The gallery wall is one of the most popular, stylish design elements in home decorating right now. When done right, it can be the perfect showcase for your personal taste and treasures. But when done poorly, it can turn into a mess. To help you brighten up your home with the perfect gallery wall, we’ve put together a guide for finding and framing art.
Curate. Rather than going on a quick art-buying spree to fill your walls, take some time to think about what you’d like on your walls and how it can reflect your family’s personality and experiences. First, take a look through the pieces of art and prints you already have: from family photos, to grade school art projects to vintage Bollywood movie posters, you never know where inspiration might strike. Ideally, your gallery wall is an eclectic mix of pieces that complement and contrast with each other. Once you’ve taken stock of your existing collection, you can start to make some thoughtful purchases to round it out. We recommend heading to local art fairs, like Art Birmingham (formerly the Birmingham Fine Art Festival) in May or the Ann Arbor Art Fair in late July. Or for contemporary prints with local character, try Eastern Market’s Signal-Return Letterpress Shop.
Frame. When developing your gallery wall, the frames themselves may seem like an afterthought. But as any good museum gallerist could tell you, a carefully-selected frame can do wonders in making your art pop and stand out. If you’re opting for a wall that’s fairly simple, you may be tempted to use the same frame for each piece. In that case, find a standard gallery set, like this one from West Elm, for an assortment of different-sized frames. But a gallery wall with art across mediums and time periods can be especially exciting when you use custom matting and frames for each piece. For help finding the most appropriate frame, don’t be afraid to ask a professional: at State of the Art Framing & Gallery in downtown Ferndale, a team of design-minded experts is eager to take on any matting and framing challenge.
Plan. When your art is framed and ready to hang, spend some time sketching out how you’d like to arrange the pieces on your wall. You can opt for the tried and true method: lay every piece out on your floor and test out a few arrangement options. Or, you can opt for something a little more high-tech, like Framebridge’s online gallery wall tool. To create a balanced, eye-catching arrangement, begin with the largest pieces first and slowly slot the smaller ones in.
Hang. Most interior designers suggest keeping the center of your wall at eye level. At art galleries and museums, “eye level” is generally believed to be around 57 inches from the floor. (Keep in mind that a piece of art shouldn’t be hung at 57 inches — its center should fall at 57 inches, so hang accordingly). As you hang each piece, the traditional rules apply: use masking or painters tape to mark where you want to your art to hang and use a level to make sure your framed art is perfectly straight.