In praise of the Gallery Wall

I’m a big fan of pictures and canvases.  Generally speaking, I’d rather buy a picture than an object or accessory for my house.  Usually I go with some cheaper and mass produced stuff alongside some old favourites so I can switch it quickly and easily as my tastes or decor changes.  But I also have some pictures and mirrors that I’ve had for years and will keep them despite my changes in taste or how uncool they might become!

I’m currently looking for new things for the living room.  As you might know I’m looking to go for some bright colours and to have a more modern feel.  Having said I want to go more modern,  I can’t bear to part with this picture, which we got as a wedding present.  I’ll find a way to keep it in the living room I think, probably as part of a gallery.

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I have a growing Pinterest board looking at Gallery Walls. I love them.  I read and hear things occasionally about whether or not they’ve had their day but as I’m not a particular follower of fashion I think they make a great statement and I’m planning on having one or two around the house.  The beauty of the gallery wall is that it’s unique to you.  Others may have the same pictures but it’ll be in a different arrangement and be surrounded by other stuff.  It’s a real expression of personality in your home.

With the gallery there’s a couple of classic options and I love them both if I’m honest. You can go with a uniform look and feel, same size or shape pictures with same colour frames in a strict grid formation; or you can go for the mismatched approach, with different frames, sizes, colours and even throw in the odd plate, mirror or set of antlers to mix it up.

Photo Credit: Left – Ideal Home http://www.idealhome.co.uk and Right – Design Sponge http://www.designsponge.com

The uniform gallery wall to me feels more at home (pardon the pun!) in a modern environment, the clean lines of the display matching the clean lines of the home or the scheme.  That’s not to say you can’t put it in an older home for contrast to the surroundings, but for me it feels more clean and modern, almost a Scandi inspired feel.  For this type of gallery wall you need to be absolutely on point with the measuring and the placement of the pictures. A few cm out either way and it will jar in the eye of the viewer.

A great idea for this type of wall is to go with a theme or stick with a certain type of item.  Record covers are particularly good due to their uniformity, but other great ideas are film posters, theatre programmes, magazine covers, vintage travel posters, or even wallpaper samples.  The trick is the same size, shape and preferably (but not necessarily) similar colour scheme running through the wall.

You don’t even have to stick to pictures here, this great hallway photo from Quirk and Rescue is of trays and it’s perfectly layed out, what a brilliant hallway!  Love it.  Be bold and brave, it can look great!

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Photo Credit: Quirk and Rescue http://www.quirkandrescue.com

If the rigid structure of this type of gallery wall is not your thing, then taking the more mismatched or perhaps we should call it the more eclectic approach (yes not fan of that word either but it perfectly describes what I’m trying to say!).  What this type of gallery wall does is it allows you to be more liberal with what you’re displaying. You can throw in pictures you’ve had for years, things you don’t want to hide away but the frames don’t match anything else; or a plate, your Nan’s old mirror or a wall hanging. And if you’ve got something quirky like antlers or a tapestry or even an empty picture frame, then sling it all in.

I follow some people on Instagram who have this look NAILED. Check the feeds of Pati Robins and Jen at Blissfully Eclectic (to name just two) – and they show how you can have a fabulous gallery or accent wall with a collection of mismatched pictures and other things:

Photo Credit – Left: Blissfully Eclectic and Right: Pati Robins

The key is to be brave and don’t hold back.  I had a halfhearted attempt at it in our old house, but I wasn’t particularly bold with it:

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(It’s an old photo from my phone, apologies!)

I mean it looks fine but it could be so much more eye catching.  I shall be more bold this time around.  The eclectic, mismatched type of gallery wall is the one I’ll be taking as I have a variety of older pictures, photos and mirrors that I don’t want to part with. Some are vintage and others hold memories. So I’m going to display them. Watch this space, I’ll be sharing more about that on the blog as the living room gets done.

Another great reason to have a gallery wall is to hide the TV.  We all have them (well, the vast majority of us!) and we all know they’re not the prettiest things (although some of the more high end ones do look like a picture when switched off) and they’re getting bigger.  And bigger.  And for some of us, holding back the husband from buying a 55inch curved telly for a small living room is a weekly battle (yes I am looking at you, Mr Wheel Chic Home!).  Unless you’re a fan of modern art (ie a big black rectangle against your wall, a-la Rothko!) then you can incorporate your telly box as part of the gallery and it minimises the impact it has on the wall.  Let me share an example or two:

Photo Credit: Left – Domino http://www.domino.com and Right – West Elm http://www.westelm.com

To plan the gallery wall there’s a couple of options (you can find lots of information on Pinterest on how to do this).  You can cut out paper to match the size and shape of your objects, and stick them on the wall using a low stick option so you don’t pull your paint or wallpaper off.  Something like blu-tack or sensitive decorating tape would do it.  This gives you the option of moving things around easily.  The second option is to place the items themselves on the floor and rearrange them into the shape you’re looking for.  Both of these options work fine, it’s just preference to which one you want to adopt.

If you want to change your gallery wall around, you can use Command Strips to put the pictures up (make sure you get the right ones for the size and weight of each picture).  This means you don’t have to drill millions of holes but also allows you to mix it up if you want to add or remove things to the wall.

Above all, be bold and brave.  If you’re using Command Strips and you don’t like what you’ve done you can easily change it.  Go for it!

I’ll keep you posted on my Gallery Wall progress, if you’ve got any ideas on other options for a gallery wall I’d love to hear about them.

 

 

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