Designers share how to raise a basic gallery wall

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When you have a lot of art you want to hang, a gallery wall may seem like your only option. But basic filling, unicolor frames with your favorite prints can seem boring and overdone, even when the artwork inside is anything but average. We reached out to designers to see how they currently group the wall art and, unsurprisingly, they put some smart touches on the classic setup.

“It all depends on how the art is organized and the layout is executed,” says the designer jenny dina Kirschner, who believes a gallery wall is a timeless decorating option. “A gallery wall should never be too perfect or it risks losing the collected nature that a gallery wall should have.”

To erect a gallery wall, the founder of JDK interiors recommends integrating three-dimensional sculptures and artwork with two-dimensional works. “I love using acrylic boxes for interesting keepsakes, collections and smaller sculptures because they don’t detract from the object itself,” she explains. “They keep more valuable or fragile pieces protected inside, and the top surface can also be used as a shelf to display pieces you may want your guests to pick up and explore.”

This gallery wall from Kirschner features acrylic boxes from CB2.

Courtesy of Jenny Dina Kirschner

Designer Anthony Gianacakos also prefers to add more elements than just framed artwork. “I like dimensional objects that can create texture,” he says. This can include anything from objects and paintings on canvas to framed photos and fabrics.

gallery wall with 3d art

This Gianacakos gallery wall features a mix of art in various frame sizes and wall decor.

Courtesy of Anthony Gianacakos

“Gallery walls will exist as long as people have memories, accomplishments, and things they want to display and access visually instead of keeping them tucked away in warehouses or attics,” says designer Bailey Li.

For anyone looking to do more than display a collection of textiles, treasures, and other items on a wall, Li has some creative ideas. “I’ve been obsessed with ceilings lately,” raves the founder of Bailey Li Interiors. She recently saw a designer place artwork flush with a bedroom ceiling, and it made perfect sense to her. “What better way to see art when you’re lying down and looking up?” she says.


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As a muralist, Li believes a large mural can completely replace a gallery wall, but it can also be used as a backdrop for artwork and eliminate the need for mats in framed pieces. “The art can be centered within its frame, with the colors and texture of the mural acting as an additional, visual complement,” she says.

Another way to move away from traditional gallery wall displays? “Drapery is a great way to incorporate when constructing and layering walls of visual interest,” Li explains. “The late Sam Gilliam was well known for his abstract art, including drapery, which was often adorned and immersed in painted patterns and various hues.”

If you’re looking for a gallery wall alternative for kids’ rooms, Kirschner has a solution that will allow their art display to grow and change with them. “For my little clients, I love creating large areas of cork-covered walls, or even doors, or magnetic areas (they’re now making magnetic wallcoverings!), so they can be curators of their own gallery walls,” says Kirschner. . “Is it fun to be able to pin your favorite pieces and change them when your mood changes or when your artistic tastes or designs evolve?”

cork wall with art

This art display cabinet from Kirschner is ideal for any type of nursery.

Courtesy of Jenny Dina Kirschner

When he’s not doing a gallery wall, Gianacakos likes to “keep sightlines on the same vein on a wall,” says Anthony George Home founder. This means he likes to hang pieces spaced out and all at the same height. But he adds: “I’m not a follower of design rules, so when I choose artworks and hang them, I also see how I feel in the space and I will hang artworks. of art on the fly. Bottom line: the energy and feel of the space can also dictate placement.”

Whether you’re putting your own spin on a basic gallery wall or opting for an accent wall, there are plenty of ways to forego a plain gallery wall in favor of a dramatic display. The most important factor is “incorporating elements into the accent wall or gallery wall that bring you joy,” Li says.


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