This post is about how to make a living room gallery wall layout.
In my parent’s apartment living room, we had an empty wall above the sectional to fill and decided to hang a gallery wall!
In this post, I’m sharing the exact gallery wall layout we used for this living room, our favorite gallery wall frames, where we buy affordable wall art, tips for hanging a gallery wall, and how to plan out your gallery wall so you don’t make any mistakes and LOVE the end result!
- The exact gallery wall layout we used
- How to determine frame sizes
- How to pick frame colors and art prints
- Ways to make a gallery wall on a budget
- Art prints to include in a gallery wall
- Where to order prints
- Tips for hanging a gallery wall
- The finished gallery wall!
BEFORE: EMPTY LIVING ROOM WALL
Living Room Wall Decor and Gallery Wall Ideas
When brainstorming how to decorate a living room wall above the sofa, a couple options came to mind. We could hang a round mirror, picture ledge, or gallery wall. I wanted to do something different than our living room wall decor, which has art frames leaning on a picture ledge. For a gallery wall, we could either have it be more structured, with all the frames being the same color and same size, or go for a more eclectic gallery wall look (which is what we ended up going with)! You can also easily recreate this for a picture wall with family photos!
AFTER: LIVING ROOM GALLERY WALL
This is what our gallery wall layout and art frame sizes ended up being:
GALLERY WALL FRAMES:
- 16×20 Black Metal Frame
- 12×16 White Frame (Landscape)
- 18×24 Wood Frame (Color: Natural)
- 18×24 Black Metal Frame
- 12×16 White Frame (Landscape)
- 16×20 Wood Frame (Color: Natural)
For reference, in this living room:
- The length of the sectional is 113 inches
- The ceiling height is 9 feet
- The bottom-most gallery wall frame is 13 inches above the sofa cushion
WHAT WE USED TO HANG THE FRAMES: frame hanging nails
THE EXACT GALLERY WALL PRODUCTS WE USED:
WHERE TO BUY ART FRAMES: our all-time favorite modern art frames from Amazon
HOW TO MAKE A GALLERY WALL
STEP 1: Determine Your Frame Sizes and Gallery Wall Layout
Gallery walls can be hard to visualize, especially picking out the appropriate art frame sizes. To help visualize the end result, use printer paper or scrap paper to physically map out potential frame sizes on your actual wall!
MATERIALS USED TO HELP VISUALIZE GALLERY WALL:
- Printer paper / scrap paper
- Measuring tape / ruler
- Scotch tape
- Painter’s tape
GALLERY WALL LAYOUT TIP: To help visualize the end result, use printer paper or scrap paper to physically map out potential frame sizes on your actual wall!
My initial estimate for the gallery wall frames were a mix of 12×16 and 11×14. (These were NOT the sizes I ended up going with – this is why this exercise may help avoid any frame sizing mistakes!)
After seeing this initial frame size estimate up on the wall, I decided to SIZE UP so the frames would be more proportionate to the sofa and wall (the ceiling height here is 9 feet and sectional width is 113 inches).
A common mistake for gallery walls is the frame sizes being too small, and I almost made the same mistake myself!
GALLERY WALL LAYOUT AND FRAME SIZES
STEP 2: Pick frame colors and art prints
Use photoshop or canva to help visualize your collection of art prints and corresponding art frames.
I know for me, picking art prints is tricky and I have a hard time committing to art prints for some reason! Doing this helps me to curate all of the wall art in a less stressful way and be confident in the end result.
After deciding the gallery wall layout for the art frames, I decided on a mix of black, white, and wood frames.
On photoshop (you can also use canva, which is free!) I played around with various frame layouts for the gallery wall and landed on this arrangement. Then, I spent a couple hours mixing and matching art prints to see how each print would play off each other and seeing which print would look best in which frame color.
GALLERY WALL TIP: If you’re incorporating different color frames, pick the frame colors first, THEN fit in the art prints after. (Art prints can sometimes look better in a certain color frame over another)
GALLERY WALL ON A BUDGET:
The most affordable way to decorate with wall art is to buy digital art downloads on Etsy, order for printing separately, and frame it yourselves.
