Recently, I was at an event held in a large, beautifully constructed home. The finishes were incredible, stunning tiled floors, an elegant white kitchen with charming details and a stone fireplace to die for. The space was gorgeous! But it made me sad. It was the home of a vibrant young family but you would have never known that walking in the door. What was it lacking? In a word, personality. The walls were bare. There were no cozy rugs to warm up the tiled floors. There was no artwork, no fabulous fabrics and no soft texture; nothing to tell the story of the people who lived there. (In defense of the homeowners, I'm not sure how long they have lived in the house. Hopefully they will settle in and bring some of themselves into the space...or hire me to help with that!)
What's the solution to builder grade boring?
A gallery wall is a great start to adding personality to bare walls! Here are a some proven tips to help you design a gallery wall that reflects your PERSONALITY.
P is for personal
I used some of my own artwork to help make my gallery wall a personal expression. My husband is a native of the Pacific Northwest so I included a map of the Puget sound. Maps are a great way to tell a story about the people who live in the space. They also add color and texture to the design.
E Is for Eclectic
Mix it up! Varying the type of artwork adds interest to a gallery wall. Try to incorporate dimensional items. I used a silk philodendron leaf and wood cut out butterflies mounted to burlap wrapped canvases. I also put in some graphic elements; an ampersand I painted to coordinate with the bookcases in the room and a wood block "V" to represent our last name.
R is for repetition
Repeating elements adds balance and flow to the design. Two sheets of bug wrapping paper, one framed with a thrift store find and the other “dissected” into two new pieces of art echo the bug pillow on the sofa in the room.
S is for scale
Vary the scale of pieces. The oversized clock adds drama and is a natural focal point for the wall. Use several small pieces grouped together to balance out bigger pieces. (Below is my first pass at laying out the gallery.)
O is for Omit
Leave out the picture altogether. Don’t worry about finding artwork. Look for interesting frames. Painted a coordinating color, the frame itself becomes art. I found my empty frame at at thrift store and painted it using left over wall paint.
N is for Negative Space
Art is alive and needs to breathe! Allow a couple inches around each piece giving your eye a chance to rest. The one exception to this tip is if you use the same size frames in a grid type gallery. The pictures can be hung closer together because the mats will act as negative space.
A is for Art
Or your interpretation of it. Art can be anything! Your grandmother's doily, your kids doodles, a quote from your favorite book or a beautiful piece of fabric. Using a shadow box or a frame with a mat elevates everything to masterpiece status.
L is for line it up
Putting together a collection with different shapes and sizes can be challenging. Start with a large rectangle and start placing the artwork, lining up pieces around the edge and filling in with smaller pieces. Don’t worry if some of the pieces extend beyond the rectangle a little bit.
I is for imagination
Create interest through variation, whimsy and fun. Find elements that speak to you but wouldn't be something most people would hang on a wall.
T is for texture
I used glass, burlap, and wood to provide tactile texture. The op art piece and the geometric print fabric on the screen add visual texture.
Y is for YOU
Sticking to a theme, like "nature" or "family" can make it easier to curate and select artwork for your design. But in the end, this is your house, your wall and it should have pieces that speak to you and your family!
The Big Reveal
I used these ideas to create the gallery wall for my living room. Here's how it turned out.
If you need help adding some PERSONALITY to your space, drop me a line. I'd love to hear from you!