We’re in the middle of an office renovation right now (but it’s so like me to jump right to hanging art). I was looking for a really large abstract seascape or landscape piece — I wasn’t sure for which wall. But, as you know, sometimes starting with the art inspires the design of the room. I came across “Rocky Shore” by Faith Taylor on Artfully Walls, and I loved the vibe of it so much, but it didn’t come in a super big size.
(Oh yeah, and this is one of those posts where we’re going to start with the end product and then work into how we got there. Boom!)
So I shifted gears and started envisioning Faith’s moody shore as part of a gallery wall.
A few weeks ago, we were in Park City, and there were two giant line drawings of trees at our resort. They were huge — probably 3’ x 4’. I looked for the artist and found that she only did commercial work. But with trees on my mind, a theme was born: abstract nature.
Yup — that can be interpreted a lot of different ways :) For me, the moody seascapes were a natural (no pun intended) pairing for black tree drawings. There’s just enough contrast without becoming distracting. Which brings us to…
How to start a gallery wall:
Okay, sometimes it’s not practical to buy six pieces of art at once. But, you buy one seascape, and find a small wall to hang it on. Then you find the tree, and it becomes a pairing. Then another ocean canvas finds you, and you have a column of three.
Beyond a pair, gallery walls are better in odd numbers. I did a face-palm plant when I realized I ordered six of these beauties to start. It needs five or seven pieces. “Time Stands Still” by Pamela Munger will be saved for a different wall, or we’ll hang it after we buy at least one more. *Cut to me shopping… *
I’m a sucker for brass frames, but because the subject matter is so similar here, it would be fine to mix it up with a few different frames. If your collection is very eclectic, you’ll want to stick to one or two frame styles (black and natural wood?). We had all of these framed through Artfully Walls where we bought the art. They do an incredible job and their frames are so gorgeous.
Without mats, these pieces look authentically vintage, which is another vibe I was going for. If you have a more modern vibe going, mix in a mat or two. Warning — All mats all the time can look stale.
I would not do an entire gallery wall made up of 8x10s. This office wall is not a huge wall, so it works with the scale of the largest piece (12×16). If I had a larger wall, I would anchor it with a larger piece, maybe 24×36, and use smaller frames more sparingly.
Pictures should be hung at eye level. The majority of people are hanging their art too high. — I’m 6’ tall, and I’m saying that! The bottom of this gallery wall hits at 45” from the floor and the top of the tree is at 77” (but could go higher if the gallery expands). The exception is if you’re anchoring your art with a couch or a dresser. I wouldn’t go higher than 8-10 inches above a large piece of furniture — depending on the size of the artwork.
Here’s a struggle I see all the time — You want to spread out these beautiful pieces all over your home. I have so many blank walls! You’re thinking — Shouldn’t I share the love? But a small piece might get lost if hung by itself. Sometimes your art is actually getting MORE attention in a grouping or gallery. Suddenly, there’s a focal point, a conversation-starter.
Sometimes a gallery wall is a mood board for a room. Because our office is such a blank slate, this grouping of artwork is setting the tone for the space… moody, organic, soft grays and blues and blacks and brass… See what I mean? After hanging this, I feel like I have a better idea of how this room will look and feel. And I’m so excited. More on the plans for the rest of this room real soon!
Our Artfully Walls picks for this gallery wall: