How to show off your best prints on a gallery wall
Sure, to the untrained eye, a gallery wall is simply a bunch of pictures hung close together. But successful gallery walls aren’t haphazard; they’re meticulously curated—and they can be a great way to make an impression on your audience.
Want to make your own gallery wall? Before hanging your images (or even printing them), ask why you’re putting them up. Are you trying to showcase a particular type of printing that your company specializes in? A specific medium? From there, turn your thoughts to stylistic concerns, like:
- Unity: Is there a thematic or visual throughline that can help tie your prints together? This could be as simple as a dominant colour connecting the images.
- Balance: This is less about having a group of similar images. Rather, you want to create a balance of contrasts. Try combining large and small prints; posed portraits with candid shots with images of small details; or photographs alongside art reproductions.
Thoughtful, even surprising juxtapositions not only draw a viewer’s eye, they encourage more meaningful—and therefore, more memorable—engagement with the works that you’ve chosen to display.
SIZE IT UP
The old adage, “Measure twice, cut once” absolutely applies to power walls. With so many images in play, you want to be sure everything’s going to look great before you start putting nails in your wall. Follow these steps:
- Fixate on framing: The straightforward solution is to put everything in the same type of frame. More interesting, though, is to treat frames as you would pictures, by varying their size, style, etc. while maintaining some common detail.
- Pick a pattern: Will you arrange your images in a precise grid, or fit them together in a more eclectic manner?
- Space out: Where possible, maintain an equivalent distance between pictures. Two or three inches should suffice.
- Lay it down: Set your images, with accurate spacing, on a floor. You’ll be able to see if any aren’t working and make adjustments accordingly.
- Hang it up: Cut out strips of painters’ tape equal to the distance you want between frames. Use them as spacers to help ensure you’re hanging everything correctly.
MAKE A BOLD CHOICE
Just as a good rug can really tie a room together, one high-impact image help anchor a gallery wall. It doesn’t have to be the picture that specifically dictates your theme—just something that’s a bit bolder, a little larger, or more fancifully framed. For extra credit, choose a piece that connects with other decor elements in the room as a whole.
LIGHT IT UP
Presumably you haven’t spent all this time planning a power wall only for your best prints to hang lifeless in a too-dark room. Determine how well the wall is illuminated by natural light. If it’s insufficient, is your electric lighting system (e.g. ceiling fixtures, track lights, or even picture-mounted lamps) up to the task? Also evaluate how the light temperature affects the look of your wall—is it too warm or too cool? If you’re really keen, and your budget allows, consider framing prints behind anti-reflective, UV-filtering glass, to ease the viewing experience and protect against light damage.