Gallery walls are essentially a thrifter’s dream. Why? Because you finally have a purpose for all those mismatched frames/embroidered turtle art from the 70’s you bought at the Goodwill. (Nope, just me?) And they can be a heck of a lot cheaper than one large piece of art. (Mine clocked in at just about $20.) The challenge is making them cohesive rather than messy. Here are my tips and tricks for making your gallery wall work.
I’ve got a blank space, baby…
One of my favorite things about gallery walls is their versatility and how quickly they can transform a space. And if you’re anything like me, you already have plenty of knick-knacks looking for a place to shine (or you just need another excuse to go thrifting. HOLLA.) Let it be known that this wasn’t the easiest project. Think of it as a giant puzzle that you have to find the pieces for and then decide how they’ll fit. Oh, and it has to look good.
Behind every gallery wall is a smattering of nail holes, tears and anguish.
First thing to remember: it takes time to curate a gallery wall that works. Not everything is meant to be paired together, so wait until you have the perfect peanut-butter-and-jelly combo that makes magic happen. Here’s where all my art came from.
1. Monogram sign: Wedding gift
2. Circle mirror: Goodwill, 99¢
3. White frame: Micheal’s, $4.99. Plant printable, free
4. Shadow box: Thrifted, 99¢. “Courage” printable, free
5. Silver frame: Goodwill, $2.99. “Find Joy in the Journey” printable, free
6. Black oval frame: Goodwill, 99¢. Floral printable, free
7. Black Ikea frame: Goodwill, $3.99. Antler printable, free
8. Oyster shell frame: Goodwill, 99¢. Oyster art ripped out of a magazine, free
9. My dad’s lovely lighthouse watercolor he painted
10. Rustic wooden cross: Wedding gift
11. White frame: Micheal’s $4.99. Ocean cliffs printable, free
Grand total: About $21
Basically, I start off “shopping” my house first, then keep an eye out for cool frames at thrift stores. Then it’s on to frame fillers. Free printables are a great place to start, but you can really expand your art collection search if you include desktop wallpapers (yep, just print ’em), fabric, magazine pages, old books, wrapping paper, photographs and even your own paintings if you’re feeling ~cReAtIvE~.
White frames go with anything. This is where Goodwill frames and spray paint become your best friend. Or in my case, the sale bins at Micheal’s. White frames aren’t visually distracting and let what’s in them do the talking.
Mix up the shapes. The juxtaposition of round edges with sharp angles adds so much more depth your gallery wall and keeps it from being boring. WIN.
Think in pairs. Whether it’s frames, colors, shapes or textures, having pieces that have a brother keep an eclectic wall cohesive instead of haphazard.
Plan your layout. So now that your art is all collected, it’s time to start thinking layout. I laid out all my pieces on the floor and rearranged until it felt right and took pictures every time I switched things up, which in the end was a lifesaver after I shoved everything off the side for a few weeks. Plus having a reference really helps with the final tweaking once everything is up on the wall and you no longer have your “floor template” to work from.
Like really plan it. I was terrified that I would hate everything once it all was hung, so I went with the ol’ cut-out-shapes-from-sparkly-green-wrapping-paper method. While I really wanted to skip this step because, hello, time is money, I decided to suck it up and just do it. As my husband always says, “Do it right or do it twice.”
This step is a gamechanger, folks.
Once I had everything in place (which required plenty of taping, retaping and losing my footing in the couch cushions), I marked where all my nails should go and got to hangin’.
Here’s the final product. Not bad eh? Now I’m currently plotting where else I can do gallery walls…I’m thinking our bedroom might be the next victim.