7 Simple Steps to a gorgeous Gallery Wall
Sage wisdom from Mariam Naficy, founder of Minted – a favourite curated online marketplace of works by independent artists and designers around the world – about how to arrange your art in a magazine-worthy way.
1 TAKE YOUR TIME
“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” says Mariam ( pictured right). “And the same is true of a good gallery wall.” Collecting takes time, especially if you have an eye for expensive art. In the meantime, build on the works you already own and love by using inexpensive prints as fillers until you find the perfect pieces.
2 SELECT DIFFERENT SIZES
Variety lends interest, so be sure to include pieces large and small, tall and short. And don’t overlook orientation – a mix of horizontal and vertical options keeps the eye engaged.
3 MAKE IT PERSONAL
In addition to meaningful artwork – such as a landscape you love or something picked up on holiday – incorporate family photographs in your gallery wall. But avoid the standard pose with everyone simply smiling at the camera and select pictures that are more candid and artistic, suggests Mariam.
4 BALANCE THE COLOURS
Have a palette in mind. Pick a piece with a strong signature colour and then find some others that feature the same hue to a more subtle extent.
It’s also important to balance out the light and the dark – if you’re drawn to softer pieces, ensure you include something bolder to anchor the look.
5 MIX OLD AND NEW
For a collected look that’s far from utilitarian, it’s important to pair modern art with vintage pieces, but Mariam suggests going a step further: “If you have a contemporary medium like a photograph, frame it with something vintage. And if you have a vintage medium like an oil painting, counter it with a more modern frame.”
6 ADD INTERESTING OBJETS
Adding two or three non-artwork items – like a mirror, bust, sconce or other attractive piece – is essential because it breaks up the grid and provides dimension. “I have a cookbook that I stuck on my wall with strong adhesive,” says Mariam. “And I plan to add some old paintbrushes I bought at a flea market in Paris, too.”
7 MAP IT OUT
A perfect gallery wall is all in the planning. So after you’ve selected your art and before you put any holes in the wall, make paper cutouts that replicate each piece you intend to use and re-arrange them until you have a pleasing display. Keep in mind that you should balance colour and medium – place something dark next to something light, a photo next to a painting. It can be a bit of a puzzle to get the look just right, so be patient and give yourself a break if you start to get frustrated.
MORE EXPERT TIPS
“You can have frames in different sizes, but they should always be the same distance apart – you have to be fairly rigid about grid spacing. But above all, enjoy it. Pour a glass of wine, put on some music and have fun!” - celebrity designer windsor smith
“Decide which piece you want your eye to jump to the moment you walk into the room and hang it off centre. This trick keeps that showstopper from overwhelming the rest of the gallery wall.” - style star emily henderson
“I never line up paintings to share a top or bottom line. Instead, I arrange them to share a centre line [because] an arrangement of pictures, when organized around a single centre line, or point, will successfully hang together as a whole.” - decorating doyenne alexa hampton
Turn to page 24 to find out how to win your own gallery wall from Minted!