If a picture is worth a thousand words–imagine how much a gallery wall has to say. If you’re looking to splash your walls with personalized style, use wall art and decor to go from drab to fab and tell a story without ever having to speak. Although it may seem difficult at first, the right tools and a little creativity will get you assembling your first gallery wall in just four easy steps.

We’ve assembled this guide on gallery wall layout ideas to help jump start your inspiration. Let’s get to it:

Materials Checklist

What you’ll need:

  • Level and tape measure
  • Step stool
  • Hammer and nails
  • Power drill/hole punch
  • Picture hangers (D-rings, sawtooth hooks or hanger wire)
  • Art, wall hangings and/or sculptures
  • Lots of imagination

Steps for Creating Your Dream Gallery Wall

#1: Choose Your Display Space, Frames, and Decor

Small space with a large open wall covered with photo frames and canvas wall art to create a gallery wall.

The days of placing a single picture above a piece of furniture are long gone. Go outside the picture frame by hanging multiple pieces of wall art in unique patterns, or even overlap them for a fun, casual look (don’t worry, we’ll go over frame layouts later in this blog)

Blank frames for a gallery wall

Deciding where and what you want to assemble on your gallery wall hinges on a few key elements:

  • Consider wall color and the size/height of your ceiling for your decor pieces (a general rule of thumb is to hang art or mirrors 57 to 60 inches from the floor).
  • Purchase frames in a color or style that will unify everything. Black frames can be used for a contemporary look, while reclaimed wood frames are perfect for an eclectic feel.
  • Explore various options other than pictures such as mirrors, clocks, and decor accents to tie your look together and add dimension and flair.

See also: Shop wall decor options at AshleyHomeStore for ideas

#2: Decide on a Style and Theme

After you’ve settled on your space, accent pieces and frames, it’s time to decide on a decor style. Take time to reflect on your passions and interests. Then, pool your ideas together to create a theme. Gather what you’d like to display from these ideas and styles–whether it’s artwork, posters, children’s drawings or family photos–the options are endless on what you can use.

Determining your interests and styles together will help you settle on a specific aesthetic you’re seeking. Perhaps you’re enamored with French-inspired decor, or maybe a rustic, simplistic look has your heart. Take someone who loves New York City, for example. They’d find photos, posters, and artwork associated with the city, and expand their selection to include sculptures, artifacts, old calendars, movie posters or illustrations.

Tip: Sculptures and artifacts add depth and dimension when displayed in shadow boxes. You can round out your collection with accessories from AshleyHomeStore for that instant curated look.

See also: How to Start a Room Makeover

#3: Pick a Color Palette

● For a calming effect, use soft palettes with splashes of color to complement the furniture. ● In bedrooms, create a restful effect by limiting the gallery to two simple rows.

After you’ve assembled frames, artwork, and other home decor pieces, look at the tones and coloring of each, and ensure your wall follows a common theme, style, or image palette.

Here are some styling tips to help you along:

  • For a calming effect, use soft palettes with splashes of color to complement the furniture.
  • In bedrooms, create a restful effect by limiting the gallery to two simple rows.

#4: Choose Your Favorite Layout

Large room with white wall decorated with a gallery wall of canvas art.

When arranging your artwork and picture frames on the wall, the sky’s the limit. From staggered to asymmetrical layouts, or even a standard grid, don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works best with your decor pieces and items.

Tip: Before pounding any nails in the wall, be sure to practice your arrangement on a floor or tabletop first. 

Tips on Hanging and Arranging

Plan where you will hang the frames before nailing anything by cutting the dimensions out of poster or cardboard. Use painter’s tape to adhere them to the wall–and feel free to move them around until you’re happy and hit gold on the arrangement you love best (after all, this gallery wall is for you to enjoy).

Follow the Gallery Wall Rules of Thumb

If you’re confident enough, you can hang on impulse. If not, follow a few typical rules of thumb:

  • Start with the largest item first, and make this your focal point–balance and symmetry are key here.
  • When hanging pictures in a group, work from the center out, spacing each work approximately one and a quarter inch apart, so each will stand on its own.
  • Use a level and pencil to mark the holes before you drill.
  • Hang wall art at eye level.
  • Hang 12 inches above furniture (the lowest point being here) and balance your decor on either side of an imaginary line/grid.
  • For larger frames, use two hooks four to six inches apart for added stability.

Be aware when hanging that 1-nail hooks hold objects up to 30 pounds; 2-hooks up to 50 pounds, and 3-nail hooks up to 100 pounds.

Gallery Wall Ideas & Inspiration

Need a little push to get started? Here are nine exciting ideas for your dream gallery wall:

  • Stagger your frames along a staircase

    A way to hang pictures that’s dramatic and eye-catching is to stagger art along a staircase wall. Keep frames near 59 inches in height and allow 10 inches of space between each stair. Add an extra punch by hanging a large piece of artwork at one end.

  • Create a picture ledge (pictured above)

    When placing artwork on shelves, be sure to layer your frames for an exciting finish and added dimension.

  • Get creative with boxes

    For originality and flexibility, create an assortment of boxes and attach them together with double-sided tape. From there, you can create a box gallery with wallpaper, your favorite home accents, 3-D treasures, photos and postcards. The best part? You can update easily over time.

Handsome, contemporary, and cozy, the charcoal Krismen power reclining set has you covered from comfort to class featuring plush cushioning and adjustable headrests for that custom comfort feel with a gallery wall of abstract art behind the loveseat.

  • Spread your picture across multiple canvases

    For added emphasis and simplicity, spread one picture up across three or more canvases.

  • Go classic chic with black and white

    To get a contemporary, monochromatic look, place black and white photos with a nearby plant to get a subtle pop of color

  • Use matching image sets

    Getting images that are in the same series, such as a set of flowers, brings cohesion and symmetry to your space

  • Make use of different colored frames for brightness

    Take a neutral colored wall and add bright colored frames for added interest.

Charcoal black Alenya couch, oversized ottoman, and loveseat in a casual living room set with a gallery wall of artwork and greenery on the walls.

  • Pair with plants

    Create symmetry and vibrancy by adding plants next to contrasting artwork

  • Integrate wall lighting

    Lighting makes your room seem bigger and more spacious. Learn more how to make the most out of your house’s lighting:
    Bright Ideas: Lighting for Every Room

See also: Living Room Design Trends

Once you have your gallery wall up, let the art and decor take you back to places you’ve never been–or even places in your dreams. You’ll find that your gallery wall will become quite a conversation piece that you can enjoy and change for years to come.

We’d love to see your gallery wall. Use the hashtag #MyAshleyHome on Instagram for a chance to be featured.