Buying and collecting art? Majorly fun. Figuring out where to hang everything? Sometimes not so fun. If you’re like me, you’ve probably come across a ton of inspiring images of art-gallery walls on Pinterest or in shelter magazines, with walls fabulously filled to the brim with beautifully framed pieces. But attempting to create something similar at home can be a little intimidating.
To inspire you to create an art-gallery wall of your own, we dropped by the homes of two Minted employees: our founder and CEO Mariam Naficy (top) and associate creative director Annie Clark (bottom).
“I wanted a wall that reflected my family and our love for travel and art, and that was deliberately un-stuffy. I loved incorporating a mirror I found in Paris, a piece of antique fabric I found in Turkey, and my children’s art.” —Mariam
“My home is a work in progress. I love that I can easily add a new piece or pin a photo to this ever-evolving corner gallery.” —Annie
San Francisco-based stylist Rosy Strazzeri-Fridman worked with the ladies to create gallery-wall displays that perfectly suited their individual styles. Here, she shares her best advice and tips. So dig through your closets, pull out those pieces you’ve been meaning to have framed, and get hanging!
Step 1: Collect pieces to display.
• Gather your favorites: art prints, paintings, photographs, drawings, sketches, your kids’ artwork, personal photos and Polaroids. Aim for a nice mix of high and low pieces, and don’t hesitate to think outside the box—basically anything that’s significant to you should be considered: maps from your travels, ticket stubs, fabric swatches, concert posters, a page torn from your favorite book, antique mirrors, cool trivets, and even favorite knickknacks.
• Next, round up an assortment of frames and picture-frame mats. [See the Resources section below for links to our favorite online shops for art and frames]
• Aim to gather nearly twice as many pieces than you actually need. “You want to have enough options so that you can add and subtract as you go along,” says Rosy. “The last thing you want is to be stuck with one or two pieces that don’t quite work with the mix.”
Step 2: Choose a wall.
• A large expanse of space is perfect for creating a personalized art-gallery wall—the foyer or entry way, living room, the space above your sofa or sideboard, etc.
• If your style is more quirky and untraditional, consider a corner arrangement where the frames wrap from one wall to the next, as seen in Annie’s art display (above).
Step 3: Figure out the perfect layout.
• Assess what you have and edit down the pieces, aiming for a harmonious overall look and feel. Rosy suggests choosing one of two routes:
1. Decide on a color palette and stay within it, mixing in neutrals throughout. By simplifying your color range, you can be free to use an eclectic mix of frame styles: antique, new, black, white, wood, metallics.
2. Or, choose a wide range of colors in your artwork for maximum variation and visual interest but use simple, more uniform frames to tie everything together.
• Make it your own. If you feel like a print will look better cropped a certain way, go for it. Buy a several different-size picture-frame mats and re-crop the piece however you like. “Many artists do this themselves, so don’t feel like you’re offending the artist with your new composition,” says Rosy.
• Save yourself the frustration—and your walls the trauma—of hanging, re-hanging, and re-hanging again. Instead, trace each frame on kraft paper, label the tracing, and cut it out. Snap quick photos of each piece of art with your cellphone and print them out in color; tape each to its corresponding kraft-paper tracing. “This will help give you a sense of scale and color balance on the wall as you figure out the perfect arrangement,” says Rosy. Then, use blue painter’s tape to try out placements and arrangements without covering your walls with holes.
• If you’re working with a large blank wall, begin with your largest piece of art and position it to the bottom and left, then work up and outward to achieve a visual balance. If you want a centered arrangement (say, if you’re hanging artwork above a sofa), place the most prominent piece at eye level in the center and work outward.
• Aim to keep the space between frames consistent—two inches on each side should work. But be flexible: If one frame is very thick, you may need a bit more space to give it some breathing room.
Step 4: Hang everything!
• Play around with different arrangements until you find one you really like. Take a step back from time to time and look at the overall composition from various spots and angles in the house. When you’re happy with your layout (this can take anywhere from 10 minutes to several days!), you’ll be ready to hang the originals.
• Replace each paper template with its corresponding framed piece and hammer the nails and picture hooks in place. Voilà, you’re done!
Featured Art: Mariam’s Wall (above)
From top to bottom, left to right: 1. St. Paul’s Cathedral, London by 45wall Design 2. Almond Milk by Carolyn MacLaren 3. The Rapids by Rose Lindo 4. Abstract Muted 1 by Kelly Nasuta 5. Prism Diamond by Paper Monkey Press, shown in a Minted barn wood frame 6. Vintage fabric from Turkey, personal collection (below Prism Diamond) 7. Portrait, personal collection 8. Family photograph, personal collection [MINTED TIP! Upload your own personal photographs to Minted’s “The Big Picture” and have them printed on our archival art paper.] 9. Rusty Patina by Artsy Canvas Girl Designs, shown in a Minted standard white frame (bottom left) 10. Abstracciones Vol. 3 by Aspacia Kusulas (below Almond Milk) 11. Family photograph, personal collection 12. Embrace by R Studio (above Mariam) 13. Antique book, personal collection (to the right of Embrace) 14. Child’s artwork, personal collection 15. Child’s artwork, personal collection (fox) 16. Watercolor painting, personal collection (below fox) 17. Vintage illustration, personal collection (below watercolor) 18. Look Down by Gail Schechter 19. Vintage mirror, personal collection (below Look Down) 20. Desert Diptych by Annie Clark, shown in a Minted standard white frame
Featured Art: Annie’s Wall (above)
On the ledge from left to right: 1. Dora’s Floral by Jill de Haan 2. Antique oil, personal collection 3. The Rapids by Rose Lindo 4. Sum Total by Shari Margolin. Corner gallery clockwise from bottom left: 5. Swift Fox by Natalie Groves 6. Dandelions by Jorey Hurley 7. Vintage print, personal collection 8. Rhopalocera One by Erin Deegan 9. Portrait, personal collection 10. Sedona by Annie Clark 11. Photograph, personal collection 12. Hawk Feathers by Amanda Paulson 13. Down to Earth by Oak Street Press 14. Family tree, personal collection