How To Curate The Ultimate Gallery Wall

Gallery walls are hotter than ever. Not only do they look good, but curating one is a fun project that most people can do in an afternoon. They truly upgrade a living room. But getting a professional-looking gallery wall requires a little bit of planning and some patience. So what’s the best way to go about it? 

I recently spoke with Andrea DeRosa and Ashley Justman, founders of renowned interior design firm Avenue Interior Design, about curating gallery walls. Known for designing high-end homes, commercial projects, restaurants and hotels (see: La Serena Villas in Palm Springs, The Palms Casino Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, as well as various SLS Hotels), these talented women shared some of their best tips, tricks, and ideas for creating sophisticated gallery walls anywhere.

The size of your gallery wall determines what pieces you will choose to hang, how you hang them, etc. In this home in the Bird Streets of Los Angeles, smaller pieces are collectively grouped above the fireplace. (Hilton & Hyland)

Understand Your Space

DeRosa and Justman recommend assessing the space where you’re planning to create the gallery wall before doing anything else. “Are you hanging your pieces in a nook, staircase, above a bed, or filling a big blank wall?”

The size determines what pieces you will choose to hang, how you hang them, etc. “It’s important to have a grasp on the scale of the canvas (your wall) and the overall finished size you want to achieve,” the designers explain. 

But don’t just start hammering nails into the wall. They suggest always planning ahead and even using painter’s tape as a mock-up. You can also layout the frames on the floor. This way, you can easily move things around and create the perfect arrangement.

midcentury modern built in bookshelves with painting

A consistent theme or subject matter can make fore a more cohesive gallery walls. In this modernist home in Beverly Hills, a lone painting complements built-ins and woodwork. (Hilton & Hyland)

Collect Your Content And Choose Your Subject Matter

According to DeRosa and Justman, the best gallery walls have a cohesive theme. “Will you showcase black and white photography, family photos, and artifacts or a mix of paintings and vintage images? Sticking with a consistent subject matter will ensure you achieve the best overall look.”

If you don’t have family photos or are starting from scratch, you can also choose a theme, such as nature, pop culture, flowers, etc. One foolproof way to curate art is to select similar pieces from one artist or photographer. Or opt for abstract imagery in different shades of the same color.

apartment in switzerland with colorful artwork

Somtimes it’s the fame itself that’s the star. The gallery walls in a Switzerland apartment uses eye-catching picture frames to amplify the artwork. (FGP Swiss & Alps)

Choose Your Frame Style And Color

Don’t forget that framing can be just as important as the art itself. Will you be mixing and matching for an eclectic look or keeping it clean with all one color and profile? “Sometimes, a single solid color frame can help unify your mixed content. Conversely, mix up subject matter and frames for a truly eclectic vibe,” DeRosa and Justman suggest. 

Instead of traditional gold and silver frames, you might want to go with bronze or copper. You may also want to think about mixing metals which is very much in style right now.

Mounting art properly is key to creating your wall. In this stunning Los Angleles home, the mount is important to maintain the integrity of the artwork. (Hilton & Hyland)


Mounting art properly is key to creating your wall. “Nothing throws a room off more than improperly hung artwork. We usually stick with keeping the center point around eye level— and then working up and down for your gallery wall,” they say. 

If your gallery wall has paneling, the designers advise positioning your pieces to make sure you’re emphasizing the design of the paneling. “Centering your pieces provides within a panel is very traditional while off-centering creates a bit of an unexpected element.” 

mallorca spain residence with black art sculptures

Mixing things up always makes a galley wall more attractive. This residence in Mallorca, Spain, amps things up with elaborate sculptures. (Inmobiliaria Rimontgo)

Go Beyond The Basic Gallery Wall

Mixing things up always makes a galley wall more attractive. “Instead of just using framed art, try adding a wall-mounted sculpture or mirror to the mix. This adds a little depth and interest,” the designers explain. 

Another option is to work your gallery around an existing wall sconce, which is a particularly good idea for rooms like home offices or spaces that don’t have a lot of windows. “This can help ground the installation, make it feel natural, and give an added light source.”  

Or perhaps add some shelving. “You can also consider making your galley wall three-dimensional by outfit your shelving with various sculptures and artifacts to give your space more dimension,”

Another way to go beyond the basics is to play with mat sizes. “A small photo with oversized matting can make a powerful statement.” Or mix up mat colors by using both black and white mats. 

red wallpaper gallery wall with gold frames

When it comes to creating the ultimate gallery wall, don’t overthink it. Gallery walls are an expression of your style, taste and personality.

Don’t Overthink It

Don’t forget that the beauty gallery walls are that they don’t have to be perfect. DeRosa and Justman tell me, “If you’re going for the organic and collected look, don’t overthink it. Sometimes mismatched spacing can be the most successful.”      

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I am a writer, design expert, host of the podcast Bougie Adjacent, and comedic performer. I am absolutely fascinated by all aspects of décor and design. It once took me six months to choose a soap dispenser and I can’t even remember what it looked like. I like bright prints, southern exposure and any location you can call a “village or town.” There are currently over 100 episodes of House Hunters on my DVR.