Creating an Art Gallery - at Home

Written by Mark Rogers

When thinking of gallery walls, Gertrude Stein’s Paris salon comes to mind. A pioneer in art collection, the Stein Salon is considered to be the First Museum of Modern Art. The walls, from floor to ceiling, were covered with great works of art by the likes of Matisse, Picasso and Cézanne. Of course, not many of us can fill our walls with famous paintings, but we can achieve an attractive look by creating a gallery wall of art and photography.

It seems complicated, when considering the elements of a home art gallery. Should all the frames be the same color, shape and size? How should the pieces be arranged? What’s the best way to measure and hang the pictures so the wall looks the way it was intended?

A little forethought, preparation and the proper materials will make the process easier than you think and will result in a beautiful, attention-getting display.

First, decide the look you want. For example, a grid of, say, 12 pictures, all framed the same size and color and hung in an evenly-spaced grid is very modern; using a mix of funky or antique frames in different shapes and sizes and hanging them in a less structured way will result in a softer, more relaxed look. By the same token, symmetry looks formal; asymmetry is casual. Choose a look that works with your décor.

Next, decide what you want to include on your gallery wall. All black-and-white photos? A combination of photos and artwork? Mixing family photos with children’s artwork and other sentimental or meaningful framed pieces makes for a great vignette.

Finally, collect the supplies you’ll need to create the look you want. Picture-frame kits that come complete with wood or metal frames, mats and hanging hardware are an inexpensive way to get a custom look. If you like the idea of that simple, modern look, ready-made frames make it easy to get as many as you need of the exact same size, color and style.


  • Hang pictures close together, leaving no more than two to four inches of wall space between each.
  • Arrange—and rearrange as often as necessary—the pictures on the floor first to find just the right layout. If you’re still not sure, make paper templates of the frame shapes and hang them on the wall first.
  • Once you’re armed with a hammer, don’t just “eyeball” where to place the nails. Use a tape measure, a level, a pencil and a little math to figure out the exact placement. Measure twice, pound once.


Most importantly, have fun! A wall gallery is a great way to express your personality and creativity. The possibilities are endless.

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