Tips for Hanging a Gallery Wall

Last week I shared the the mood board for our boho-inspired family room and briefly mentioned the focal gallery wall. In today’s post I thought I’d share some tips on how I planned and completed that wall. I chose items from our eclectic collection of concert prints, art, and photography which are perfect for the family room’s casual vibe. I also included a few interesting items – metal signs, a wooden mask, and a resin deer head to add dimension to the collection.

There are several gallery walls around our house where I’ve used different methods for hanging art – either laying it out on the floor prior to hanging or randomly hanging art, changing my mind, then re-hanging art elsewhere, which left us with perforated walls (I do not recommend the latter method).

For this gallery wall, I used a technique new to me that involved tracing my art onto wrapping paper (news print or grocery bags also work), then hanging the wrapping paper “art” on the wall in various combinations until it fit the style of the room. It was sooo easy, I’ll always use this method for future gallery walls. Bonus: No perforated walls!

Here’s a step by step guide:

1. Trace the framed art on the back side of wrapping paper and cut out. Write the name of each piece of art on the wrapping paper to differentiate between similarly sized pieces. Repeat the art tracing/cutting process with each piece of art or object.

tracing framed art onto wrapping paper

2. Hang wrapping paper art on the wall. Play with the arrangement – you’ll want to make sure you have a mix of frame styles and colors, art with and without mats, and maybe 3D art objects for an informal look.

wrapping paper "art" on wall

3. Once you’ve found your perfect placement, arrange the actual art on the floor to double check that neighboring pieces compliment each other.

art spread on floor to check arrangement

4. Measure the top of each piece of wrapping paper “art” to find the center and make a mark.

finding center on wrapping paper art and marking

5. Measure the distance between picture wire or picture hook to the top of the frame.

measuring length of picture hanger to top of frame

6. Transfer that measurement to the wrapping paper on the wall.

marking wrapping paper with picture hook measurement

7. Choose the appropriate picture hanger, attach picture hanger to wall over wrapping paper, then remove wrapping paper. Hang art.

full wall from right mostly wrapping paper "art" and 3 framed pieces of art
closeup from left of nearly completed wall

8. Repeat for each piece of art.

closeup of finished wall

Note: The general guideline for hanging art is 8-10″ above the top edge of the sofa back, but it’s just a guideline. Having said that, I decided to hang our art closer to the top edge of the sofa for a more devil-may-care feel. Additionally, I allowed 11″ on each side of the gallery wall to accommodate swing arm wall sconces for task lighting (seen in the boho-inspired mood board post).

Gallery wall fin!

Sit back and enjoy your work!!


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