How to Hang a Gallery Wall
Our gallery wall is one of my favourite parts of our home. As soon as we moved in, I knew that I wanted to hang a gallery wall in this spot in our farmhouse-style dining room and that I wanted it to showcase our wedding photos.
Symmetrical vs Asymmetrical Photo Wall?
The first step in creating your gallery wall is deciding whether you want a symmetrical or asymmetrical layout.
I knew that I wanted a symmetrical photo gallery wall. While I like how mix-and-match gallery walls look (kind of boho almost?) I decided that this space would really suit a more organized look.
There’s something so uniform about the lighting fixture that it just made sense for the photo wall to have the same sort of vibe.
Choosing Your Frames
I decided to get square frames because when I measured out the height of my photo wall, I realized that if I went for taller frames that they would hit quite low on the wall.
Since the photo gallery is intended to be aligned with the table, it just made the most sense for it to finish right above the table.
When you’re choosing your frames, just make sure you take some time to measure how high/low the frames will hit.
Frame Sets Vs. DIY
There are tons of frame options out there. You can get symmetrical framesets as I did, you can purchase pre-set asymmetrical framesets, or you can buy frames individually and make your own set-up.
I knew I had wanted a symmetrical photo gallery wall and finding a set like this was very easy. While I like the idea of buying individual frames and coming up with a unique set-up, I also think this could be difficult and time-consuming. But, if you love the look of unique frames and asymmetrical gallery walls then it’ll be worth it.
Most importantly though when it comes to choosing your frames, you’re going to want to first ensure that you purchase the right size for your space. So, begin by measuring the wall you’d like to gallery on.
Finding Affordable Frames
The most difficult part about this photo wall was finding affordable frames.
I went to Homesense, searched on Wayfair, Walmart, Home Depot, Canadian Tire – the list goes on.
I ended up finding this set of gallery wall photo frames on Amazon. They were $137.00 for all nine frames, and they look great. I was a little worried that they would break while being shipped out to me, but they were packaged really well and arrived in great condition.
How to Hang a Gallery Wall: Measuring Your Space
If you’d like to hang a gallery wall centered on the wall, then you’re going to want to measure it from end to end, then minus off about 12 inches on either side so that the photo gallery is indented in from either end of the actual wall. No matter where you place your photo wall, just ensure it is indented in from the very end of the wall space.
Once you’ve figured out how much space you have leftover (after indenting in from either end of the wall) then it’s time to figure out the width size for your frames.
For example, if your wall is about 5 feet across like ours is and you want 12 inches of space between your frames and the end of the wall, then you can either fit 3 of this 12×12 size frame, or 4 of 8×12 size frames with approx. 1-inch gaps between each of the frames.
I know it sounds confusing, but it actually makes sense once you get started. And, if you have a full wall that you’re only using part of then you’ll have a bit more wiggle room than I did with this small feature wall.
We ended up having 38 inches of space for the frames after indenting inward from either end of the wall and subtracting out 1-inch in-between each frame. This meant we needed to get 12X12 frames that would sit 3 in a row.
Find Your Starting Point
When we decided to hang a gallery wall in our dining room one of the questions that came up was: how much higher should they hang above the dining table and chairs?
We ended up doing quite a bit of googling and what we found was that typically you want your gallery photo walls to start about 6-12 inches above your furniture.
Our photo wall is about 7 inches above our dining chairs and I really think it looks great.
2 Tricks to Hanging a Gallery Wall
1. Use the Wrapping Paper Trick
If you’re concerned that your measuring may not be 100% accurate then first draw out your frames and layout to size on wrapping paper.
Then, tape up your wrapping paper photo wall up to where you want your real photo wall to be, and see if it sits where you want it to. If it does, then use this as a guide for making your holes in the wall.
2. Create Your Layout Using Painters Tape
Another easy way to map out your gallery wall before putting the hammer to the nail is by drawing out where your frames will be placed using painters tape.
Painters tape will help you clearly see if your frames will be put up evenly, or if you need to make any adjustments to your measurements. Plus, painters tape is easy to remove and won’t damage your wall.
What You’ll Need:
– Measuring Tape
– Picture Frames / Art or Photos
– Nails (two per frame)
– If you’d like to put up a “trial run” before putting nails in the wall, then you’ll also want to get some wrapping paper or painters tape to map out your gallery wall
Once you have your gallery wall placement mapped out, it’s time to begin hammering in your nails.
We spaced the nails out for each frame so that they would sit one at either edge of the frame. This just helps ensure they are secure to the wall and straight.
For three frames across, you will have a total of 6 nails. It’s best to mark them on the wall with a pencil/ or on your wrapping paper and use a level to ensure they form a perfectly straight and level line.
I recommend starting with the bottom middle picture frame as this will be a good start to see if your frames are high enough and properly centered.
Once you have marked your first 6 nails across your bottom row, measure up the exact height of your frames to mark the next row of 6 nails and so on for the top row. Be sure to use the level for each row.
Before putting your nails in, double-check all of the spacing with a measuring tape.
When you feel confident with your nail placement, go ahead and begin hammering in your nails one row at a time. Hang your pictures after each row to make sure it looks how you want.
Once your frames are all up, enjoy your new photo gallery wall!