5 Tips to Start a Gallery Wall

Corey and I have always collected art, and we both love the idea of an art-filled house.  A gallery wall is a great way to display multiple pieces and we have been considering creating one in the living room for a few weeks.

One of the main reasons we think this makes sense, is that we really want to paint the walls a dark navy shade of blue.  Many people have asked if we feel it will be overwhelming in the small-ish space, but we think that the bookshelves and art will help to break up the dramatic wall colour.

In case you're curious, our collection of paint swatches has grown and I think I've finally decided on a favourite.

The other reason we considered a gallery wall is to balance our room.  With our new bookshelves, we have tons of visual interest on one side of the room, while the opposite side is totally empty.  This makes the room feel lopsided to me.

I had never seen a gallery wall span a doorway as well as an angled wall like we have, but I figured it would be worthwhile to experiment.  After all, one of the benefits of hanging art before you paint is that mistakes are easily covered.  I began brainstorming arrangements for my art.

Many websites offered advice on creating a gallery wall but most of the advice was pretty complicated and involved cutting out sheets of paper to mimic the size of your art and arranging those on the wall first.  Honestly, we have so little free time that I really wasn't thrilled about hanging "fake art" on our walls first.  Call me impatient but I decided to wing it.  I did follow some of my own basic rules:
  1. Assemble your art and choose pieces that work together.  We decided not to worry about the frames matching but we did find that a lot of our art worked together in terms of colour theme.  We were also happy to notice that we had a variety of different sizes to work with.
  2. Separate your large "anchor" pieces.  This is important to balance your collection.
  3. Choose your most challenging piece of art, and position it first.  This may be your largest, but for us it was a large piece which would fit on our diagonal wall behind the chair.  We hung this first and sort of let the collection grow out from it.
  4. Consider the visual weight of items with saturated colours or large dark frames and try to balance them with lighter pieces.  One of our prints is in a large dark frame but there is so much white space that it still feels visually light.  This allowed me to group it with smaller but "heavier" pieces.
  5. Leave room for your collection to grow.  This is the fun part!  I can already think of a couple of paintings and photographs which would work well in our gallery wall once they're unpacked.
You may recognize some of the art from the condo, (I've owned some of them since I was  renting my first apartment at Yonge and Davisville!) but there are a few new pieces:

I blogged about this stunning print of a swimmer painting shortly after we moved in:

Although I've been scribbling for weeks, I blogged about this doodle, once I'd decided to buy an Ikea frame and incorporate into our gallery wall:

I just found Layla by chance while browsing a local vintage shop:

And here's our gallery wall:

I didn't bother moving my purse for the shot but it actually sort of works with the art.  Can you tell that blue and green are my favourite colours? 

The art really engages the formerly bare space (below) and it actually makes the walls feel larger.  By hanging a painting on that diagonal wall behind the chair, we also give the impression that the room is wrapped in art.  It gives a potentially awkward space some purpose!

You'll notice that our oversized mirror has found a home beside our couch.  We think it makes the room feel brighter and larger... almost like a faux doorway!  What do you think?

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