My Fool Proof Method of Hanging A Gallery Wall

August 19, 2015

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Last week when I was hanging all the new art in our bedroom, my sister Patty was over chatting and serving as a make-shift photographer for this post. While watching me do my thing, she kept saying, “You have to come do this at my house! I want a gallery wall at my house next.” And I couldn’t help but say to her the same thing I say to all of you–you can totally do this. 

So here is my fool-proof method for anyone that’s not very confident about hanging up pictures or terrified of putting a hole in your wall. Which, by the way, I fully support putting lots of holes in your walls. Hanging photos or art, even if you don’t like it the first time, will bring you so much joy. But this way, you aren’t going to make any unwanted holes. ;)


1. My secret is wrapping paper. It’s large enough to fit big pieces of art and cheap, too! Trace each piece you’d like to hang on wrapping paper. The stuff you can get at the Dollar Store is perfectly thin so you can slide scissors quickly through it. Don’t be afraid to line up subsequent frames on the previous frame’s outline–less cutting!


I also like to label the tracing right away in the orientation it will be hung, as well as, include what the frame color is if you have multiple colors you’re working with. This will come into play next.


2. Use tape or sticky tack to hang up all your templates. I like to start with a large piece and work out, but don’t feel committed to your first (or second, or fourth!) arrangement. Just keep moving them until you feel happy with the shapes and balance in front of you.


A couple things you might want to look for in this stage: Do you have a balance of horizontals and verticals? Do you have your frame colors balanced out (this is why I like to write the frame color on the template) so you have a little bit of gold or white, etc. throughout? Are all of your abstracts/portraits/botanicals/etc. all in one spot? Try placing them on opposite sides of the arrangement instead. Play with repeating patterns, like two small pictures next to each other.

3. Once you have the templates exactly where you want them, it’s time to hang your pictures! We use Framebridge for a lot of the art and photos in our home, including 7 out of the 9 pieces in our bedroom. I just can’t get enough of the service. Sometimes I’ll upload a photo straight from my instagram and I’ll have it framed beautifully the next week! Or, for these, I chose all the frames and mats on their website and they sent boxes and tubes with a pre-paid shipping label for us to send in the art to be framed.  They custom framed the pieces, with professional backing and a wire hanging mechanism and shipped them back with a nice hand-written thank you note. It just makes you FEEL good, you know? It’s great for odd sized art or photos, or if you just want a really great looking, quality frame. Framebridge also includes picture hangers for every piece they frame, which makes this step a lot easier.

To measure where my hanger needs to go, I pull the wire up on the back of each frame:


#real life

And then, I measure that same distance down on my paper template still on the wall:


Once I have it marked, I poke a little hole with the nail (enough to make an impression in the wall), take the paper down and hammer in my picture hanger.



And the picture will be exactly where your template was–every time! Continue until your whole wall is hung.


In case you’re curious, for this wall, I used Framebridge’s Mercer Slim, Carson (twice), Irvine (with a white mat with a black core–favorite!), Georgetown, Irvine Slim, and their newest Heathrow canvas floater frame. So excited they now frame canvases!


I hope this gives you some tips for hanging your next gallery wall! And if you still need help, I guess I’ll be right over…with a roll of wrapping paper. ;)

What do you think?

  1. Eden says:

    Love the blue pattern cushions; where did you get them from?

  2. Amy says:

    Looks great — if you’re using picture hangers, isn’t the little hook lower than the nail, and if you measured from the nail isn’t everything hung a little south of where you planned? Just trying to figure out the logistics…

  3. stacie says:

    Where did you get your bed frame? :)

  4. Lauren M says:

    I’ve never heard of Framebridge. What a great service! Thanks!

  5. Abby says:

    It looks so good! I did a big one using the same method, except I start by laying out the frames on the floor below the wall to get the full visual with color and everything. Then I label the wrapping paper and finalize the spacing on the wall. So satisfying when they turn out great!

    ps, your kitchen reno is the most exciting thing ever!

  6. Nicole says:

    Your bedroom is super stylish with this wall. I have no idea that the method is so easy. Must-try!

  7. Lauren B says:

    This is how I do it too! I do pre mark the nail holes while I’m tracing though. Such an easy method. :)

  8. Evelina says:

    I use this exact same method!! It makes gallery wall-ing so easy.

  9. veronica says:

    silly question, what kind of nails are you using?
    I just sent out a print of mine to get framed using this service…I am waiting patiently and very excited.

  10. Lindsay says:

    I also use wrapping paper – the kind with the grid on the back works great. If you’re pictures aren’t too large, you can just roll out a long sheet of the wrapping paper, position everything (using the gridlines makes it easy), trace and then hang the whole sheet of paper up on the wall. I also measure where the nail holes should be and mark that on my paper, too.

  11. Brittany says:

    Have you heard Emily HEnderson’s prediction about gallery walls bring on the way out and leaning picture ledges taking their place? What are your thoughts?

    • Julia says:

      We have both in our house. In our living room we have a huge picture ledge and in here we have a gallery. I just believe in doing what you love and not worrying about trends. Plus, having a picture ledge in every room would get a little redundant. There’s room for it all.

  12. Tricia says:

    Brilliant! I’ve always laid out the pictures on the ground until I’m satisfied but can’t get it right when I transfer them to the wall. So I have many, many holes. I am in the middle of planning a big gallery wall and am going to use this awesome idea. Thank you for sharing!

  13. Gretchen Kelly says:

    Wallpaper=genius! I have a bad habit of just eyeing it.

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