From the hastily thrown up to the laboriously curated, why is it that gallery walls are so satisfying? Could it be we’ve finally grown weary of all the stark minimalism? And yet, there is something so modern about this look.  The perennial Diana Vreeland would say, “The eye has to move” and we agree, with a bouncing gaze, a great room hypnotizes; it can leave you breathless and thinking about changing your lifestyle to fit the space. A great gallery wall can help in this blissful work of creating an interior worth changing for and keeping your eyes invested is key.

gallery1-copy(Designer Charles de Spada)

1. You can and should mix your mediums. To me it really is a treat to see mirrors mixed in with paintings, mixed in with photos, etc…It feels less expected. The novel is a real tool for designers.  Just like if you were to write a book you wouldn’t plagiarize it because you’d seen it was a hit with readers. So too, it’s this way for designers, and any artist, really. We must challenge ourselves to find what’s next, what feels genuine to us or our client. Try to constantly be assessing what you like and only make a purchase when you can’t live without the coveted object. This will help you to edit down to only the essential and cherished.

gallerymirror( Designer Sara Ruffin Costello and  designer Stephen Shubel’s home )

2.  Find one piece to serve as an anchor for your gallery.  The process can start once you have your first item selected.  Your choice creates a theme and then watch as the whole narrative pieces together.

doubleg1( Isabel Bannerman’s home and Sir Albert Richardson’s home in The World of Interiors)

3. Don’t venture too far from eye level. You want to be able to admire your collection without too much straining.  Also, when assembling over a sofa or another piece of furniture, leave a bit of space. Whatever feels most natural to your eye and trust yourself when it feels right.

gallery5-copy( Stephen Brady’s home photographed by John Merkl)

gallery6-copy(The Duke of Devonshire’s home)

4. Try to employ some texture.  You don’t have to pressure yourself to stick to the 2 dimensional; in fact this look is emboldened by the use of pedestals for busts or taxidermy. The sky is the limit. Again, there is no failure unless you don’t like it.


( via- Apartment Therapy and Photographer Frederick Vasseur)

5. Arrange your collection on the floor to get a good sense of how it’s going to look on your wall. This is a tip for those that are feeling nervous about placement or perhaps punching too many holes in their walls. Lay a tarp down first, in case you forgot to mop! Start assembling your collection as if it could be a mosaic or a puzzle but don’t stress too much about this layout, it should come naturally and a good tip is if you are really struggling, determine which piece is giving you pause. It’s possible you may need to find a different home for the object in question.  If you have an unusual wall space and the floor arranging won’t address your concerns, fear not there is another way. Use butcher paper or whatever you have laying around, old newspapers, etc…trace and cut-out the outline of your frames and then simply tack them to the wall. This will give you the most accurate depiction of what your montage will look like.


Written by Fireside Antiques