Gallery walls are groupings of small artwork juxtaposed to create an eclectic and casual feeling for a room, and they seem to be popping up everywhere. There are some excellent blogs on how to create them that present gallery walls as a way to get around buying a large work of original art.
The problem is, not all spaces are meant to have a gallery wall, and if you don’t already have a lot of framed artwork laying around, it is often just as expensive buying and framing a lot of little pieces as it is buying one large piece. There is a place for these now these walls of art and some places it doesn’t work as well.
I have a small gallery wall in my house (left). I find them especially useful when you have a number of small pieces you’ve collected over the years, whether buying art from friends, art fairs, or on a whim from a second hand shop. I love all my small pieces, and each has a special emotional meaning that binds it to a time or event in my life. But there’s good and not so good places to group this art.
Here are some things that I find work and things that don’t work.
First, gallery walls don’t always work as the main focus of a room. With such arrangements, you often end up seeing more frame and less art. And it’s hard to see enjoy the individual pieces if you can’t walk up to inspect them, like when the sofa is backed against a wall.
Look around your room. Is there already a lot of activity: lamps, furniture, small objects, and fabric patterns? If so, maybe a gallery wall is not the best fit for this room.
The first photo (above) I would not consider to be a good use of a gallery wall. The images in the frames are small and so it makes the room look more cluttered. Instead, I would like to see a single painting that brings in some of the color accents of the room while adding a little drama. So I added this beautiful floral by Genna Draper. The movement in the painting adds interest and the colors tie in other accents in the room. Best of all, I love how both the subject matter and the movement in the painting echo the unique wood-base coffee table.
If you want a gallery wall, find a wall a sidewall or transitional wall that leads from one room to another. Also it’s a great way is to hide a tv. Just hang works around the tv as if the tv is it’s own framed work. The room below is a very successful example of using art to integrate the flatscreen tv. Even though this room is a little busier than I’d like to see, it’s much better than having the tv sit alone on this wall. In addition, an office is a perfect place for a gallery wall as seen in the first image of this post.
Once you get your gallery wall up, get a tub of museum wax from Amazon to keep them in place. It’s hard enough to get them all aligned how you want them, so use this wax on the lower back corners of each frame (which doesn’t hurt the wall or paint) and keep them where you intended.
One more thing I would avoid is that’s a gallery wall over a bed. Hanging a lot of artwork framed with glass over your bed is generally not a great idea in case there’s an earthquake or other event that might cause them to fall off (enough said).
I hope this help and as always, please feel free to post suggestions and photos of rooms that worked or room you need help with.