Now that I just got a new place, I am constantly thinking about how I am going to decorate it. I have a blank canvas to work with so naturally I have been tearing through every interior design magazine I can get my paws on (and pinning like crazy). Throughout my many magazine raids, I noticed a lovely trend: Gallery walls–a simple and chic way to collage your favorite framed pieces together. (See, for example, the photo wall in the picture above from Young House Love. Isn’t it chic?)

I love the effect of filling an empty wall with a medley of photographs and pieces of artwork that have special meaning. There’s something lovely about arranging things into a perfectly masterminded yet haphazard cluster. A perfect mess, if you will. While the final look appears casual and uncalculated, there is actually a method to the madness. Creating a wall gallery is no easy feat. That’s why I’ve put together this guide to teach you how to hang a wall collage with finesse.

First, what’s hanging? Find an open wall and decide what you are going to hang.

  • Mixing the same medium is usually easiest–photographs, black and white prints, colorful artwork etc.
  • The pieces can either be the same size or varied.
  • It is usually best to frame and mat everything the same. If you want to mix it up, just be sure to keep it balanced.
  • If you don’t want to spend a fortune on frames, go to your local flea market and pick some up. If they don’t match, simply paint them a uniform color.
  • You don’t have to spend a fortune to fill the frames either. You can use scraps of leftover wallpaper, old photos, pages from a vintage book or even leave them empty (see photo below). Or use your favorite personal photos–it’s a great way to add a touch of warmth and personality to your space.

Next, plan it. To avoid nailing a bunch of unnecessary holes into your walls, lay out your collage first.

  • Multiple frames look best when based around the following shapes: rectangle, diamond or square. Straight set rows are nice too. If you opt for straight, use a piece of string stretched between two pushpins as a guide along with a level to make sure it’s straight.
  • Groupings look most cohesive when frames are spaced tightly together (about 1 to 2 inches). However, if there is an extra large piece in the mix, give it a little extra room to breathe (an extra ½ to 1 inch should do).
  • Start with the biggest pieces first and then work around them if you are mixing sizes.
  • Plan out your collage on the floor by placing the frames on top of a big piece of butcher paper (more on the butcher paper later).

Then test it. Just because the collage looks good on the floor doesn’t mean it will work on the wall.

  • Once you have arranged the collage to your liking, outline each frame on the butcher paper with a pencil or marker. Then cut out the paper outlines and tape them to the wall to visualize your collage. This is the time to move things around until it’s just right.
  • Frames should hang at eyelevel or around 5 feet. If you’re exceptionally tall or have very high ceilings, you can hang them a tad higher.

Lastly, get hanging!
Now it’s time to seal the deal…

  • Once you have collaged the cutouts to your liking, install the hangers over the cutouts and remove each cutout as you replace with the actual frame.
  • If you mess up, don’t worry. It’s nothing a little paint and spackle can’t fix.

And there you have it–how to create your own gallery wall.

Are you going to give this a try?

XO Lauren

P.S. Check out my five favorite tips for decorating your home or space. I promise you will find them helpful!


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Sources: 2Modern, Apartment Therapy, LilyRose, Young House Love