A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall
If you saw my bedroom makeover post, you'll have seen that I've created a mini gallery wall in the centre of one of our alcoves. It was originally so dull, check out the before shots and you'll see. I needed a way to personalise the space, fast as I'm really impatient when it comes to decorating, and this totally worked and came in way under budget.

I wanted to share with you how simple it is to design something like this. You don't need to be a design guru, you don't need loads of money, and you don't necessarily need to be that handy either. If you can knock a nail into a wall, creating a gallery wall is so doable, and it's a great way to see a room come to life, fast. 

How did I do it? It required minimal amount of planning, which I'll talk you through now. 

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

1. Decide where you want a gallery wall feature in your home

Before I did anything else, I had a think about where a gallery wall would look best in my home. I actually chose several places, but I've began by doing this one mini-gallery to get the ball rolling. Spaces that work particularly well are:

- Above sofas, anchoring a large piece of furniture drawing the eye up
- Trickling up stair ways, making use of redundant hallway space for a homely feel
- Above console tables or chests of drawers, to balance a look.

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall


2. Choose a colour scheme for either the frames or the artwork you're planning to hang

So many "How to create a gallery wall" guides forget to mention this crucial factor. If you want a cohesive look, you need to consider the colours that will occupy the space. 

Take my gallery wall for example. Our bedroom colour scheme is greys, whites and violet shades. I wanted a clean look as opposed to an eclectic vibe, so chose plain white frames to sit on our freshly painted grey wall (Valspar, Summer Grey in case you were wondering).

Think about what your gallery wall is sitting above. If it's large pieces of brown furniture, like a console or a Chesterfield sofa, how can you tie in warm shades for a cohesive look? This could be achieved by mixing and matching gold antique frames or opting for brown frames mixed with several white frames. 


A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

3. Measure the wall area of space you're working with and calculate the number of frames you might need (you can be sloppy with this, anything goes)

Once you've decided on a colour scheme for the frames, think about how many frames you'll need for it to look balanced. If it's a small space like mine, limit yourself to 3 or 4 or do the whole wall. If it's a larger space above a wide piece of furniture, measure the width and height you want your gallery wall to stretch across and make a note of this when you're looking for frames and art. Note, you can always start with 4 pieces and collect art work through the years and also note, that you don't have to have a gallery wall EXACTLY symmetrical. Part of the charm is misplacing objects and frames to form a collection. 

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall


4. Next, the fun part, choose art / photos you love... and strongly consider any contrasting shapes you can add too

A few things to consider when you're populating your gallery wall:

- what sort of art work will look good with your space? Abstract art suits modern looks, traditional pieces work well in period properties or on textured walls like brick.

- is there any art work I currently own that would look good framed? If you have children, give them a pot of paint in an accent colour that works and ask them to finger paint a simple pattern for you to frame. Is there a CD cover you love that would look cool in a teeny frame? Be inventive and you'll save yourself lots of money when sourcing art work.

- am I choosing art that fits within my colour scheme? Choosing shades that work together or accent colours that pop in several of the images you choose will all contribute to a more cohesive end result. Yellows or navy blues work particularly well as accent shades in gallery walls. 

- what can I add that will bring a different shape aside from square/rectangle frames? Stag heads and taxidermy are your best friend here. I saw a gorge white stag head that I want to buy for when I expand and design the whole wall as a gallery corner. You could also opt for mirrors, clocks or round frames to switch up the designs. 

- order any art you're buying online (I'd highly recommend Old English Prints where I got my images from, also Artfinder have some unique budget friendly designs) and when it all arrives, put it together on the floor to see how it looks. Send anything back that doesn't work, and keep whatever does. Don't settle for things you don't love. You'll be looking at this for years to come. 

5. Source frames on the cheap

You simply NEED to get down to your local charity shop and pic up every reasonably priced frame you can find. Who cares about the print inside them, this will all be changed. 

Look for intricate detailing, play around with spray paints and chalk paints for more rustic looks. You don't have to buy everything brand new, it will cost you a fortune. 

Alternatively, if like me you're going for a minimalist frame look, get on Amazon or Ikea. Simple white frames start at about £2.50+

Once you've framed all your art, it's time to get hanging.

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

6. Create a template to play around with frame layouts (without damaging your walls)

I suggest using cardboard to cut exactly around every single one of your frames or objects you're hanging, making a small hole where the nail or hook needs to be. For any fancy shapes you're adding, like my art deco mirror, cut roughly around the shape so you can get a feel for the space it will take up. 

