How to Hang a Gallery Wall in 5 Easy Steps
Hanging a gallery wall is the perfect way to show off a unique wall-hanging art collection. But finding the perfect layout for a gallery wall can seem like a daunting task. There are so many elements to consider before hanging art on the wall. With these easy five steps, hanging your own gallery is simple, not stressful.
How to Hang a Gallery Wall
Follow our step-by-step instructions for choosing, arranging, and mounting your gallery wall.
What You Need
- Kraft paper
- Scissors or a crafts knife
- Painters tape
- Nails or picture hangers
- Ruler or measuring tape
- Double-sided adhesive tape, such as Command strips, or adhesive hook-and-loop tape, such as Velcro
Step 1: Gather Art
Start by gathering an assortment of wall art. Choose items that go together but aren't matchy-matchy. Build a photo wall with a bunch of family pictures, or opt for frames sans photos to create a wall frame collage—it's up to you. For displaying small photos or pieces of art, look for wall collage frames that hold multiple pieces in one unit. A wall photo collage means hanging fewer frames and does some of the art arranging for you.
Step 2: Trace and Test
The hardest part of hanging a gallery wall is establishing where to hang pictures on the wall. Before nailing any holes, establish your gallery wall layout. Start by tracing around each piece of art on kraft paper, then cut out. On each piece of paper, mark the picture's hanger placement. This will come in handy when hanging your art at the correct height. Use painters tape to hang each cutout on your wall and get a feel for the layout.
When deciding on your gallery wall layout, start by hanging the largest item at eye-level. You'll want artwork to hang 57" from the ground at center. However, the height at which you hang art will also depend on your the height of your ceilings and your furniture. If you have soaring ceilings, opt for large-scale art that scales more of your wall. If you are hanging a gallery wall above a sofa or tall furniture piece, you'll need to adjust the height accordingly. Floor-to-ceiling gallery walls can also make an impressive statement. Once you've decided on where and what height to hang your art, rearrange the cutouts of your pictures until you find a layout you love.
Step 3: Keep It Even
A successful wall gallery keeps art at an equal distance. Use a ruler to guide your placement. Aim for 3–6 inches between each piece of wall art and around all sides of the frames. Arrange larger art with more space between frames, and group smaller art closer together. Also, make sure there is plenty of space between the frames and trim and molding so the gallery has room to breathe. If you're using irregularly shaped items within your gallery wall, you can skip this step and simply eye the layout based on your preference.
Step 4: Maintain Balance
Your gallery wall doesn't have to be symmetrical, but there should be some semblance of balance. Pair large wall art with a few smaller pieces, or even-out intricate wall paintings with empty frames. If you have a combination of styles, colors, and finishes in your gallery, try to disperse the art styles to create balance.
Step 5: Start in the Center
If you're hanging your gallery wall above a sofa or furniture piece, place a piece of painters tape on the wall to indicate the top of the item before clearing it out of the way. If you're hanging heavier pieces, such as mirrors or large frames, you'll need to secure them to wall studs. First, find and mark your wall studs, then design your layout around the larger items.
When you're ready to start hanging the picture frame layout, use a hammer to secure a nail or picture hanger through your marked placement on the kraft paper. Remove the paper and tape, then place your first piece of wall art decor on the nail. Check for level before proceeding. Repeat with the rest of your artwork, starting with your largest pieces and finishing with the smallest artwork.
If you're concerned with putting holes in your wall, there are hanging alternatives. Adhesive hook-and-loop strips make it easy to switch art. You can also cut them in half and place on the bottom of each art piece to keep steady. However, consider the limitations of adhesive wall hangers. Any sort of adhesive strip or hook has a weight limit and are usually meant for lightweight items such as canvases or small frames.
Related: Learn How to Use a Stud Finder