Gallery wall in a black and white themed living room.

Gallery Wall Ideas: Themes, Layouts And Hanging Tips

Jeannette Baum5-Minute Read
August 31, 2022

Everyone has that one giant white space after painting or redecorating a room. The large, empty wall that you have no idea what to do with.

A great home decor trend you can use to fill this space is a gallery wall. With gallery walls, you can incorporate style, significance and creativity into one design element.

What Is A Gallery Wall?

A gallery wall is a type of decor that allows you to hang several pieces of art in one space. There’s quite a bit of creative freedom when it comes to design. You can mix a few different pieces or opt for a more uniform look.

And the elements in your gallery don’t have to be only picture frames. You can add mirrors or metal elements to add some dimension to your design. With gallery walls, you can incorporate style, significance and creativity.

Gallery Wall Themes

It’s a good idea to pick a theme for your wall project. Some popular themes are family photos, a color palette, pictures of the same subject and pictures in the same art style.

Say, for example, you love animals, traveling or watercolor pictures. Those are great examples of themes for gallery walls. If you don’t know where to start, pick a color palette that would work well in the room of choice and gather things from there.

Gallery Wall Layouts

Depending on the place, there are hundreds of different ways you could arrange your gallery wall. Determining its location will make it much easier to narrow down your layout choices.

While gallery walls are most commonly seen in living rooms, there are plenty of other places in your home to consider. A wall beside a staircase, a dining room or any room in your home where you’ll find large walls without windows are all great options.

However you decide to design yours, remember that the best gallery walls are the ones that are significant to you. Hamna Amjad, a consultant at the home management app company Centriq, gave us her take.

“A captivating gallery wall is the one that depicts your special memories or life journey” says Amjad. “It can have pictures of your family and friends. You can even include souvenirs from your travels or your kid’s artwork to make a personal statement.”

Here are a few different ways to arrange your gallery wall:


Classic Gallery Wall

Classic gallery walls involve five to 10 framed pieces varying in size and shape. Rather than extending from floor to ceiling, they tend to be hung over a piece of furniture and cover a smaller amount of space.


Floor-to-ceiling gallery wall.

The name says it all. This is especially great for the random wall that you never know how to decorate.

Fill that empty space from the top of the wall right down to the molding to make a bold statement with your wall art.


Grid gallery wall.

If you prefer symmetry in your design elements, you’ll love this one. This layout uses frames with the same size, shape and color and arranges them in a grid, typically in multiples of three.


Picture frames arranged in a column

This layout is an arrangement of vertically stacked frames, typically four or six of them. Columns work especially well for narrow spaces.


Picture Frames arranged on a ledge.

This style involves placing your frames on a shallow wall shelf. Since it’s easier to rearrange the frames when they’re not nailed into the wall, this is convenient for those who like to switch up their decor often.

Focal Point

Picture frames arranged around a focal point.

If you’re looking to start a gallery wall, but don’t have many items gathered yet, consider a focal point style.

Amjad says gallery walls don’t necessarily have to start with extensive planning. “Just start with the centerpiece and keep adding the items over time in any direction,” she says.

The focal point layout usually involves a large piece in the center surrounded by smaller similar pieces that can be aligned or staggered depending on the look you’re going for.

Top Or Bottom Aligned

Bottom aligned picture frames.

This style aligns the top or the bottom of the frames with each other regardless of their size. This is commonly seen on shelving.


Corner gallery wall.

This layout involves two walls that come together. The gallery wall placed in a corner and is extended from one wall to another.

This is great for grabbing people’s attention. There’s something about breaking the typical rule of having space between a corner and wall art that makes you want to look.

5 Tips For Hanging Your Gallery Wall

1.     Have The Right Tools  

Once you’ve decided where your gallery wall will go, you can nail down your layout, literally. Before learning how to hang your artwork, you need to make sure you’ve gathered all the tools you’ll need for the project.

Grab yourself a hammer, a pencil, some paper and some nails that will minimize damage to your walls.

2.     Mock Up The Placement

Arrange what you want your wall to look like on the ground before you go hammering away at your wall. It helps to get a visual image of what you’ll expect when you transfer the frames to your designated wall space.

Start with the large pieces and fill in spaces with the smaller ones.

3.     Use Paper Templates

Another way to visualize where you’d like your frames is to tape some paper to the wall where you see the frames going. Mark the location of the nail placement on the paper template and nail through it to maintain accuracy.

It will be easy to tear off the paper, leaving just the nail in the spot. It helps to do these one at a time so you don’t forget which piece you’re hanging where.

4.     Maintain Distance Between Frames And Furniture

Be conscious of the distance you’re leaving between each frame when hanging your gallery wall. It’s important to maintain consistency here to get the look you’re trying to achieve.

If you’re hanging your frames above a piece of furniture, a general rule is to hang them about 4 – 6 inches above the piece.

5.     Take A Step Back

Last but not least, take a step back from your work of art. You want to see the arrangement from the perspective people will have when they walk into the room.

By stepping back, you’ll get a much better sense for how the final gallery wall actually looks. It’s a good idea to step back in the middle of the project as well so you can see what might need to be fixed before you get the entire project done.

Jeannette Baum

Jeannette is a Marketing Communications Manager for Rocket Mortgage, and she heads up a team of publishers for the Publishing House. She is well-versed in home decor, marketing, and recruiting, interviewing, and hiring for Fortune 500 companies. Jeannette holds a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and loves writing informational blogs.