Gallery walls are a favorite among interior designers for a reason: they can be curated to fit an assortment of styles and work well in virtually any room. Gallery walls, also known as salon walls, first became popular in France in the late 17th century. Salons across the country began displaying fine art from floor to ceiling, often because of the limited space, that encapsulated the artistic trends of the time. One of the first and most famous salon walls was displayed at the Palace of the Louvre in 1670, helping to establish the Louvre as a global destination for art.
In the centuries that have followed, gallery walls have become a popular design trend, emulating character and passion while showcasing individual taste. Below, learn how to curate a gallery wall of your own.
Tips for Creating a Gallery Wall
To create a gallery wall, it’s important to understand that selecting pieces that match specific tastes can take time. Before the hunt for beautiful art and objects begins, the wall these pieces will live on must be selected. And contrary to popular belief, gallery walls do not have to cover a large section of space. They can live in corners, nooks, and stairwells while still making an impact on the home’s aesthetic.
Depending on each individual’s style, the wall can be simple with black and white photography or can be used to help brighten up a room with vibrant prints. Below are a few tips from experts to get started:
- Room: Deciding on the location of the wall is imperative to the creation of a stunning wall of art. Galleries can cover a wide range of spaces including bedrooms, nooks, bathrooms, living rooms, and stairwells.
- Narrative: Use Gallery walls as an avenue of self expression, tell a story of what ignites passion and inspires creativity in the home.
- Theme: Keeping an overall theme in mind can help to create cohesiveness throughout the home.
- Structure: There are a variety of ways to display your gallery wall, including grids, floor-to-ceiling designs, and shelves that can help the wall stand out against other decor in the home.
- Frames: For gallery walls that include multiple styles or mediums, frames that are consistent in color or texture can bring together pieces that otherwise wouldn’t go together.
15 Unique Gallery Wall Ideas
Below are 15 examples of gallery walls to educate and inspire, including tips for how to integrate these ideas into homes of any kind.
1. The Neutral Gallery Wall
Best suited for: living room, bedroom
Neutral gallery walls can help balance out more vibrant furniture and design, matching an assortment of decors without overwhelming the eye. Whether the gallery wall features black, white, tan, or another neutral color, a neutral gallery wall will bring a classic look to any space.
2. The Shelf Wall
Best suited for: hallway, living room, kitchen
For renters or those who change styles frequently, gallery walls with shelves allow for a rotation of creative expression. Mix up the height and width of frames to create a stacked appearance and add in unexpected items like plants or candles for a personal flair.
3. The Focal Point Wall
Best suited for: office, living room
A simple way to integrate a larger piece of art is to make it the focal point of the gallery wall. Embrace its scale by surrounding it with smaller, thematically-similar works to create a visually striking display. Hang the collection over a wider piece like a large couch or desk to anchor the scope of the gallery wall with the room’s furniture.
4. The Cohesive Gallery Wall
Best suited for: reading nook, office, stairwell
Cohesive gallery walls can take on a variety of forms, from minimal colors and patterns to a bold wall of colorful art. By working from one idea—perhaps opting for family photos or showcasing pop culture memorabilia—the gallery wall can take on a life of its own and provide insight into the personality of the homeowner.
5. The Grid Wall
Best suited for: office, entryway, kitchen
An aesthetically pleasing option, grid galleries feature art of similar size lined up in a grid formation, bringing uniformity and simplicity to the space. Mix up the theme of each piece or the width of the matte for an unexpected twist on this conventional trend.
6. The Linear Gallery Wall
Best suited for: office, bathroom
Similar to a grid gallery wall, a linear gallery wall has uniformity in the way it is laid out. However, a linear wall has more flexibility in terms of the medium and size of the work displayed. By aligning unique pieces, structure is brought to an otherwise hodgepodge collection of work.
7. The Mixed Media Wall
Best suited for: entryway, hallway, stairwell
Incorporate color, texture, and pattern by mixing an array of objects that reflect your eclectic taste. By combining items like porcelain plates and shallow woven baskets with framed prints and photographs, you can showcase meaningful decorative objects you’ve collected from your travels.
8. The Themed Wall
Best suited for: bedroom, office
By working off of a central theme such as travel, nature, sports, or a specific art movement, you can create a layout that can be used anywhere in a residential space. A themed wall is an excellent option for emerging collectors beginning their collection, as they can easily look for pieces that speak to a passion or interest.
9. The Floor-to-Ceiling Gallery Wall
Best suited for: dining room, stairwell, bathroom
Draw upon the history of the French salon hang with a floor-to-ceiling presentation of well-loved pieces. This format is perfect for those who don’t want to paint their walls, invest in wallpaper, or for collectors who have a multitude of objects to show off. The use of the entire wall also helps to draw the eye toward the ceiling, making smaller areas appear larger.
10. The Nature-Infused Gallery Wall
Best suited for: office, entryway, living room
Bring the outdoors in with a medley of greenery and nature-themed prints. Studies have shown that plants help boost happiness and reduce stress, so incorporating them in high-trafficked areas like entryways and living rooms can help improve quality of life. Just make sure to set up the gallery where it will get plenty of light to keep the plants looking their best.
11. The Minimalist Gallery Wall
Best suited for: dining room, kitchen, living room
Curate a gallery wall with muted colors, designs, and frames to draw attention to other stand-out pieces in the home like colorful rugs or couches. Simple pieces can create a comforting and calming atmosphere in the home and can easily be switched onto any other wall for a quick design refresh.
12. The Gallery Stairwell
Best suited for: stairwells, hallways
Add life to a stairwell or narrow space with a gallery wall. Lay out the pieces to visually ascend with the stairs to create a natural line for the eye to follow, ensuring that the gallery will be cohesive with the natural lines already present in the home’s structure.
13. The Pop Art Wall
Best suited for: living room, hallway
For a bold look, consider a Pop art gallery wall. The Pop art movement was known for bright colors, satirical elements, innovative techniques, and mixed media. To achieve the look, seek out large-scale pieces and objects in primary colors to inspire a vibrant installation that showcases your playful side.
14. The Maximalist Wall
Best suited for: living room, bathroom, stairwell
What makes a maximalist gallery wall stand out from the rest is the sheer amount of colors, patterns, and designs present in a confined space. Instead of looking for a central theme, collect unique objects that speak to you. Consider displaying a maximalist gallery hang on an elaborate pattern of wallpaper or in a smaller space to really make an impact.
15. The Think-Outside-the-Box Gallery Wall
Best suited for: living room, dining room, bedroom
While most galleries contain a mix of prints, photographs and other framed art, this type of gallery focuses on displaying unique items that aren’t traditionally found on wall. Think antique plates, signs, and shadow boxes. This type of gallery wall stands out from other similar styles by spanning several walls, encroaching on the ceiling or floor, or even incorporating surrounding furniture to create a wall of art that takes on a life of its own.
Gallery walls are unique in that they open up room for creativity and design innovation while directly speaking to the style and interests of. With so many variations in themes and design, gallery walls are easily accessible to novice designers and collectors and allow the opportunity to explore favorite styles, decorative art, color and patterns.