How to Hang a Gallery Wall in 5 Easy Steps

Whether you're using frames, paintings, or photos, these ideas for hanging a gallery wall are guaranteed to spruce up your space.

Hanging a gallery wall is the perfect way to show off a unique art collection, but knowing how to hang one can seem daunting. After all, there are many elements to consider before hanging art. However, with these five easy steps, putting together your own gallery wall is simple.

living room gallery wall
Kim Cornelison

How to Hang a Gallery Wall

Follow our step-by-step instructions for choosing, arranging, and mounting your gallery wall.

What You Need

  • Artwork
  • Pencil
  • Kraft paper
  • Scissors or a crafts knife
  • Painters tape
  • Hammer
  • Nails or picture hangers
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Level
  • Double-sided adhesive tape, such as Command strips, or adhesive hook-and-loop tape, such as Velcro
color canvas painting on wall
Kim Cornelison

Step 1: Gather Art

Start by gathering an assortment of wall art. Choose items that go together but aren't matchy-matchy. For example, build a photo wall with a bunch of family pictures or opt for frames without photos to create a wall frame collage—it's up to you. For displaying small images or art pieces, look for wall collage frames that hold multiple pieces in one unit. A wall photo collage means hanging fewer frames, and it also does some of the art arranging for you.

planning out gallery wall

Step 2: Trace and Test

The hardest part of hanging a gallery wall is establishing where to hang pictures. Before nailing any holes, set your gallery wall layout. Start by tracing each piece of art on kraft paper, then cut them out. On each piece of paper, mark the picture's hanger placement. This will come in handy for hanging your art at the correct height. Next, use painters tape to hang each cutout on your wall and get a feel for the layout.

Start by hanging the largest item at eye level when designing your gallery wall layout. You'll want artwork to hang 57" from the ground at its center. However, the height at which you hang art will also depend on the height of your ceilings and furniture. If you have soaring ceilings, opt for large-scale art that will fill more of your wall. If you're 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 where and what height to hang your art, rearrange the cutouts of your pictures until you find a layout you love.

living room gallery wall with modern chair and foot stool
David Tsay

Step 3: Keep It Even

One of the more essential things to know about how to do a gallery wall is to keep art at an equal distance from the other pieces. 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 artwork closer together. Also, leave plenty of space between the frames, trim, and molding, so the gallery has room to breathe.

Note: 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.

teal chairs

Step 4: Maintain Balance

Your gallery wall doesn't have to be symmetrical, but there should be visual 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 designs, colors, and finishes in your gallery, try to disperse the art styles to create harmony.

Living room with framed artwork and photos
Edmund Barr

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 more oversized 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 moving on. Repeat with the rest of your artwork, starting with your largest selections and finishing with the smallest.

There are alternative tools for hanging art if you're concerned with putting holes in your wall. Adhesive hook-and-loop strips make it easy to switch pieces out as your collection grows. You can also cut them in half and place them on the bottom of each art piece to keep them steady. However, there are drawbacks to adhesive wall hangers. Any adhesive strip or hook has a weight limit. They're usually meant for lightweight items such as canvases or small frames.

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