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Hang a Gallery Wall: Two Ways

When most people hear "gallery wall", visions of complex layouts, long days of hunting for unique pieces and just... general overwhelm come to mind. To be totally honest, I also don't see the cluttered gallery walls of the early 2000's in today's trends, so you can rest assured I'm not telling you to go that route!

Instead, I have two spots in our home that are the total opposite of cluttered, they're (ridiculously) orderly, and full of things I love. I'll show you the best tools and tricks to get the look in your own home, and some other streamlined ideas for large spaces.

The first idea is a symmetrical, orderly layout perfect for taking up space on a large wall. For this wall, I actually purchased this kit off of Amazon, complete with a guide and hardware. Though it seems simple to line up a bunch of square frames, I will caution you it took a TOLL on my friendship with my husband. The hard part is that if one is slightly off, it's much more noticeable than if you are hanging things willy-nilly.

If you want to go the kit route, Target has a great option, as does Bed Bath and Beyond. My mother in law has had a blast using Mixtiles, which make the process a little easier and more simple to add, remove and change what you display. If you want to go your own way, Ikea is one of the most popular options, with their Hovsta (easily paintable!) and other 9x9 frames being designer favs.

Here's a quick guide to option one:

- Have a level and a yardstick handy: These two tools help you work at a large scale and make sure everything is as straight as it can be. It helps to have one person hold the yardstick and one rest the frames on top.

- Visualize it first: Your gallery wall may need to span a huge space, or just fill a bit of room over top of a piece of furniture. Outline your desired space with painter's tape before getting started so so you can more easily calculate your spacing. You can also take the paper inserts from the frames and hang those on your wall with painter's tape to get a better idea of how big it will turn out! We centered ours over a bench rather than finding the middle point of the wall, but every space is unique!

- Designate an anchor: Choose one photo to hang first, usually the middle of the grid or top middle, and base the rest of your grid off of that. You'll need a starting point to measure from!

- Get comfy with calculations: Math is NOT my strong suit, so I was happy to have my husband along for this journey! One of the most-missed parts of a symmetrical gallery wall is the space between each frame. An easy way to calculate your measurements is to (1.) Measure the width of your frame and divide by two (2.) Add the space you want in between each photo (we did 2 inches between because we wanted to keep the wall pretty tight). (3.) Use this measurement to measure from the top outside corner of your middle "anchor" to the next frame. This will give you a spot to nail in your hardware and hang the photos on either side. Keep in mind, sometimes the hardware isn't exactly at the top of each frame, so if it's an inch or so down, you'll want to account for that.

Once you have the top row established, it's a bit of copy/paste for the remaining two. I always recommend starting from the middle and working outward, like you did above!

If you want to get a little more creative or happen to be a collector like I am, option 2 is for you! My mom gifted me several unique blue and white dishes that I've had fun arranging on a small entry wall in our house. The great thing is that really any collection can be displayed, I've seen everything from vintage scissors to straw hats (one of my recent favorites!).

For dishes specifically, here are a few of my suggestions:

- Practice your layout: I don't recommend over-thinking your gallery wall, but it can be really frustrating to dive in with no plan and a bunch of holes in your wall! For this style, if you're able to trace your pieces on kraft paper or newspaper and painter's tape them to your wall, it's a good investment of time!

- Keep weight in mind: If you'll be hanging anything precious (like my plates!), you really want to select the right hardware. Most things sold for this purpose will give you an idea of how much weight they can hold, but if in doubt, round up!

- Pick your favorite method: Once you know what to look for weight-wise, you can enter the endless option-world of hanging hardware. After trying several traditional spring-loaded options (like this and this) and traditional hangers, I fell in love with these discs. They don't leave much space between the plate and the wall, and they felt endlessly sturdy because you can select (trim!) and fit the perfect size to your plate and weight. The best part is that you can just soak them off if you change your mind, and there's no damage to the plate!

- Get creative: Another thing I love about my plate display is that if you're feeling especially froggy, you can interchange your options for different holidays and themes.

I hope this helps get your creative juices flowing, and know that there is a gallery wall out there for everyone! As always, I'd love to see your creations and am here if you have any questions.


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