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How to Create an Eclectic Gallery Wall

11th September 2018

Guest blog by Antonia Schmitz, www.craftifair.de

One thing is for sure, we humans like to decorate the walls of our home. Nevertheless, this is often something that slips to the bottom of our to-do lists, meaning that it can be months – or years – after moving into a new home before we turn our attention to what’s on our walls.

When faced with a choice of which pictures to display, where to hang them and how to arrange them on the wall, it can be quite overwhelming. Since we moved into our apartment, I have wanted to create a small picture gallery on the wall above our bed. We have now lived here for two years!

Well, as they say, good things come to those who wait!

In cooperation with CEWE, I have finally completed my little picture gallery above my bed. The result is an eclectic gallery wall consisting of my own photos, specially created illustrations and a few favourite pieces.

What is a Gallery Wall?

Gallery walls are arrangements of various paintings or works of art based on the famous display at the Hermitage museum in Saint Petersburg. In the 18th century, the aristocracy displayed its wealth in the form of opulent works of art which were hung close together on the walls and often spanned from floor to ceiling. It is often described as ‘organised chaos’, as at first glance what can appear as being chaotically strung together usually follows a strict system. Using similarities such as the content or style of the images, each individual picture merges together with the others to create an overall work of art.

framed prints in different sizes and styles, laid out in different compositions on a bed

Nowadays, nobody wants to cover their living room walls in pictures right up to the ceiling, but the St. Petersburg gallery wall is, nonetheless, the perfect inspiration for putting together your own gallery wall.

Choosing your Themes and Media

In order to produce a harmonious gallery wall, it is advisable to find a common theme when choosing your pictures. This could be a specific topic, a colour scheme or the size of the pictures. If you’d prefer to put completely different styles of picture together, you can use the same frames and media to provide harmony to the overall picture. When choosing your media, you should mainly be guided by your own taste, although it helps to select a medium based on the picture, for example, oil paintings simply look much better on canvas than on an aluminium print.

Personally, I like the look of Canvas the best, even for photographs, which is why I ordered both the photographs and my large illustration on canvas with CEWE. The shadow gap frames made from light coloured wood make the pictures look even more impressive. To lighten up the overall picture, I have two smaller illustrations printed as matte Premium Posters. A full description of the CEWE products I used and the corresponding links are available at the end of the article.

Sleep Under Your Favourite Cities

When choosing a theme, I decided to use photos of the three cities that mean the most to me – my hometown of Ilmenau in the Thuringian Forest in Germany, my second home, Cologne, and my favourite city, Paris. Because these ‘simple’ photos of the cities were somehow too bleak, I added in a few dots of colour to them, which are repeated in the centrepiece of the gallery wall. The abstract illustration is the perfect contrast to the cityscapes, but incorporates the colour and form of all the other images to create a work of art.

Finding the Perfect Picture Arrangement

To arrange the pictures on your gallery wall, you should pay special attention to the current layout of the room and its existing features, such as by using door and window frames as a guide for alignment. For my own bedroom gallery wall, I used the width of the bed as a guide, making the gallery wall about the same width.

Before you start to hammer nails into the wall, you should always lay your pictures out on the floor or bed beforehand so you can play around with the arrangement to see what you like best.

Top Tip: Don’t hang your pictures too high. The middle of the gallery wall should be at eye level, and this can be even lower if your gallery wall is in a lounge or sitting area. To arrange the pictures, you can be guided by the shape of each one and combine them so that there is a balance to the overall picture. The distance between the pictures should always be the same, and it is important that it isn’t too big. I always leave 5cm between all my framed pictures.

The important thing when creating a gallery wall is to try out different variations and to listen to your gut feeling, after all, anything goes as long as you like it!

Antonia hangs a framed, colourful abstract illustration on the wall

How to Align Your Pictures Perfectly

Aligning your pictures perfectly within a gallery wall is not easy, but with a few tips and tricks, you’ll be ready to go in no time.

What you’ll need:

  • Spirit level
  • Pencil
  • Set square

When assembling the picture gallery, work from the inside out. The central picture is the best place to begin, and the rest of the pictures are built around it. First, you should find the best position for the first image, check its alignment with a spirit level and then draw a thin line along the top of the picture to mark where it will go. On the back of the picture, you can measure the exact distance from the top edge to where the picture hangs, and then mark this on the wall to show you where to put your nail. Repeat this for each of your pictures.

Alternatively, you can use masking tape instead of pencil, but this can remove some paint and wallpaper, so I recommend drawing a thin pencil line which can be easily rubbed off when you’re finished.

framed cityscape prints in a gallery wall configuration

Almost Finished!

A gallery wall thrives on the variety of the objects within. By using the same colours and frames, each individual piece merges perfectly into a big work of art, and small decorative elements and unframed illustrations are dotted in amongst the images to give a greater sense of cohesion.

Finally – My Own Little Gallery Wall

I am really impressed by the result! For a long time I’ve considered what type of theme my gallery wall should follow. Of course, there are countless wonderful art prints and posters to use, but I’m glad that I’ve created something truly unique. In addition to interiors and plants, I also enjoy photographing architecture and nature, but until now most of my photos have had a sad existence on my hard drive, so I’m even more pleased that a few of them get to have their big moment now!

TIP: If you would like to see more of my nature and architecture photos, feel free to visit my second Instagram account antonia.cgn. I am also really impressed by the insanely good print quality of the photos and illustrations. Both on canvas and on the matte premium posters, the colours and sharpness of the prints are perfect, and both products feel great to the touch.

I used the following CEWE products in my gallery wall:

Top Tip: When ordering framed canvases, it’s worth noting that the frame will cover about 3cm from the edge, so you should take care not to have any vital parts of the image in this area.


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