How to Design a Gallery Wall

Almost every family I work with expresses their frustration with hanging family photos. It seems easier to just get a generic canvas painting at a big box store and hang it over the couch, but I promise that putting together a wall of your portraits is easy. The hardest part is simply hanging them. There are a few quick easy steps to making a gallery that is personal to you and your family.

1. Symmetry or Asymmetry?

by Donna Griffith designer Gabriel feat. work by Gray Malin designer Gabriel feat. work by Gray Malin

Symmetry makes for easy math and easy purchasing, but asymmetry is easier than you think! Just start with the biggest frames or canvases first and work your way out to smaller and smaller sizes. Starting big will ensure that you fill the space you are working with. A tiny cluster on a huge wall makes me squint.

2. Find Your Medium.

If you are drawn to frames, do frames, if you are drawn to canvas, do canvas, but don’t forget that if you like a more bohemian, Anthropologie look, that you can mix those mediums. You simply need a color or colors in common to pull them together. If you need some inspiration, I have a huge Pinterest board of galleries for you to explore.


3. Pulling it all together.

Take the swatches from your home d├ęcor- your paint color, couch color, bedspread color, throw pillows and blankets, find paint swatches at the paint store and try to lay them all out in front of you. Then when you go to get dressed for your family photography session, you dress in those colors. You consider the scene (a big green lawn will introduce green into your home decor) When you shop for frames, you match them to your colors or the floor/furniture finishes. Then take it to the next level and shop for small business art on Etsy, like the art prints I carry in Two Happy Lambs. Use the colors from your swatches to decide on some beautiful art for your gallery, or order a custom piece! As your family grows, you can continue to use the same accent colors, or change them over the years, but your room will always look cohesive if you follow this road.

4. Details to consider.

As a side note, look at galleries on Pinterest and in your Pottery Barn or West Elm catalogs and notice what kind of frame finishes you are drawn to- metal, wood etc. and then most importantly- do they have mats? What do the mats look like?? Are they white and thick? Colored and thin? Mats really make a difference in the look and feel of your frame collage and people are quick to buy a simple desktop frame with no mat and throw it up on the wall. If your collage is up and just doesn’t look the way you thought it would- consider how closely your frames are to each other, and whether they are matted and then compare those details to your dream gallery.

Hope these tips helped! Stay tuned for more easy ways to decorate with your family portraits!