Your foolproof guide to creating a gallery wall

Everything you need to know to build a professional-looking gallery wall.

Sarah Mitroff Managing Editor
Sarah Mitroff is a Managing Editor for CNET, overseeing our health, fitness and wellness section. Throughout her career, she's written about mobile tech, consumer tech, business and startups for Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat.
Expertise Tech, Health, Lifestyle
Sarah Mitroff
2 min read

A quick glance at Pinterest and Instagram is all you need to see that gallery walls are still incredibly popular. A mix of framed photos, prints, paintings and 3D items, gallery walls are a great way to fill space and express your style.

To create one that looks great can be intimidating though. How do you pick an arrangement? How spaced out should everything be?

They are far more simple than they appear. A bit of time, a game plan and a few supplies are all you need to create a beautiful gallery wall.

Watch this: Build a gallery wall perfectly every time

Scope out your space

Before you even start envisioning your gallery wall, you need to pick the space in your home to create it. Measure the size of the wall, and note any obstructions -- like vents, switches, thermostats -- you need to work around.

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It starts with art (and photos and paintings...)

Now is the fun part, picking what goes on the wall. Bring together every piece you want to include. That can be anything from photos and prints to paintings and three-dimensional items, like wall hangings, plates and other adornments.

You can pick a theme, like family photos or cactus prints, or stick to a specific color palette. Think about frames too. Do you want them to all match or have a more eclectic mix?


Pull together all the pieces you want to hang to start designing your gallery wall.

Chris Parker/CNET

Ideally, you want pieces that complement each other so that your gallery wall looks cohesive, instead of random pieces hung together.

If you find that your collection is missing something, there are plenty of places to pick up inexpensive art and frames to round out your wall.

Design your wall

Before you even think about hammering nails into the wall, you need to create your gallery wall layout. The easiest way to do this is on the floor, or any other large flat surface.

This step allows you to see how everything will look together and lets you easily swap pieces around until you find the layout you like best.

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

The practice run

Once you're happy with your layout, snap a photo of it to reference later.

Next, trace each item you want to hang on craft paper and cut out the shapes. Tape the paper on the wall, in the same layout you designed.

Here is where you can make adjustments to the layout by moving around the pieces of paper before you actually start hammering into the wall. Try to keep everything spaced evenly for a professional look, ideally between 1.5 to 3 inches apart on all sides.

Sarah Mitroff/CNET

Time to hang

Now that all of your stand-in pieces of art are taped to the wall and in the design you want, it's time to start hanging everything. Check out our guide on how to hang art perfectly for step-by-step instructions.

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