Design 101 | How to Install a Gallery Wall

Wednesday, April 02, 2014


Hello hunnies and happy hump day! I recently sent a PB (public bulletin) on my FB asking friends and fans to send over some design inquiries relating to interior design. With Haute Khuuture’s 4 year anniversary on the horizon, there’ll be TONS of new series and blog topics mainly focusing around pro tips and tricks when designing and decorating your home. This one’s for the masses since I’m sure there’s many out there who have NO idea where to begin when installing a gallery wall. It’s really quite simple and here’s how you do it:

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1) Round up the artwork: “Artwork” can be anything from photography, to magazine tear sheets, vintage posters, hand drawings, Picasso prints, portraits, namely anything that tickles your fancy and can be mounted on the wall. They don’t even have to be framed as you can easily incorporate an assortment of “art” like wall clocks, found objects, even patterned textiles for an eclectic mix. But for the sake of this post, we’ll stick to the 2D variety.


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2) If you’re working with unframed art and have trouble deciding how to matte them and what colors to frame them with, I like to stick to a simple 3 color rule of thumb. Decide on the color story and follow the hues for a coordinated mix. White mats always look chic with any color frame and allows the artwork to speak for themselves without any distractions. Matte the pieces you feel needs a bit of substantial weight, usually the smaller images (11x14 and lower) look great with that sizable frame within the frame. The pieces that are saturated in color I usually leave alone without any matting.

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3) Consider your wall color and think either high contrast, monochromatic, or a mixture of the two. You may want to layer light frames + light matting on a white wall for a neutral look or you may want to keep the focus on the artwork and choose to install light images on a dark wall instead. I love how Erika from Small Shop styled 2 different vignettes based on the exact same feature wall in her studio above. One was a fresh and feminine pink+gold+white color story and the other a sexy rocker look with a black+white+red color story. Same wall, totally different vibe. Allow your mood to dictate the emphasis and go with what "feels" right for your space.

{Above: iPhone shots from a gallery wall I installed at my client's home}

4) Now for the installation: Create a grid on the floor before you commit to hanging on the wall. Lay out all the pieces side by side, mixed and matched; that way you can move them around until you get the look you desire. They don’t need to line up by frame or size, the more “undesigned” and “random” the placement, the more casual the gallery will look and feel. Since this gallery wall above featured just a few pieces (less than 10) I chose to keep the look streamlined by designating a central vertical line to weigh out the larger pieces (left) versus the smaller pieces (right). Symmetry allows the viewer to see a balance of objects, where there might have been none otherwise.

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5) If you’re starting with just a few key pieces as opposed to a full-blown art gallery, I like to install them on the feature wall starting from the center. Create an invisible center line, whether vertical or horizontal and start hanging the key pieces you love most and spread them out from there. You can start with the larger pieces in the central most area and have the smaller fanning out or larger pieces at the bottom edge of the wall (above furniture where applicable) and hang the smaller pieces from that starting point.


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The best gallery walls take into consideration color, scale, proportion, and balance. Some of the key elements of design, allow yourself to grow with your art pieces and you’ll have that gallery all your friends are ogling. In the living room, dining room, or even the stairwell, get creative and most importantly HAVE FUN with it! You'll find the fun is really relegated to the process, once you're done you'll be rearranging it in no time at all!

Hope that helps my loves!

Please comment below if you have any design questions you’d like to get answered! I’ll do my very best to get them resolved in a future blog post, on my Facebook page, or on Instagram!

Thanks for reading!

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3 comments

  1. Great tips! I love gallery walls, just haven't done one yet.

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  2. I like the frame decoration so much!

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