In the world of home decor, art and photographs have always found their way into displays in one form or another. But the format that has allowed all traditional rules to be artfully broken is the gallery wall. What a carefully edited bookshelf assortment is to a horizontal space, a gallery wall is to a vertical one: A curation of photography, frames, art and other ephemera, it’s a thoroughly modern outlet for expression of lifestyle, passion and creativity.
Tania Cassill—interior designer and owner of home decor shop huit—has noticed increasing demand for gallery walls among her clients. Approximately one-quarter of Tania’s clientele request gallery wall installations in their homes, and she has worked on collections ranging from framed pages out of children’s books to stunning nautical photographs.
The execution of this trend can be tricky, and takes some careful planning to do well. Here are four tips to get you started.
1. Select Pieces with a Consistent Element
To bring to life your own gallery wall, Tania suggests selecting pieces with a consistent element: a common subject matter or style of art, a pop of color that appears throughout, or even a shared mood or emotion. Retaining at least one thread of consistency allows you to get away with combining various textures, colors or styles. “Find items that pair well together without looking too intentional,” she says.
2. Start on the Floor
To arrange your chosen items, lay them out on the floor before you ever put a nail into the wall. Begin with your central, grounding piece, then build in the additional accents from there. Placement should be well-planned, but not overly structured or precise. To ensure the arrangement will work within the space selected, Tania recommends cutting out butcher paper templates and taping the paper onto the wall. The overall construction of the display should be organic in nature, and interesting, she explains.
3. Add to it Over Time
It’s also important to note that the wall can develop and change over time. “Don’t fill a wall just to fill it,” Tania adds. “Your wall should evolve. It will mean more to you that way; the best curators do that.”
4. Embrace Authenticity
Most important, Tania emphasizes that authenticity to your own style and aesthetic is key. “Sometimes it is nice to get inspiration from somewhere, but you must allow yourself to put it together,” she says. “It is your wall and your art—and art is very personal.”
— Written by Mari Muller