You’d struggle to flip through an interiors magazine these days without spying at least one gorgeous, envy-inducing gallery wall. Want to jazz up a dull corner of your home? An urbane, hodgepodge of art pieces and photographs is one of the chicest ways to do it.
But even if you’re a dab hand with a hammer and nails, creating a gallery wall can be daunting. There are plenty of decisions to be made before the work even starts – placement, picture frame style, spacing, colour – and it’s easy to feel muddled and intimidated by the whole thing.
The job needn’t be over-complicated, however. It’s about preparation and planning, says Kim Findlay, Habitat’s buyer for frames and wall art. To make things easier, she’s broken down the process into manageable steps…
Think about the look you’re going for
One of the most common questions I get asked about gallery walls is ‘should all of my picture frames match?’ It’s all down to the type of aesthetic you are going for. Artwork in matching frames looks clean but if you are after a more eclectic look, experimenting with mismatched styles and colours can be fun.
If you’re unsure about which look to go for, consider the content of the frames. If the artwork or photography shares a similar style, matching frames are recommended. If you’re displaying different styles and mediums of artwork together, individual frames can be chosen based on what you’re putting inside them. This leads quite naturally to a mix-and-match style.
Choose frames according to what you want to display
When it comes to framing certain pictures there are lots of considerations to take note of: oil paints never fully dry and shouldn’t go behind glass for example, while water colours prefer any material touching them to be acid-free.
Photographs tend to wrinkle if directly in contact with glass. They’re better behind a mount to prevent them touching it.
Like the others, prints also don’t favour touching glass. One great tip for framing prints is only to tape them to the top of the back of the mount. The print then ‘hangs’ in the frame, so it can expand and contract with humidity.
Be open to the possibilities with frames
When it comes to frame style, what you go for comes down to personal taste – however make sure you take time to explore as there are a huge variety of frames out there now that can really create different looks for your space.
Alongside classic wooden frames there are now floating frames like the styles we have in our Bacall collection that have a cool, modern look. Each frame is a pane of glass backed with acrylic, so the image placed between them appears suspended.
Frameless’ frames are also a modern option and are formed of thick acrylic with a solid MDF back; they’re held together with tiny corner magnets. Again, artwork seems to ‘float’ because the frame appears not to exist. For photography, black and white painted-finish frames are a favourite – whether going solo or teaming with a mount, they tone-in with any scheme style and never date.
Finally, aluminum frames are light-looking and sleek. They come in a black, white or silver colour and are a strong statement look. They’ll work in any type of interior but are particularly well suited to modern or minimalist styles.
Height and arrangement are everything
As a general rule, artwork should be hung at eye level but a good tip if your ceilings are low is that hanging your pictures a little higher will lead the eye upwards, giving the impression of higher ceilings. If all your frames are the same size, hanging them at the same height will achieve a clean, streamlined look.
For frames of different sizes, the same orderly look can be achieved if the pictures are hung so that the center of each is level with all the others. Collage-style displays in which pictures are fitted around each other in a pieced-together way are also very stylish. These are useful if you have a few pictures of different size and orientation. This method is often used for groups of family photographs.
The amount of space you leave between each frame depends entirely on the size of the frames and the space in which you’re hanging them but as standard, leaving at least four inches between frames is recommended.