Houston Interior Designer
If you read my last post (from earlier today) you know that I have promised to complete this post. So, here it goes. The perfect gallery wall is a carefully sculpted work of art. Some designer spend months searching through galleries and small antique shops finding the perfect pieces for their gallery wall. On top of that, they will hang art and switch it out a few until it is perfect. This is not that situation. Here’s how it went down. I am sitting at my client’s dining room table getting some work done in the middle of a renovation. I get a call from my mom.
Mom: “Hey son. What are you up to?”
Me: “Not much just getting some work done. What’s up?” *pretty much how we start every conversation*
Mom: “So, I am having a party at my house on Friday. Can you decorate my living room before then?”
Me: *cue the biggest eye roll you can imagine*
Mom cont’d: “I want to do a gallery wall like we talked about.”
There was some whining on my part, but I won’t subject you to that. I mean, you can’t tell your mom “NO!’, so I just had to suck it up and make it happen. I had already decorated her living room as far as furniture is concerned, but we hadn’t got around to décor yet. So, no galleries or small antique shops for this one. I didn’t have time for that shit all the work had to be done by Friday at 5pm and she called me the Tuesday around 3pm. That gave me about 3 days to get it done and on a budget
The Nitty Gritty
The current sectional is a medium gray, the rug is textured with a southwestern blue and white print, all the furniture has black metal with various shades of wood. I chose a palette of black, blue, white, wood, bronze and gold for the art. When I went shopping to choose the items, I made sure to get varying sizes of frames and colors, sculptural pieces, paintings, and of course you have picture frames. For most people it’s their family home and they want to show off the family. Or if your family gets on your nerves and you’d rather have art, the picture frames are an way to incorporate prints into the gallery wall. I know the stock picture are still in the picture frames LOL. I didn’t get around to printing out photos before I hung the gallery wall.
Things you will need
- Dry wall anchors
- Measuring tape
- Tape (painters or scotch tape)
- Ladder or step stool
You may need a friend or partner to help with the hanging. It always is best to have a second set of eyes.
When I started out planning the wall, I drew out the space on graph paper using 1\4 scale (1\4 of an inch = 1 foot). I did that so I would have a starting point for how many items I need. I wasn’t trying to solidify the final design plan, because every thing looks different on the wall. I really didn’t spend too much time on the drawing. About 30-45 min. Don’t get caught up on the details of the art work. Simple squares, rectangles, and circles will do. I quickly looked at Target.com in the wall art section to see the some items and their dimensions. I wish I had a picture of the drawing because it looks nothing like the final product, but it was really helpful as a jumping off point. Always, always, always expect something to go wrong when you’re shopping. When I got to the store a few of the items that I really wanted were out of stock. No bid deal! I grabbed a few back up items to replace them. Make sure you can return whatever you don’t use.
On the flip side, if you’re not on a huge time crunch, you can probably order an item online then wait for it to ship.
Nailing the Layout
When I got all my items to the home, I found a nice open space on the floor to lay my art work and décor out. I recommend taping off an area on the floor to represent the gallery wall. If you look closely in the image on the left, you can see the red tape in the top left corner. It helps you with spacing since it’s pretty hard to hold all the items up against the wall. You can cut out pieces of paper that are the size and shape of the art pieces. Then tape them to the wall and start moving items around. I chose to lay mine out. I think it gives you a better overall picture. If you don’t have the floor space to lay them out, go with the paper option. To start the design, pick a focal point and just start working. I feel the design comes naturally. Place the items out, take a picture, then step back and examine your design. For this gallery wall, my first design was a little more symmetrical than how the finished product is. I had originally grouped all the like items together, but it felt too forced. So, I started moving the pieces around. I mentioned to take a picture earlier and now that picture will come in handy. As you start to move things around, refer to your picture to see how the progression is. If you like a few items in a previous arrangement, move them back and see how it is. Eventually you will get the design that you will like.
My tips for placement and spacing. Keep all the items spaced evening. I feel 2-3 inches is a good space between the items. Spread your like colors out and don’t bunch up your architectural pieces. I will go over some tips for hanging the pieces later.
The Hard Work
The best place to start is with the focal point. In this gallery wall, it is the textural art piece with the dark brown frame. It’s pretty much in the middle. It’s a good starting point and it will give you a piece to anchor you the wall with. Then hang the art from top to bottom and left to right. If you are a little OCD, feel free to bust out the tape measure and pencil to start marking everything prior to hanging the art. It may work for you, it’s just not my style for a gallery wall like this. It doesn’t have to be 100% perfect. After you have hung the first few pieces, double check the height before you hang the entire wall and then realize that it’s all too high or too low. Move to the right and repeat. Most likely 1 or 2 items will be off and have to be adjusted. No problem, it happens.
Something that I find really helpful when I am hanging art in a series is tape. I take a piece of tape and place it over the hangers on the back of the picture frame. Take a pencil and mark 2 spots on the tape where the nails would go. Take the tape off the hangers and place it on the wall. You still have to do some measuring and math, but I think it’s an easy way to help with spacing. I’m not saying you have to do this, it’s just easier for me. For the set of 3 geometric mirrors, I placed all three pieces on the floor with a 2 inch spread, then placed 1 long strip of tape over the eyelets. Then I marked the each eyelet on the tape. I put the tape on the wall, check the level, put the nails on the wall, and hang the art. Easy peasy. Hanging sets it always a little tougher because if one piece is slightly off, it’s very noticeable. Regardless of all the tips I give you, you still need to use a tape measure and take your time. It took me and my sister about 3 hours arrange and hang all the art. Don’t stress yourself out when you feel like it’s taking forever or if 1 piece is slightly out of place. It’s supposed to be unique, so let it be unique.
All and all I am super happy with how the gallery wall came out. I want to say I spent around $400 on all the art pieces. $400 and about 5 hours total is not that bad for a unique gallery wall. Now that were are several months passed the initial hanging of the wall, I am going to add some pieces to it. I’m not going to rearrange what’s up there. I like how it looks and I am too lazy to redo it lol. I am just going to add a few pieces to the right side to fill the wall a little more.
In a few weeks I will have a photo shoot of this room as well as the dining room that I did for my mom, so stay tuned on both accounts. As always, thanks for tuning in.
Until next time