Gallery Walls – Part 1

17 Sep 2020

Gallery walls- part 1

Also known as how to do a gallery wall without driving yourself potty.

A collection of antique mirrors above a well loved Chesterfield makes for a cosy sitting room

My guide to gallery walls

  1. Choose pictures you love

This might seem obvious, but gallery walls are all about you. This is where you get to show off your child’s treasured artwork, holiday and family photos, prints picked up over the years from your travels or a simple quote that you love.


The key is to go with what catches your eye and makes you happy. I’ve ordered some prints for my home office including a photo of Freddie Mercury, a Frieda Kahlo print, a quote and last but most definitely not least, my children’s artwork.  It’s an eclectic mix, but I love each one of them and they make me smile.


First steps

2.      Choose your gallery wall

There are a few different types of gallery walls to choose from, so spend some time looking on Pinterest or in magazines and decide which one suits you and your home the best.


Grid – pictures are grouped in a grid format usually with equal spacing between pictures. Precision is the name of the game here. Coordinated frames and pictures create a unified effect.


Statement – perfect for making an impact, especially in entrance halls. Be bold and choose striking images.


Organic – a more relaxed approach. Start with your central picture and build from there. Perfect if you want to mix things up a bit. Freestyle is the watchword here!


*If you want more detail on the different types of gallery walls check out this blog post where I’ve expanded on the explanations above. 


3. Mock-up your gallery wall

This stage is crucial and it’s worth spending time getting it right. There are two ways to do this, depending on how confident you’re feeling.

  • Lay your pictures out on the floor in front of the wall you want to use. Stand back, move them about and stand back again to make sure you’re happy with how they look. And repeat, as many times as you need to until you’re happy. If you still need a little more reassurance, there is another way:
  • Cut out templates the size of your artwork using lining or brown paper and blue tack them to your wall. This will give you reassurance that you’re on the right lines.

How to get a gallery wall right
Next, think about practical steps.

4. Stock up on picture hangers and nails

Have plenty of nails and make sure that they’re close to hand. It seems obvious, but I know from experience how easy it is to get carried away with the fun bit – choosing the pictures, playing around with format and then running out of nails at the crucial moment.

5. Picture ledges are a great low risk alternative

If you want to avoid nails or you’re worried about making a mistake – picture ledges are a great alternative. Try IKEA for super cheap ones (under £10 even for the largest one) and then you can rearrange to your heart’s content. I have a picture ledge in my office because I wanted flexibility to change things up from time to time. Having said that I’ve not changed it in 2 years, but I like knowing that I could if I wanted to. They’re also great for great for layering pictures that are different heights.

I hope this guide to gallery walls has given you the practical tips and confidence to give it a go. In this follow up blog post, I go into more detail about the different types of gallery walls mentioned earlier. 

Photography by Mark Harrison, Heidi Marfitt and Colin Poole.