January 16th, 2020

R. Nelson Parrish, “Lakeside Installation,” mixed media, 48″ x 80″ x 1″

By Veronica Vale

Occasionally, our clients profess to us that they are looking to fill a space but are having trouble connecting with any one large-scale piece. One fun, trendy solution to blank wall woes? A gallery wall.

As powerful as an individual large-scale work can be (and trust us, our artists provide us with no shortage of them), gallery walls are an affordable alternative that can offer great dimension and character to your space, and when done right, can feel just as impactful as a single piece. Here we’ve broken down the five main types of gallery walls along with our best tips to achieving these fresh, charming looks without any of the clutter.

The Grid Wall
R. Nelson Parrish sculptures

R. Nelson Parrish sculptures

The clean lines and identical shapes of a grid wall will bring a calm to your home. We recommend this style gallery wall for spaces meant for peaceful relaxation, like a bedroom.

The Gallery Wall Top Tips:

  • Do the math – The grid wall’s defining element is its uniformity, so be sure to measure out this gallery wall in advance. We recommend using painter’s tape and a bevel to tape out the exact grid on the wall before hanging.
  • Keep it uniform – For this style, if you decide to frame your pieces, use the same frame and matte for each work. We find that modern, neutral frames work best for this style.
The Classic Gallery Wall

A classic gallery wall display from Gallery MAR Carmel

This free-form style of gallery wall enables a little more creativity than the grid wall, while keeping all of its fresh energy. The classic gallery wall is ideal for even your most well-trafficked spaces like a cozy sitting room or foyer.

  • Plot it out – Although the lines don’t need to be quite as exact as the grid wall style, the classic gallery wall involves just as much – if not more – planning in advance. We recommend playing around with your arrangement on the floor before taking it to the wall. Once you have a balanced format that you love, try it out on the wall without nails first by cutting out butcher paper or brown craft paper in the shape of each piece and taping it to the wall in the formation of your choosing. This way, you can try out a few different arrangements without leaving a plethora of holes in your wall.
  • Go big – Try to choose fewer, bigger pieces for your classic gallery wall to avoid the wall appearing cluttered. Trying to spread out too many small pieces can look messy, so it’s best to stick to a few large to medium sized works with a few small works to fill the gaps.
  • Use similar frames – For this style, the frames don’t need to match exactly, but they should have a similar feel. To keep this style’s characteristic classic feel, we advise using similarly colored frames or at least similar styles (for instance, all light wood frames or all modern frames).
  • Mix and match – Don’t be afraid to mix and match art styles as the similar frames will help keep the works looking cohesive.
The Eclectic Gallery Wall

Hunt Slonem paintings arranged in the eclectic gallery wall style

The eclectic gallery wall follows the same patterning as the classic gallery wall but allows for far greater creative freedom. The main distinction here is the unique variety of works, both in frame style and in sizes. This fun, quirky style gallery wall will liven up any odd space, from the staircase to the powder room.

  • Find funky frames – Feel free to get a little wild and weird with the eclectic gallery wall, with found, collected, vintage, circular, and atypical frames.
  • Keep art consistent – There’s a thin line between eclectic and chaotic, so trade clutter for charm by keeping the style of the artwork in the eclectic gallery wall consistent. Using the same artist or several artists with similar styles is an effective way to walk this line.
  • Add sentimental charm – Add a splash of sentimentality to your display by including something that expresses something unique about you and your family, like a vintage family frame, a wall hanging souvenir from your travels, or a meaningful sculptural piece.
The Art Salon Wall

Our collector’s museum wall of Fred Calleri‘s oil paintings

The art salon wall echos the style of museums in pre-Revolutionary Paris and is still used in countless museums today. This jaw dropping style covers the most ground with a floor to ceiling display to bring the feeling of a stroll through the Louvre to your home. You will need a wall with little to no furniture to pull off this display, so we recommend choosing a space that sees more walking than sitting.

  • Get vertical – Arranging an art salon wall is similar to that of the classic or eclectic gallery walls with one major exception: its scale. Widen the breadth of your display by hanging closer to the floor and ceiling.
  • Hang works flat – Make sure that your art is hung flat against to keep it looking more streamlined. Art installation wires may cause your works to lean away from the wall slightly, which can create awkward shadows and give the appearance of disorganization. Try instead using D-rings on either side of the piece or back hooks for smaller works.
  • Start together – Give your art salon wall room to grow by starting the display in a concentrated area and moving horizontally as your collection grows.
The Art Ledge

An art ledge display in Gallery MAR owner Maren Mullin’s former Park City home

The art ledge is a simple and effective way to display some of your favorite pieces without hanging them. Modeled after a book shelf, the art ledge combines creativity and flexibility with clean visual lines. So set aside the hammer and nails and lean into this trendy display.

  • Layer, Layer, Layer – The art ledge enables layering of works, creating the kind of dimension that can’t be offered by a wall hanging. Start the display with your largest pieces leaning in the back and your smallest pieces propped up in the front. Take advantage of this unique style by overlapping works ever so slightly.
  • Vary sizes – Have fun with this display by using works of different sizes and styles, knowing that the clean line of the shelf will keep the works looking organized.
  • Think 3D – The art ledge provides an opportunity to marry your favorite paintings with your favorite small scale sculptures (Fran Nicholson‘s adorable bronze dog sculptures come to mind here).

Whether you prefer the modern uniformity of the grid wall or the unconventional charm of the eclectic gallery wall, creating a gallery wall is a fun and unique way to add warmth and character to your home. We hope these tips were helpful. Please always feel free to reach out to one of our highly experienced Fine Art Consultants at info@gallerymar.com if you need more assistance or to send us a picture of your gallery wall successes!