While some are dismissing the gallery wall (aka salon wall or art wall)  as a passing trend, is likely to have staying power.  At it’s core, it is a curated collection of highly personal works of art, mementos, and decorative objects in an artful arrangement.  What better way for a passionate home decorator to express herself?  So let’s assume the gallery wall is here to stay.  How do you take your salon wall to the next level?

1.  Lay the Foundation

Both patterned wallpaper and beautiful color make excellent backdrops for your most treasured artworks.  If you decide go this route, make sure to leave enough space between pieces to let that stunning print or vibrant color shine through.

Gallery Wall with teal ikat wallpaper

A gallery wall in Jim Thompson’s showroom features colorful paintings against a teal ikat wallpaper background. Architectural Digest


2. Take It Personally

Hang something–or perhaps all things–that matter to you: a clock you inherited, a photo you snapped on vacation, a painting by a dear friend.

Gallery wall with personality

The gallery wall in my hallway features a black and white watercolor by my mother and the unframed eye miniature is by my sister.


3. Diversify Your Holdings

Sure, art walls with uniform frames and grid-like arrangements are a thing. Thematic gallery walls are also a popular choice. On the other hand, you could play with scale, shape, color, and subject matter to create a more eclectic and personal mix. Vary the size of your hung treasures. Choose frames (or forgo them in some cases) that compliment the art instead of each other. Break up all of those right angles with an oval frame or sunburst mirror. Hang art that speaks to you–color scheme and subject matter to be damned! Don’t be afraid to hang pop art next to a traditional still life. Or, don’t limit yourself to just art…

Interesting gallery wall with varied works.

This gallery wall features art from different disciplines and a playful sense of scale.


4.  See It in 3D

If you have the space, consider letting three dimensional objects protrude from your gallery wall: a mask, tree branch, candle sconce, faux taxidermy, or even an architectural fragment.  Even leaning a painting against your wall can add depth and interest.

Gallery wall with 3D pieces.

A wall-mounted plexi-glass box encases a small skull sculpture and gives this salon wall depth.


5.  Let It Grow

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was a well-curated salon wall.  Some blank space isn’t necessarily a bad thing–nor is an empty frame.  If you must, embrace placeholders.  There is no shortage of inexpensive items you can hang while you hunt for art: dried flowers, vintage textiles, your favorite poem, a homemade Rorschach-inspired inkblot.  You may even learn to love the placeholder and never end up replacing it.

Art walls can feature empty frames and still look chic.

On this art wall, gilded empty frames are prominently hung. Charles Spada

Ready to get started or need to fill a space?  Check out these ideas and shopping suggestions to augment your art wall.