Using white tack (NOT masking tape, it can pull off painted surfaces) pin up and play around with layouts. You're aiming to create balance whilst fitting all of your frames into the space evenly. 
Take your time with this and try out all different options. If you need help there are plenty of preset layouts you can copy on pinterest. Check out my wall art board for more inspiration and templates you can follow. 



7. Once you know where everything's going, use your template to start hanging

Using the small holes you made earlier as a guide, take a suitable nail and hammer through the cardboard in the exact spot. Always ensure you've checked for cables behind the wall you're hammering with a handy detector first. We bought one from Homebase (they're fairly cheap and you'll use it in every home you own).

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

8. Remove the cardboard templates, hang each frame in place and voile!

Your new gallery wall is ready for you to style, photograph and share with family and friends on facebook or whatsapp! Tell the world about your simple interior creations.

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall


Did you like this post? Then you'll love this. I've created a free downloadable interior class to help you define your unique home decor style. Head over here to read all about it and start changing your space to suit your personality.


images //  2 / 3 / 4 / 6

My bedroom mini-makeover (before + after)


Bedroom mini makeover (before and after photos)

A quick update from me folks. We've spent our bank holiday weekend making our bedroom look pretty :) 

This time last year my home was shared on the Direct Blinds blog. Whilst it was always fairly nice and character-filled, we'd only just moved in so naturally I had a whole list of improvements to make. 

My bedroom needing a fresh look was one, but it seemed to take FOREVER to make progress. It's only now I can see it taking shape. 

Bedroom mini makeover (before and after photos)


As you can just about see from the image above we used to have Farrow + Ball's Eating room red in the alcoves (the same colour as our living room) which the previous owner painted. 

Red bedrooms kind of disgust me, haha! so as soon as we gave the bedroom a fresh lick of grey and white paint I saw instant results. The room looked cleaner and I finally had a blank canvas to work with. 

Bedroom mini makeover (before and after photos)

We had the whole room re-plastered to prep for a much smoother, tidier paint finish. Above is how our bedroom looked for a solid 2 weeks. Dust everywhere, clothes piled up in our hallway, it was hell but worth every minute. Our walls are absolutely spotless now, no lumps and bumps from years of bangs and scratches moving furniture and hanging frames badly had scarred them with. 

I'll tell you what, plaster work was always something I never noticed as a renter, but as a home owner I'm completely sold what an improvement and investment it is. 

It took about 3 days to dry fully then we gave it a wash with white paint + water to seal it in, waited for it to dry then did 2 coats of Valspar's paints. Summer Grey matt for the alcoves and summer grey satin for the skirting boards, window and back of the door + frame, with Tidy White in matt across all of the other walls.

This paint was a dream to work with on top of the new plaster as you can imagine, but I'd used Valspar (in Smitten) on my mum's bedroom walls which need replastering and it still gave excellent coverage. A little goes a long way no matter what condition your walls are in. 

Bedroom mini makeover (before and after photos)

Until this weekend, we were left with something a little like this ^. Nice paint work, new bedside table from Ikea, but there were wires everywhere and nothing hanging on the walls. It didn't feel like it had a 'scheme' or personality to it. 

I'd been putting off hanging things on the walls because I was petrified of ruining the plaster work we'd shelled out £400 for, until I just thought to myself, it's worth the risk. If we make a hole, we can fix + repaint it, and luckily Neil took full charge and worked his magic on it. I'd be dangerous behind a drill, so left it to the expert.

From then I began by gathering together some ideas for wall hangings. I found that beautiful mini art deco mirror from Oliver Bonas for only £10 and knew it had to be mine. I saw it looking great as part of a gallery wall. 

Now I was originally going to do a feature gallery wall on the chimney breast in the centre of the room but decided for a more subtle mini-gallery, framing prints from my favourite company at the mo - Old English Prints

I bought some cheap frames from amazon, played around with layout and got my assistant Neil to do his thing hanging it all. 

A little bit of interior styling later, and here we are today. I'm really liking the direction the room is taking. 

Bedroom mini makeover (before and after photos)

It's not finished yet, I still need to refit a light, find a gorgeous blind + curtains to suit the room, and I'm in desperate need of a new wardrobe. I'm also wanting to work the new trend of layering rugs, so might keep my eye out for a new hide to sit under the sheepskin. 

But finally I feel like progress is being made! :)

What do you think? Are you currently redecorating too or have plans to?

I have a new interior class you should download (it's totally free) and will help you release your interior goddess... I'd love you to check it out.

Where's everything from? ›› drawers - ikea, rug - the forest + co, lamp - next, art deco mirror - oliver bonas (sold out but similar here), prints - old english prints company, frames - amazon, faux flowers - ikea, vase - ikea