By Kate Dyer
Decide what you’re hanging and where
The size and weight of your pictures will be the main factor in determining how to arrange your gallery wall. Solid frames with glass can get quite heavy and may need serious support, while lighter frames and canvases give you a little more versatility. I personally love printing on canvas as they come ready to hang, with no glass to clean!
If you’re using frames, don’t be afraid to mix things up (see Image 3). Gone are the days where everything had to be in matching black. Select frames to suit the image instead or choose a minimal theme, for example timber only, or a pop of colour here and there (see Image 4). You may also want to include items like plates, textiles, banners, and unframed kids artwork etc which can add texture, variety and personality to your gallery (see Image 2).
Arrange your pieces
Bring all your items together and start playing around with layouts on the floor. Start with a ‘centrepiece’ - perhaps the largest or most striking piece - and arrange around that. You don’t have to stick to a perfect grid but do keep things nice and straight with even spacing in between.
The centre of your gallery should sit around eye level and work best with 2-3 rows of images. Having said that, a full height floor-to-ceiling gallery makes a big statement (see Image 1)!
Take a photo of your final layout so you can refer back to it when you begin hanging.
Attach them to the wall
You’ll need to know what your walls are made of for this step. Most modern houses have plasterboard (aka Gyprock) walls which can’t bear a lot of weight on its own. There are some great products available (like these from Bunnings) if you’re in your own place but a rental may require some extra planning. Best case scenario - the landlord lets you make holes. Otherwise you’re limited to stick on options which aren’t always reliable.
Brick walls will require a drill, masonry bit and plastic plug to house a screw or hook.
It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to hanging precious items on the wall. Go with the stronger hook if you’re not sure and where possible, use a stud finder to locate the timber studs inside your wall and anchor into those (they tend to be either 40cm or 60cm apart). You can also find studs but tapping on the wall to find the more solid sounding section.
You may want to measure the distances between pieces but I prefer to rope in a gallery assistant to help eyeball it, for a more organic look. Remember - you can keep adding to your gallery over time so it may never be 100% complete! Swap out pieces every now and then to keep things fresh.
Have fun playing curator!
1. Kenay Home
2. Apartment Therapy
3. The Design Files
A photographer by trade, Kate shares the story of her growing family and the place they call home on her blog Babe & Abode.