Layout Tips for Your Gallery Display

Picture frames can be a great collection, especially if you use them to display your photos. The wall display can be a very personal way of incorporating photos of your family or favorite subjects into your home décor. The visual attraction of well-chosen photos, as well as the combination of the frames and how you use colors (in the frames and the photos) can instantly set the mood of the area.

A gallery wall display can be made with a variety of picture frames – round picture frames, oval picture frames and rectangular picture frames. It can also make use of different styles of picture frames – contemporary picture frames, antique picture frames or simple black picture frames. What is important is your choice of frames and images and how you set them up to provide an aesthetically pleasing presentation.

Here are some ideas and suggestions for a great gallery display:

  • Choose the area for your display and get its dimensions. The first thing you should do is determine where you want your display to go. The usual places will be in the foyer, the accent wall in the living room, dining room or den, the wall beside the staircase and the hallway. Measure the height and the width of the space available. This way, you know how much area you can work with and estimate how many frames you will need.
  • Choose the coverage of the display. With walls, the shape will usually follow a rectangular or square shape. However, for a photo display on the stairway, the area covered will be diagonal, following the direction of the stairs. From the top of the stairs, the first frame should go about 2 feet from the floor (or stair) and go down, maintaining the distance with the steps.
  • Select the theme. A hodgepodge of pictures from different areas, different designed frames and colors will take a lot of skill to pull off. Usually, putting up a display of pictures without planning it out and selecting the theme will create a garish and unattractive sight. A theme will serve to tie up the gallery and actually make your choices easier. Some common themes will be family and love, travel, landscapes or special occasions.
  • Select the look for the display. The next step will be to choose the color of the photos you will use: black and white, sepia, colored or black and white with occasional pops of color. The wall display should complement the look and theme of the room. Another choice will be the type and color of the frames. You can work for a combination of unity and diversity – using a common denominator (the frame shape, design or color) while adding an element of diversity to add some visual interest. Other choices you need to make will be the color of the matting. Take note that this may take a bit of experimenting on your part.
  • Decide on the layout of the display. Here are some of the more common layouts for gallery displays:
    • One geometric shape. With this, the frames are put together to create one simple geometric shape, such as one large rectangle or square.
    • Symmetrical layout. You can work to give the frames a symmetrical look, with a vertical line at the center and similar shaped frames on both sides. This works for frames of different shapes.
    • One line design. The centers or the edges of the frames can be aligned vertically or horizontally. You can also align the centers of the frame or the bottom edges.
    • Two rows or column design. For two rows of square and rectangular frames, you can align the bottom edges of the first row and the top edges of the second row.

Do not be limited to these layouts. This can serve as a guide but you can create your own. You can experiment by laying out the frames on the floor to get an idea of how they will look.

  • Plot the frames on the wall. A simple method to do this is to make paper cutouts that follow the shape of each of the frames. Then, you can tape these cutouts on the wall. This helps you know where to put the holes or hooks.
9th Jun 2015 Eric Morgan

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