Oh I do love a good gallery wall. I find them so much more interesting than a few evenly spaced prints and it’s a great way to really personalise a room, especially if you use a collection of things that you’ve picked up over the years – each with its own story to tell.
If you haven’t already read the fabulous blog of Lisa Dawson, then go and take a look as she’s written an excellent post on how to create a gallery wall and it’s a great place to start. The best tip she gives, and one that I wholeheartedly agree with is that there are no rules when it comes to a gallery wall – literally anything goes.
The best gallery walls I’ve seen combine a bit of everything: posters, photography, typography, different colours, different sizes and a combination of old and new.
For this gallery wall I’ve used a couple of prints and a vintage tube sign which remind me of 5 brilliant years living with some very special friends in a house share when I first moved to London; an old map that I picked up in Berlin; a print of Herengraght in Amsterdam where we stay whenever we go there; an old Cresswell perpetual calendar set to the date that I met Mr S and some other artwork and prints that I’ve picked up recently.
Now, if you’re a “throw it on the wall…it’ll be reet” kind of person this blog post is not for you! I’m a planner and a perfectionist so if you’re in my gang read on:
Framing can be bloody expensive unless you can fit your picture into a standard size frame, but it does make all the difference to the quality of the finished look if your frames fit your pictures properly without uneven borders. There are quite a few online framing companies nowadays and I’ve found frames.co.uk to be about the best. It’s really easy as you just input the dimensions of your picture, choose whether or not you want a border, pick your frame colour, material & finish and your made-to-measure frame arrives a few days later. If you can get away with off the shelf frames though – go for it, because it’s a faster and cheaper alternative especially if you’ve got a lot of art to get up on the walls.
Lay all your pictures out on the floor (or a bed!) in a similar sized space to the wall that you plan to hang them on. Try to make sure that you mix up the colours of frames and the styles of artwork: typography next to vintage etc. There are then 2 ways to go about it: you can either focus on having straight edges to the completed gallery and uneven space between your pictures (if overall symmetry is your thing); or you can start from the middle and work outwards, keeping the same distance between each picture – I prefer the latter because I like irregularity and tend to step away from too much symmetry. Then have a little play around…I usually take a few pictures on my phone of different arrangements and then decide which one works the best.
When it comes to getting the whole lot up on the wall, for me a drill was definitely needed. Our walls don’t respond well to hammers and nails as the nails just break and the plaster shatters. This place was built from brick and concrete (not a plasterboard in sight) so as for picture tacks…not.a. chance. I went with a 5mm masonry drill bit with wall plugs & screws to fit, a hand screwdriver and small hammer (for those last minute adjustments).
I’m also very much out of my comfort zone when it comes to diving in without any planning as the thought of a load of misplaced holes fills me with dread. Just one of my many faults. I like precision, accuracy, planning and organisation so a mini spirit level and tape measure are very much a part of my armoury.
You’ll probably also need picture hanger hooks with screws and picture wire to attach to the back of any frames which aren’t ready to hang, Amazon do a good kit here:
A wise man (my Dad) once told me “measure twice, cut once” and when it comes to this sort of thing there were never truer words said. You soon find your rhythm with the measuring, drilling, screwing and faffing but the one time you make a mistake will be the time you didn’t bother to check it twice because 3 pictures in and you’re a pro…
- Mini-spirit levels make for excellent spacers…
- Don’t worry if you get your picture up and it’s not exactly where you wanted it – sometimes it’s easier to just move the hook on the back of your picture.
- Allow yourself LOTS of time for faffing. However long you think it will take you to complete the whole wall, double it.
- Every time you drill, the vibrations will move your pictures wait until the end to give them all a final clean and set them into their final position.