Dos and Don’t of a Gallery Wall

Hanging pictures stresses me out. I’m going to see the walls in my own home every day. And I know it’s one of the first things my visitors see when they walk in a room. If you saw my house now, you’d see that I’m still in my stressed out planning phase, and not much has been hung. But if you’re thinking about hanging pictures or are thinking about rearranging, check out these tips that I’m also using to make your walls awesome.

Do plan ahead



I thought this was a pretty clever idea. Cut pieces of paper the size of your frames and tape them on the wall. See how everything fits before you bust out the hammer and nails and put a bunch of holes in your wall.

Don’t just use a level

Levels are handy for keeping everything level. But the lines in your house aren’t always level! The people who build your house might not have been as big of perfectionists as you are. So, pay attention to ceiling lines. Measure from the ceiling. Step back and make sure everything looks right. Don’t just go off of a level.

Do cut strips for spacing



Rather than measuring the space between each individual picture, cut some strips to the correct size and use them as spacers. No need measure, mark and remeasure.

Do anchor with one large piece



Lots of small pieces will get cluttery. Get a big piece to start with and work outward with pieces that can be all different shapes and sizes. Coordinating with a few carefully selected colors will work well too. 

Don’t mix lots of different frames



There is definitely a right way and a wrong way to mix and match your frames on a gallery wall. You don’t necessarily need all your pictures to be in the exact same frames, but you do want to select carefully and make sure everything flows together well and doesn’t look cluttered.

There are a million different ways to do a gallery wall, and ultimately if you love it, that’s all that really matters! Hopefully these tips can help you create the best gallery wall possible in your space!

What are your gallery wall successes or nightmares? Have any dos or don’ts that I didn’t mention. I’m sure there are a lot. Let me know by commenting below!

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13 thoughts on “Dos and Don’t of a Gallery Wall

    1. Heather Post author

      I don’t see why not! I can suggest all the do’s and don’ts I want, but it comes down to, if you like it do it! I would just suggest making sure your spacing is even between frames and making sure it all looks balanced.

  1. Deb

    I have numerous plaques (blocks of different sizes) that have sayings on them. Need sone clever ideas on how to arrange on wall, or would I be better off using shelves.

  2. Rae

    I have a bunch of frames at home, that are all different. I was thinking to spray paint them all white and create a gallery wall, will it work?

  3. Tracy Meneses

    I would love to see if Rae’s idea worked. I have a TON of photos (downsized from a large house to small duplex) and they are all mismatched. I want to do a gallery wall, and have my favorite pictures I want to use, but the frames don’t work together. But they are all custom framed, expensive mats etc so I hate to throw all that away and buy MORE frames. Maybe I’ll spray paint a wood color?? Or something like that to make it flow better??

    1. Amsnda

      I have also painted mats on custom framed pictures. Spray painting lightly works best. Used a brush and painted some with the picture in the mat.

  4. Sandra Rechisky

    I plan to use many different frames. I have changed some frames to coordinate with the photo and I’ve bought some plaques because most of the pictures are 8 x 10 and I don’t want to just line them up. I have 1 long shelf that I’d like to incorporate in the gallery wall but I’m not sure where to place it? I planned to place my parent’s and my husband’s parent’s wedding picture in the center (both 8×10) but I have a larger professional photo of my daughters that I plan to place on the side with a wedding pictures of each and then their children’s photo next to their photos. I plan to experiment with the paper cut to photo size as you suggested and hopefully my plan would work out?

  5. Ann-maree Strange

    I have not long finished a picture wall in my sitting/dining area and I really love it. Used different size frames, but stayed with white and light taupe. I also put in some small white hangings and a plaque with the word love on it. Lots of people comment on it. How do I put up a photo of my wall?

  6. Leona

    I looked at this post via Pinterest on my mobile. Unfortunately the adverts cover most of the text so it’s basically unreadable.


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