Gallery wall ideas with CB2
Advice

Gallery Wall Ideas: 5 Key Design Principles to Keep in Mind

Master these concepts for a museum-worthy display

Ready to take your bare walls to the next level? A gallery wall in the living room, office or even bathroom shows off a curated collection of paintings, prints or photographs in stylish frames. No need to overthink the design too much, either: the cardinal rule of gallery walls is this: choose what you like. If you want to sit and contemplate monochrome photographs over a mug of black coffee, go with it. If you’d rather let bright abstract paintings lighten the mood, that’s perfectly fine. You do you. Not sure how to how to turn your wall decor dreams into reality? Keep reading. We’ve listed our favorite gallery wall ideas below.

Curate Your Collection

Gallery wall ideas with CB2
Take things slow. At least half of the fun in designing a gallery wall is collecting art that speaks to you. So, whether you settle on prints, paintings, photographs or a combination, don’t worry about acquiring your whole collection at once. It’s a process.

If you’re not sure where to start, choose something you like to look at. Another option: find colors that fit your space. There’s no wrong way to choose art.

One idea is to use your gallery wall to tell a story of your adventures and experiences, and print photos from your favorite trips for a personalized touch. Not a photographer? Buy prints online, or stroll through a few art galleries or thrift stores in your area to get a feel for what you like.

It’s okay to start small. Hang one larger piece in a central location and build on it over time—adding medium and smaller pieces alongside it as you find them out in the wild. If you change your mind about placement, you can always swap things out and find homes for them in a different room.

Prefer a more casual relationship with your prints, paintings or photos? Rather than adhering them to the wall, try arranging art on a shallow wall shelf or hanging photographs from clips. Then, rearrange or remove to suit your evolving taste. You don’t have to get too attached, unless you want to.

Arrange in Advance

Before hanging your gallery wall, do a trial run first. The easiest way is to arrange your pieces on the floor before making any holes in your wall. Move them around until you find the right flow. Not confident in your ability to use a level and drill? No worries, that’s what professional help is for.

If you’re taking the plunge yourself, hang frames at eye level—57-60 inches from the ground or 6-8 inches above furniture. Whether you have your full collection at the ready or just a couple pieces on hand, balance different sizes for maximum impact.

To maintain balance, try adhering to the following ratio: follow every extra large piece with two large, two medium and three small ones to fill in the gaps. Keep the spacing between each picture consistent. Trust us, it will tie even the most eclectic collection together. If you have the wall space for it, wider spacing makes each piece stand out.

So, your landlord won’t let you drill into the walls? No problem. Just look for larger pieces you can lean from the floor or a credenza. Aim for height to make an impact.

Gallery wall ideas with CB2

Keep it Simple with Coordinating Frames

The easiest way to keep your gallery wall art cohesive is to use a consistent frame color. No need to get frames in exactly the same style (unless they’re calling to you). Instead, aim for similar tones—whether black brushed metal, metallic gold or rustic unstained wood. That way, your collection of art and frames can grow over time without a new addition looking out of place. Go with frame materials that gel with the rest of your furniture and decor. In a luxe space, aim for bold metals and moody black hues. For a different style, use white or unstained wood frames to call to mind a more natural look.

Flair for the dramatic? For a cultured look, try introducing a smaller print to an oversized frame with a large mat. This contrast adds gravity to an avant-garde photograph or vivid painting.

Minimalist? We got you. Try a linear or grid arrangement of a few prints or photos in grayscale for a sophisticated take.

Gallery wall ideas with CB2

Make a Statement with an Eclectic Salon Wall

If you prefer singing your own tune, let art imitate life. Combine frame colors and add a touch of whimsy to your picture wall by mixing and matching traditional rectangular frames with oval-shaped vintage finds. Granny-chic is in. This salon-style approach packs a punch and doesn’t have to be limited to one wall. Over time, let your collection curve around corners and up toward the ceiling.

With an eclectic collection, rely on your art to tie the aesthetic together. Think: photos and drawings with a common color palette, subject or theme. If you’re going for a truly unique vibe, position your art off center for a more casual feel.

Ready for the finishing touch? Take your gallery wall up a notch by mixing mediums. For some wall decor ideas to work in, try brushed silver mirrors, quirky wall hangings and textiles to infuse style and charm. Or for a bold take, turn your reflection into art with a mirror salon wall. You could even go full bohemian and add objects that tell a story like old letters, postcards, sheet music or even historical relics.

Room-Specific Gallery Wall Ideas

  • Give the dining room a little oomph with oversized artwork in natural hues. Elevate the experience with one or two large pieces surrounded by a trio of smaller ones. For a simple look with big payoff, stick to monochromes with a single color accent.
  • For modern living room decor, display a movie poster from a beloved classic film or a still of your favorite leading man or lady beside the television. More of a music-aficionado? Style the wall beside your turntable with vinyl record art or a framed candid of an influential musician. If you prefer a more personal touch, create a photo gallery wall of memories above your sofa with modern frames.
  • In the bedroom, aim for a more chill vibe. Try a pair of coordinated abstract paintings in soothing hues above the bed to ease you into dreamland. Step up the display by adding an infinity wall mirror.
  • For a unique setting for a gallery wall, hang quirky prints in your bathroom. The small space makes it a great place to experiment and make a big impact.

Share your best gallery wall ideas with us by tagging @cb2 on Instagram.

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