Because we’ve spent most (if not all) of our time indoors the past few months, we’ve taken the idea that your home should be your happy place and run with it. Whether it’s creating the perfect background for endless Zoom calls or finally investing in a proper WFH space, there’s never been a better time to up your interiors game.
The gallery wall can seem impossible to master, but it really is the simplest way to overhaul a room and give it a little more personality no matter the size of your budget or your space. Plus, as we’ve all been Marie Kondo-ing our homes during lockdown, a gallery wall is a great way to showcase the photos, pictures and prints you no doubt forgot you had.
So, put down the paintbrush, forget the wallpaper and get to reading the Grazia guide to creating the perfect gallery wall. Follow our expert advice, step-by-step instructions and list of the best kits out there, and your wall will be a masterpiece in no time.
Grazia guide to: Gallery wall
Just as you might create a mood board before decorating a room, it's worth gathering images of similar set-ups that have caught your eye u2014 and asking yourself why they work. 'It's good to consider the overall effect you are hoping to create,' recommends interior designer Katharine Pooley. 'Collect images on Pinterest or from magazines of the style you are aiming to emulate and consider which works of art or photography will embody this style within the space you have.'
Once you've got the measurements sorted and decided upon a layout, Katharine recommends doing a mock-up on the wall itself before fully committing. 'Before hanging the actual pictures, create templates of each using paper and fix the paper to the wall so you can assess how it will look,' she says. You can buy templates, too.
Don't reach for the hammer and nails immediately, either. 'It's important to play around with placements and positions before you start hanging - once the holes are in the wall, there's no going back!' advises Holly Harper, senior curator at notonthehighstreet.com. 'Get a large bit of floor space and use this as a faux wall to ensure that you get the right layout. Try out multiple variations and take pictures of your favourites to remember them.' There might be particular hero images that you want to focus on: laying out your pictures beforehand will allow you to plan your wall around these and ensure that they remain at the centre of attention.
'Finding an unusual spot which can be "uncovered" can often be just as "wow" as being the focal point of a commonly used room,' says Holly. Plus, the space you choose will have an impact upon the layout. 'If the space features lots of clean lines in terms of the furniture and the accessories, I would opt for an even number of placements,' says Katharine. 'If it's more of a casual style, then an odd number of placements and different sizes can work well.'She also recommends picking up a tape measure beforehand, too: 'ensure you've measured the total height of the wall so you can work out how many pictures you can hang above one another,' she adds.
As Cato Cooper, interiors expert and co-owner of The Emporium Somerset, explains, 'colour is an important factor. If your photos are more neutral, you could hang them against a coloured feature wall; if they're bright and bold, then hanging them against a more neutral wall will make them really stand out.'
'Always consider reflections when hanging your photos,' advises Cato. 'Bright lights or light from windows can cause reflections on frame glass, so try the frames at different times of day to check for anything that might affect people seeing the picture before hanging them permanently.'
'If you're hanging a heavier picture, consider using [drill anchors],' says Katharine. 'For anything lighter, you should be able to fix with nails.' It goes without saying that if you're in a rented property, you should certainly check with your landlord before you start hammering with abandon...
Holly is an advocate of mixing up image sizes and placing different types of frame together. 'Mismatched frames are definitely the best option - this injects personality and originality into your home,' she says. 'By using a variety of frames and objects you have collected along the way, your wall will be kept alive and this adds to the curiosity factor.'
So now you've decided on a layout that you're happy with - that's great. But should you change your mind, it's pretty easy to change things around and re-experiment. 'The beauty of a gallery wall, once assembled, is how easily it can be switched up to keep it fresh and exciting,' explains Holly. ''Play around with texture and try framing things other than pictures to create a truly personal space: make sure you continue to collect pictures of objects from your travels, too, or you could even freshen it up by tapping into interior trends.'