There are a few key things to remember if you're planning a gallery wall, including the rule of threes and fives.
Collecting objects, ornaments and artworks for your home is one of life’s great pleasures. Unlike sofas or kitchen units, these pieces serve no specific function, they are items of pure pleasure, reminding you of people and places, or else simply filling you with joy. However, while these pieces may be individually charming, collectively it takes some consideration to display them in a way that looks effortless and clean. While often these compilations look spontaneous and haphazardly interesting, know that for most people, they do take planning.
First, select pieces that mean something to you, items that tell a story. Having a perfectly co-ordinated palette may be pleasing to guests, but you have to look at it every day, so it should bring a smile to your face. Be aware of colours by keeping to four or five, but vary the shades to keep it interesting. And don’t forget white space. Give your personal pieces space to breathe.
Print collection via Norsu
Gallery walls have been around for some time but current trends are moving towards “bursts” that radiate outwards rather than linear, museum-like spaces. Combine fine art with photographs, prints, fabrics, tiles and objects, and don’t fret too much about frame style either – an ornate frame amongst modern ones will add interest, so long as it’s the exception and not the rule.
Measure your wall area and tape out the space on the floor to get a visual review of the layout. Be conscious of the space between each – keeping the same distance between them will give your gallery a refined formality. If you decide to do this, use the width of a spirit level as a guide. Otherwise, cluster three or five objects together and connect one cluster to another by ensuring at least one piece is the same distance from a piece in a different grouping.
When it comes to putting nail to wall, hang your larger pieces first, then use removable fastenings for smaller items, enabling you to move pieces around easily. For a casual, impromptu look, use colourful wasabi tape or a string and peg combo to hold up your most inter-changeable pieces, like photos and prints. And don’t be afraid to display pieces that aren’t considered “art”. A beautiful piece of wrapping paper or a favourite postcard can encapsulate your style just as well, if not better, as that expensive painting you got as a wedding present.
Oak shelving unit, Cuckooland
For shelf displays, a guide of three’s and five’s also applies. Odd-numbered groupings look more visually pleasing and less orchestrated than even numbers and giving them breathing room is also key. A full shelf will, understandably, look like clutter rather than cohesion. Infuse shelving with soft lighting, whether it’s a candle or two, or a string of lights, and use books and small storage boxes to give your shelves height variation and draw the eye across your assemblage of memories and humorous knick-knacks.
Featured image via Louis Poulsen
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