white, and high and low will give your wall more dimension.
In all cases, the gallery wall is your opportunity to make a statement about who you are and what you like. So showcase what you truly love, and the distinct perspective of you will come through!
Step Up Your Frame Game
No matter how cohesive the art collection may be, the most successful gallery walls have a variety of frames. Using the same frame for every piece (I'm talking to you, IKEA shoppers) will make the wall fall flat. It's important to have a variety of frame widths, sizes, and materials. So mix skinny, one-inch metal frames with thick, four-inch wooden frames with hefty gilded antique ones. Some should be beveled, some should be flat, some should be carved. Scroll through the slideshow above, and you'll see that this is pretty much a rule.
To Mat or Not to Mat? You Choose
Like frames, you should also have a mixture of pieces that are matted and some that are not. Fortunately, this usually happens organically as you grow your art collection. As for the color of your mat, you shouldn't be too concerned about matching. It's important to choose your frame and mat based on the artwork -- not the room you plan to display it in. Every good framer knows this. So choose the mat that looks best with your piece, and your wall will come together beautifully.
Hanging Your Art
Now we're getting down to business. The way that you hang the art in your gallery wall can have just as much of an effect on the look you create as the artwork you display.
If you want a funky, laid-back, country vibe for your gallery wall, then put down the ruler and just eyeball it. If you're working with a small wall surface, you can even crowd a bunch of tiny framed pieces together -- but this probably won't work on a larger wall.
Make a Plan
Want something a little sleeker and more thoughtful? The best piece of advice we can give you is to make a plan! Our favorite trick is to cut out pieces of adhesive Con-Tact paper (in a dark color) sized to match your artwork, then rearrange them on the wall until you've found a layout you like. Take a step back, admire it, and then adjust it until you actually get it right. Measure carefully where your nails should go and make a dot on the wall with pencil. Then begin by hanging the largest, most central piece. Continuing hanging pieces outward and make adjustments as needed.
What NOT to Do
The worst thing you can do -- and there are so many guilty offenders of this -- is to hang your gallery wall in a tight box. A gallery wall should be a living, breathing thing that reflects what you love and what you find. Creating a tight box leaves no room for that, and there's just something about it that looks unsophisticated. So beware.
Most of all, have fun with it! Don't get stressed out. Go show the world what you like.