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Apartment Hacks: How to Curate + Hang a Gallery Wall Like a Design Pro

We invited Vancouver-based design blog, Poppytalk, to re-imagine a blank wall in their home with a Society6 art gallery wall. Below, they tell us how they did it (spoiler: you can totally do this in your own space, no design background required.)

From a young age, I remember watching the way my mom and her sisters would obsess over art and how it would be hung as if it were an artform in and of itself. That's something that has stuck with me in my approach to designing my own home. So when the folks at Society6 asked if my husband and I would be interested in curating a gallery of wall art, myself and our art-deprived walls jumped at the chance.

We've always been big fans of Society6 and their artists and we love that you can not only order your prints from them, but that you can choose frames or canvas as well. For this project we ordered both and were impressed with the quality, and how easy it was! Art is a personal choice, so it can be tricky even for the most seasoned decorator. So I put together a few tips on how to curate and hang your own art gallery wall. 

5 Ways to Curate an Art Collection 

Apartment Hacks: How to Curate + Hang a Gallery Wall Like a Design Pro

1. Choose something you love

This has to be the number one reason right? Art should inspire you and make your space a better place. Quoting interior designer, Mary Burgers "some rooms just make you want to be that better version of yourself". The piece has to speak to you and it's a great starting point. Like our gallery above, we were really attracted to The Islands of Waikiki by Ashley Goodwin and this print became the theme to our gallery.

2. Pick a theme

I love the breezy feeling of being on vacation so for our main piece (the beach picture), we pulled in other pieces to create a larger narrative: as if we were walking from our hotel to the beach, and then into the water. Pink buildings, tropical foliage, a bright graphic wall along the way, a nice beach with warm waters and an afternoon dip.

3. Think about size

An obvious consideration, but sometimes not so easy to do. Think about the size of the wall the art will hang and the entire space within the room. A good guideline is, if it's a small wall, then go for the correct scale, don't pick too large, nor too small. Think about furniture placing and where it will be within those restrictions.

4. Choose a color scheme

Just as you wouldn't mix clashing colors together with your textiles within a room (unless you're going for a bohemian look); the same with art within a room. You'll notice in our collection the color blue is a recurring theme. From the dark blue green hues in the paddle cactus and banana leaf prints through to the turquoise blues of the water and graphic canvas, each compliments the other creating a really nice flow throughout the collection.

 5. Create a digital preview

If you are starting a gallery from scratch, one way to look at buying art is to digitally create your gallery first, this is a great way to look at your collection of all of the pieces together. We did this with ours (see below image) where we placed all of the images together to look at as a grouping. It's super easy to do on your desktop or with an application like Adobe Illustrator which also allows you to manipulate the sizes of each piece to get a more realistic viewpoint.

Apartment Hacks: How to Curate + Hang a Gallery Wall Like a Design Pro

How To Hang a Gallery Wall in 3 Easy Steps

You've chosen your art and you're finally ready to hang! There are a few ways to go about it: from cutting out different sizes of paper for each image, to placing your art out on the floor and covering it with wax paper and then tracing out each piece. All are great ideas, but we love simple and our method of using a level and a ruler works like a charm, especially if you don't have a lot of time.

You will need:

Masking Tape

A level

Nails or Hanging hardware.

Pro tip: We like to use picture hanging strips, which are basically made with a sticky (damage-free) side and a velcro side. One side for the wall, the other for the picture. They work really well and if you make an error, you can easily remove it and move it.

Apartment Hacks: How to Curate + Hang a Gallery Wall Like a Design Pro

1. Lay out all of your art on the floor

We like to create our basic layout of our art first. Lay it all out on the floor, (below to where it will be hung if possible) mixing and switching until you've found the perfect layout. Once you have the basic layout, create a space (approx. 2.5" to 3" for larger pieces and approx. 1 to 1.5 for a smaller gallery) in between each framed piece. Then measure using a measuring tape from one end to the other. This measurement you will use to align where your art will hang on the wall. Using an erasable pencil, tick a mark at both ends on the wall.

Apartment Hacks: How to Curate + Hang a Gallery Wall Like a Design Pro

2. Correct Height

It depends on the wall and size, but the general guideline we like to use is: lower is better than higher. A gallery of work should generally be at eye level or just a little lower. In most cases, art should never be hung higher than eye level unless it's above a shelf or something that is already at eye level.

As before where we measured left to right, now measure your pieces on the floor, top to bottom. Using an erasable pencil, tick a mark at both top and bottom heights on the wall. Create a rectangle of the two axis (vertical and horizontal) using masking tape (making sure that the masking tape line is straight using your level). From there also measure and mark the center with a small piece of masking tape.

3. Start at the Center

To make this easy, choose the image that is closest to your center. Depending on where it falls near the center (left, right or center), align to your center mark per your layout on the floor. Take your level and place it on top of the frame and align your picture until it's straight. Mark the top of the frame with masking tape. Hang this first piece.

Now, work your way out from each side, measuring the ( 2.5" to 3" or 1" to 1.5") allowance space you measured before on both sides (use masking tape to mark these). Then align the next picture, hang and so on. See our example images below.

Apartment Hacks: How to Curate + Hang a Gallery Wall Like a Design Pro

Apartment Hacks: How to Curate + Hang a Gallery Wall Like a Design Pro

And that is it! You don't even need a helper! Although it is nice to have someone around to throw ideas around with and share a nice cup of coffee while you're at it. 

About Poppytalk: Poppytalk is an internationally-lauded design blog with an indie sensibility. Husband and wife team, Earl Einarson and Jan Halvarson mine the beautiful, the decayed and the handmade. They live and work in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

Shop Poppytalk's Collection here

Apartment Hacks: How to Curate + Hang a Gallery Wall Like a Design Pro

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Comments

Berina commented on Monday, April 11, 2016 12:14pm
LOVE!
Adaralbion commented on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 4:53am
Cool!!
Art Live Work commented on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 1:13pm
This is really helpful! I'm terrible at winging it.
Poppytalk commented on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 3:16pm
Thanks Berina!
Poppytalk commented on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 3:16pm
Adaralbion - yay!
Poppytalk commented on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 3:17pm
artLIVEwork - hope it works for you next time you hang art!
fly fly away commented on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 4:16pm
Fantastic tips Poppytalk!
Laura O'Connor commented on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 5:59pm
awesome thanks!
Verity Campbell commented on Sunday, April 17, 2016 7:00am
Cool tips
Silva Ware by Walter Silva commented on Sunday, April 17, 2016 7:03am
Nice!
Veronika Weroni Vajdová commented on Friday, April 22, 2016 7:28am
I love the combination of works! Awesome :D
Amir Faysal commented on Friday, April 22, 2016 7:32am
Nice :)
Miguel Angélus Batista commented on Friday, April 22, 2016 7:43am
:)
Zia commented on Friday, April 22, 2016 7:50am
super nice
KASAMONART commented on Friday, April 22, 2016 8:06am
Very cool!
Starry Sky Studio commented on Friday, April 22, 2016 1:43pm
The wall looks fabulous.
Ludwig Spove commented on Saturday, April 30, 2016 1:59pm
Will def make one of these walls at home!
Clara Ungaretti commented on Monday, May 2, 2016 11:19am
Really cool!
amanda2206 commented on Monday, November 14, 2016 6:08pm
Can you please help me and tell the sizes of the pictures? Love it so much!

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