Written by Hugh Metcalf

How to create a picture perfect gallery wall

While it’s an ideal decorative touch for any room, a gallery wall can be difficult to pull together successfully. Here’s our top tips for creating the perfect scheme.

john lewis & partners expressionism gallery wall - goodhomesmagazine.com

Image: John Lewis & Partners 

Large wall art can be an expensive purchase, but when you’ve got plenty of wall space to fill, a gallery wall offers a stylish and affordable option. However, it does require an eye for mixing and matching pattern, colour and sizes all in one project.

If you’re struggling to nail the look, we’ve pull together some top tips to get you started – from the perfect layout to practical tips to make the job simple.

Play with levels

desenio gallery wall neon light - goodhomesmagazine.com

Image: Desenio

As a general rule, the most organic looking gallery walls are those which don’t fit into a neat little box. Don’t work to a strict square or rectangular shape, instead staggering your frames at different levels. A squared off, super neat collection of pictures isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but at the same time, this won’t deliver you the signature gallery wall style which is so popular.

Plan your layout


Planning a gallery wall is notoriously difficult – when it’s up on the wall, often it’s not quite as you envisaged, meaning many nails knocked into the walls by the time you’re finished trying to correct it.

With your frames, plan a rough layout flat on the ground – this will help with which print should go where. To get the placement exactly right, cut pieces of cardboard the same size as your frames and tape them up on the wall. Look at how they fill the space, and adjust as necessary. You can even knock your nails directly through the cardboard and simply tear away afterwards.

To ensure even spacing between frames, why not make your own spacing tool? A simple wood batten will do the job.

Experiment with size and shape

gallery wall with dfs blenheim sofa - goodhomesmagazine.com

Image: Blenheim sofa in coral velvet from DFS

The key to a good gallery wall is a mix of size and shapes, however, our big piece of advice is to not go too extreme at either ends of your collection. Balancing supersize prints with super tiny ones can be a challenge and end up looking clumsy – for an easy life pulling your gallery wall together, keep within a pre-determined size range.

Go beyond picture frames

dunelm spring summer gallery wall 2020 - goodhomesmagazine.com

Image: Dunelm

Picture frames aren’t your only option for building up a gallery wall. From decorative wall objects to mirrors, shelves to lighting, these pieces offer more options and dimension to your finished design.

Create a thread of colour


For an eclectic look that looks effortless, you’ll want to avoid choosing prints that match too closely. However, a loose thread of colour can help to tie the entire gallery together. Where a colour may be dominant in one print, there can be just a flash of it in another to bring a cohesive feel. This gallery wall, by gallery wall queen Lisa Dawson, is a perfect example of a laid-back approach to colour, not creating a look that’s overly matched, but that has a theme woven through the picture layout.

Mix frame styles

desenio neutral gallery wall - goodhomesmagazine.com

Image: Desenio 

By using the same frame types, you may think you’re creating a cohesive scheme, but the end effect may feel a little forced. Think about different framing options – from the finish of the frame itself to the amount of mounting used between a print and the frame. Why not throw in a piece of original art painted on canvas too? An unframed piece brings a new level of easy-going style to the final look.


Created your dream gallery wall? Let us know on social! Tweet us @goodhomesmag or post a comment on our Facebook page, or post a picture of your gallery wall on Instagram using the hashtag #ThisGoodHome for your chance to be featured on our feed.



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