How to

7 simple tips to help you hang the perfect gallery wall

From layout to border style and choosing a hero piece, these tips will help you create a  gallery wall like a pro, no matter your budget

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7 simple tips to help you hang the perfect gallery wall

A gallery wall is just a grouping of framed pictures and can be as large or as small as you desire. It creates impact in a room and is a good way to fill up a bare expanse of wall. Gallery walls can be created to suit so many spaces – they look great in kids’ rooms, are a cool feature in an office, and even work well in a loo. The slightly tricky parts are selecting images that work well together and deciding on the layout.

To guide you through the whole process, check out these handy tips:

1. Wall colour
White walls make an ideal backdrop for a gallery wall. White allows the art to breathe and won’t compete with the colours and effects on display – this is why you generally see white walls in art galleries around the globe.

Popular whites for this purpose include Resene ‘Black White’ and ‘Alabaster’, which are both quite stark and crisp, and the slightly warmer Resene ‘Rice Cake’ and ‘White Pointer’. If you have a collection of prints in a similar tone, picking a softer, paler version of that colour for the wall can create a pleasing effect. For example, if you love foliage prints in shades of green, try a pale wall colour with a green undertone to enhance the overall look.

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2. Mix and match 
Using art prints of various sizes is always a good idea as it creates added visual interest. But should the frames be all the same or different? I personally love to mix frame colours, as you can see in the image, above, where I’ve used three black, three white and one wooden frame. These colours coordinate with the plant pot, bench seat and floor. As these prints are in a contemporary style, I chose minimal, modern frames that are all very similar.

3. Border style
Mats (or mounts) create a border between the print and frame. While still very much used in the art world, in more casual settings the trend is towards dispensing with a mat and letting the print fill the frame. However, this depends on the style of print and also the size as sometimes it’s not possible to find a frame that fits perfectly. In these cases, a mat (cut slightly deeper on the sides or top/bottom to accommodate the frame) is a more affordable solution than shelling out for a custom-made frame.

4.  Choosing a hero piece 
In any good room design there should always be a hero piece – here it is the stunning ‘Blue Lady’ art print by Anna McKay. Using this as a starting point, I pulled in other pieces that worked with it. As the biggest item in the arrangement, it was the first print to be hung (always hang the largest piece first and build your wall around it).

5. Print style
When it comes to mixing different styles of print, anything goes as long as there is a colour link between them all. In this gallery wall I used a typographic print, three photographic prints (the blue building, woman’s face and the plant leaves) and two abstract prints, plus ‘Blue Lady’. The colours in these very different prints all link back to the ‘Blue Lady’ hero piece.

6. Try a corner gallery
If you have a series of small art prints or a collection of framed family photos, creating a gallery in the corner of a room can be an effective way to create a focal point. It doesn’t need to spread up and down the wall but can simply be a collection at eye level that carries from one wall to the other. Have a go – you will love how effective it can look.

7. Choose your layout first
Before you start hanging your prints, lay them on the floor and play with the layout until you are happy with it, then take a photo so you can refer to it once you start placing them on the wall. Another option is to cut out pieces of paper the same size as each of your prints and stick them to the wall in your desired layout. Then hang each print over its paper template. Ensure you buy good hanging fixtures so your frames don’t come crashing down in the middle of the night!

Created and styled by: Vanessa Nouwens. Photography by: Wendy Fenwick.

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