Getting Started with Your Gallery Wall

This article originally appeared on the BHGRE blog April 2017.

Creating a gallery wall is not only a great way to stay on trend, but creates a customized home. The Better Homes and Gardens Vintage Gallery Wall is ideal for the living room, entryway, or hallway. With just a few frames and nails, blank walls will transform into a beautiful focal point. The key to pulling all the pieces together is a balance of framing, mapping, and spacing. Although gallery walls have a reputation for being difficult, we have provided a few easy steps that will prevent any mishaps or unnecessary holes in your wall.

Frame Them Up

Frames are a great way to get creative or go for a more classic look. Selections can be uniform or eclectic to set the right tone for your statement. Just make sure the frames you choose do not leave an abundance of white space, which can give off a less than designer vibe. These BHG cover prints have been formatted to fit 11-by-14-inch photo frames that include matting for 8-by-10-inch photos. White matting works, but take care not to use cream as it may not be as pleasing to the eye as white. Select black frames with edges at least 1-inch wide. Frames of this type are inexpensive and available at Target, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Walmart, etc. The frames shown here are the Black Belmond Frame with Mat by Studio Décor® from

Map It Out

Planning is essential to achieving the right look for your gallery wall. Consider the best location for your frames and make sure the gallery fits in with the surroundings. If your home has a fountain or a spectacular view, try not to compete, as a gallery wall might seem out of place there. Pick the grid formation that best fits your space from the options shown below.. Choose a horizontal or vertical orientation for all of your frames. Outer dimensions of the frames should be the same, and take care that mat openings are proportionate. Take the time to map out what works best with the other elements in your space. Use 12 prints over a sofa, or flanking a large mirror. If space is limited, either by windows or ceiling height, use only six or nine frames in your grid.

 Hang Them Up

To plan out the grid on the wall, start by making templates. Trace each frame onto craft paper and cut it out. Mark each template with a dot showing where the picture hanger lies. Use painter’s tape on the back of the templates and stick them to your wall so you can see the layout before nailing. Rearrange as needed and experiment with different spacing options between frames. When spacing frames of this size in a grid, leave about 2-3.5 inches of space between each frame. By using craft paper and tape, you’re not damaging the walls with the nail holes from trial and error. Before removing your templates, double check the alignment with a bubble level. Add nails or screws where you marked the picture hangers, then remove the templates and hang your frames.

Make Adjustments

If you have a large blank wall such as a hallway (as in the photo to the left), you can fill the whole wall. Don’t be afraid to have some frames lower than eye level. When hanging a gallery above a sofa or console table, the bottom row of frames should start 8-10 inches above the back of the sofa or the top of the table. Nails or screws provide the greatest stability but if you need to avoid making holes in the walls, try 3M’s Command™ Large Picture Hanging Strips.

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