The famous phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words” is one to which I can relate.
Image © Elizabeth Hay Design
I enjoy having pictures at home because each one tells a story both literally and emotionally. The physical piece can be interpreted: perhaps the colours suit the interior scheme of the room and add to its ambience or, if we slow down and take the time to appreciate its smaller details, we can discover possibly more subtle meanings.
I also love the story behind a picture: the how and where and when of acquiring it. A framed poster from the first time I visited a fashion exhibition at the V&A Museum. A postcard purchased from the last exhibition I attended at the Royal Academy just prior to the outbreak of the pandemic. This small postcard, a print by artist Leon Spilliaert of his piece, Girls on the Beach, Royal Palace Hotel, 1908, transports me to holidays spent on the beach with my daughters.
In my own interior journey I have found that it can take years to find the right pictures for you and your home. My husband and I spent many hours visiting Art Fairs trying to find some pieces within our budget that we could agree on! Let’s just say we have spent many years living with empty walls!
A gallery wall which I created in my daughter’s bedroom from pieces collected over the years
What I have discovered in this process of finding pictures for your home is that often you come across ones you love when you least expect it – in a hotel lobby for instance or passing an art gallery window and something just catches your eye, just by chance. I have also realised that if you have a partner who is involved in the home interior decision making it is really difficult to mutually agree on pieces – you have to find a compromise.
I have wanted to write on the subject of gallery walls for some time. I would describe a gallery wall as a curated collection of framed pictures which are grouped together in a set. The pictures can be hung on the wall in structured way or more randomly.
Image © Sarah Barthlolomew Design
You can choose to use the same frame style for all pictures, or use different frame styles and sizes. You can also decide to frame pictures with a similar theme or not – the possibilities are endless.
Immediately something which seems at first glance to be easy and straightforward already starts to become more complicated! I often find this when we are presented with too many choices, don’t you?
Image © Julia Berolzheimer
Picture walls require thought and concentration, I would recommend you plan and think about the following considerations if you are creating your own picture wall from scratch:
- What are you going to frame? Family photos, postcards, antique pictures from old books, orginal art or prints?
- Where are you going to create a gallery wall in your home? Take measurements to understand the size and scope of the wall in question.
- How do you want to hang the pictures? Randomly? Or perhaps in a more structured way? For example a total of nine pictures in three rows of three?
- Style of frames? I would recommend you use the same style of frame if all your pictures are the same size and style. You can purchase your frames from many highstreet retailers or why not do some local research and contact your local framing shop, their prices may be more reasonable that you think, and they will be able to give you great advice!
- Hanging – if you are going to hang your pictures in a structured way then this is quite time consuming and extremely precise work – you need to take a lot of measurements and if measurements and hanging are not something you feel comfortable with I would definitely recommend asking a professional! The last thing you want is to destroy your walls with hooks that need to be removed.
You may have a selection of pictures which you have collected over the years that would be ideal to create your picture gallery wall. Or perhaps you have been inspired by Nicolas Fairford who created a magnificient gallery wall at home using pictures from a book.
Image © Nicolas Fairford who created this picture wall using prints taken from a book about the flowers in Marie Antoinette’s garden in the Palace of Versailles
If you do not have any pictures at home and do not fancy sourcing some from books then help is at hand! There are places that you can source pictures for your gallery wall which I have discovered on my search to find the perfect pictures for a wall in my home.
A gallery wall using a set of 12 antique pictures of seaweeds in my home which I sourced from Etalage
A perfect gallery wall in this beautiful Cotswolds store. Image © Cutter Brooks.
Canford Framers are a must follow if you are looking for framed pictures for a gallery wall – they have a wonderful selection with new pieces arriving all the time! Image © Canford Framers.
I so much hope you have been inspired by this article to create your own gallery wall at home, do get in touch with me if you have any further questions I would be delighted to help you and share any more advice I have picked up along my journey,
Featured cover image credit © Clary Bobsyshell Design