How to create a gallery wall

My favorite little neighborhood coffee shop (Dilworth Coffee for any Charlotte locals) has great taste in interiors. On my way to pick up lattes, I always walk past this gallery wall, admire it, and think about how it wants me to spray paint all my mismatched frames a muted gold. I finally snapped some photos to share their great ideas for creating one of your own.

Granted, I am probably not the best person for giving tips on hanging pictures (I "eyeball" everything, and therefore most of my walls are covered in nail holes), but do think you'll agree that galleries look best when they are a little willy-nilly and off kilter, as if a real artist just slapped them up there for sale.

Here are some tips I've learned from the gallery walls across America that I've admired and copied in my own homes over the years:

#1 Go beyond picture frames and canvases 

Sprinkle in some letters, animal heads, or anything else that you feel inclined to nail to the wall - remember that there is no 'wrong' in an art gallery

#2 Start hanging from the center

Choose the frame or two that you want to be the anchor for the rest, and just go ahead and hang 'em up. Below is a photo of the gallery wall from my old studio in DC - I chose to start with the two largest pieces as the center (a canvas and a big white matted print of the Capital). Once I committed to those two as the focus, it was pretty easy to start hanging the the others in the places where I felt they fit. (And if you're not comfortable making as many nail holes in the walls as your darn well please until it looks right, you can play with the layout on the floor and use a ruler.)

#3 Vary size and dimension 

Use fat frames, skinny ones, long ones, small ones - but stick to roughly the same amount of space between the frames themselves to keep it balanced (I like to keep them one or two 'thumbs' apart).

#4 Use as many colors and textures as you want

If you want to change it up, an $8 bottle of gold spray paint is all you need. I decided to copy Dilworth Coffee and paint all my old frames gold - there are still a few left to go (ran out of paint - downside of an impulse project).

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