You can always order from custom frame companies, but these tend to be more costly. We had a low budget for this gallery wall project and wanted to spend the least amount possible.
WHERE TO BUY ART FRAMES: these are our all-time favorite modern art frames from Amazon
WHAT TYPE OF ART PRINTS TO INCLUDE IN A GALLERY WALL:
Of course you’re free to pick whatever you want when it comes to art! But if you need some ideas to get started, what I generally include in a gallery wall is:
- Modern wall art – scandinavian, minimalist, abstract prints
Think of what colors your space has and search for art prints that have the same colors so everything ties together. In this living room, we wanted to keep everything neutral so most of the tones of the wall art we picked are a beige neutral color. Love these neutral wall art options on Etsy!
- Personal family photo – usually in black and white
- Meaningful art – I found this skyline art print of Singapore, which is where my family is from, and my parents absolutely loved this!
- Typography / Quote – usually I pick just 1 typography print that’s meaningful (but this gallery wall was for my parents and they selected 2 bible verse prints from my Etsy shop in this case)
WHERE TO FIND AFFORDABLE ART PRINTS:
Etsy has an abundance of digital download art prints available to purchase at a very affordable price! I always start every wall art project browsing Etsy and most of the prints we bought for this gallery wall were Etsy digital downloads.
WHERE TO ORDER FOR PRINTING:
I’ve found Costco Photo Center to be very cost-effective and budget friendly! It’s usually my go-to for prints at an affordable price. They don’t have a completely matte paper option, so I print on their Lustre paper. Including some Costco pricing examples to give a better idea:
- 8×10 – $1.79
- 11×14 – $3.99
- 16×20 – $6.99
A lot of the other print services are great too as an alternative (Walgreens, Amazon, CVS, Shutterfly, Staples, etc). Amazon also offers prints and it’s a convenient way to get your prints delivered for free if you have Amazon Prime. Amazon has a matte paper option, which I really like!
All the planning is now done and the last step is hanging the frames! Sharing some tips we learned along the way to hang gallery wall frames.
TIPS FOR HANGING GALLERY WALL FRAMES
1) First, identify the center point.
Because the sofa does not sit exactly in the middle of the wall (to leave room to access the balcony), we measured the center point of the sofa, instead of the wall, so that the gallery wall will look centered around the sofa. We used a laser level to help keep the center point reference in place.
2) A laser level makes hanging gallery wall art frames SO MUCH EASIER!
I don’t know how it took us so long to buy a laser level, but it is a total game changer! I really wish we had bought this laser level when we first moved in our house because it would’ve helped with any wall mounting project we did! The price is definitely worth it to use for all future projects.
3) Start with the BOTTOM most frame and decide on how far up the wall you want it.
Our gallery wall frame layout is staggered (not all frames are the same size or hung at the same height) so we started with the bottom-most frame to get things going.
For reference, our bottom frame was around 13 inches above the very top of the sofa cushion, with 9-foot ceilings.
We use painter’s tape to mark measurements since they’re easy to peel off.
4) How far apart to space the gallery wall frames?
We spaced our frames out by 2 inches, but 2-3 inches apart would look great! You can try out a rough layout on the floor first before hanging anything to make sure.
5) What to use to hang art frames?
We used these frame hanging nails to hang the frames, which are supposed to be able to support 30 lbs. You can also use command strips too, but some of the modern minimal frames we chose would’ve been too thin to use command strips in this case.
REMEMBER THE BEFORE?
AFTER: THE FINISHED LIVING ROOM GALLERY WALL!
THE EXACT GALLERY WALL PRODUCTS WE USED:
FAVORITE GALLERY WALL FRAMES:
GALLERY WALL ART IDEAS:
Check out our Instagram Reel for this gallery wall project from start to finish!
Follow on IG @vivandtim.home for more home inspiration!
This post was about how to make a gallery wall layout for a living room.