Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The M Project: gallery walls

I love gallery walls.  I think they're great for filling up that big expanse above your couch or for drawing attention to a little nook.  And you don't need big, important pieces of art - small ones are great.  A mix of sizes is great.  You can be neat and orderly with similar prints in matching frames, be really eclectic with different mediums and a wide variety of frames or something in the middle.  Maybe similar frames but not exactly the same.  Not a completely random set-up, but not overly symmetrical. 

What I also love about a gallery wall is that they can evolve over time.  Maybe you only have 3-5 pictures now.  But then you're at Eastern Market and see a lovely little watercolor.  You're at Pottery Barn and they have a pretty little salad plate.  You take a pottery class and put your vase on a tiny floating shelf.  Your best friend took a gorgeous picture while the two of you are on vacation so you blow it up and have it framed.  Your grandmother hands down a silk scarf that's too threadbare to wear but still ridiculously lovely.  Eventually you end up with a wall full of special items and your gallery wall had turned into a memory wall.  What can be better than that?

Or maybe you have a few large mirrors.  Or a collection of salvaged items (or, like in one picture below, a bunch of plaster medallions).  A gallery wall doesn't have to pictures at all.

When I did mine, I found it useful to clear out everything from the middle of the room and lay out everything on the floor.  I moved the pieces around and pulled stuff from other rooms until I had a good set-up.  Then I took pictures of it all and did a rough sketch so I could remember what went where since I had to stack everything up so I could move the couch and get my ladder near the wall.

Supplies are important.  I used a laser level since I wanted certain pieces to line up - but not necessarily ones right next to each other.  A pencil with a good eraser so I could mark spots - and erase and change them.  A hammer and nails.  Picture hooks for the heavier pieces.  A ruler or measuring tape so you can space things out evenly.  I did 3" in between my pictures, but wish I had made the space only 2".  But you have to figure out what's right for your room.  Generallybetween 1-3" is good.

And patience.  Patience might be the most important supply.  Make sure you have a lot of it!  I had to rehang almost every piece 3-4 times, even with my laser level, measuring tape and gobs of pencil marks.  So frustrating, but so worth it in the end.


Allie said...

I want the black chair in the second to last pic. Actually, I want two of them, and a new rug and a new couch to go with them. :)

Debbie said...

this is one of the bloggers who was on Nate Berkus' Cheapest Room in America show. Think her whole room cost $1k? Maybe it was $1,500. But it was cheap.