Unity and Diversity in a Gallery Display

Displaying multiple photos on a wall takes some planning and a dash of artistic flair. You do not simply wing it - placing photos on their own frames and then hanging them as you go. For one, you will be left with a wall with a lot of holes and the overall look may not be as aesthetically effective and pleasant as you expect.

With a gallery display, you need to create a balance between unity and diversity. The overall look should look unified and uncluttered, but it should also have some aspect of diversity to add some spark and visual interest to the display.

Elements to unify your display

Here are some things you can implement to tie your display together to achieve a clean and organized look:

  • Match your picture frames with your room. Your picture frames of choice should complement the overall interior design of the room. A mismatch of style between the furniture and the picture frames will not promote a sense of harmony. Here are some styles and the suggested frames that match them:
    • Classic and traditional. This mainly involves the use of intricate wood furniture and featuring intricate wood molding. Fabrics that match this would be sheer white or flower prints. The best frames to match this style would be antique picture frames in white as well as gold or silver leaf.
    • Rustic. This also uses a lot of wood elements in the furniture and décor. But this uses the natural grain and color of the wood. When choosing picture frames for this kind of room, also use picture frames with wood finishing.
    • Shabby chic. This exudes a relaxed and comfy atmosphere and features the use of white or pastel fabrics, as well as flowery prints. With this room, use vintage picture frames with a distressed or white finish.
    • Industrial. This is a very modern, no-nonsense and utilitarian style with bared piping, industrial walls and floors and chrome and metal fixtures. A good choice of picture frames would be metallic silver picture frames with simple lines.
    • Modern minimalist. The main color for this style would be black, accented by a powerful color such as red or orange. The picture frames that will be suitable for this would be ones with simple lines and shiny black finish.
  • Use picture frames with similar shapes or material. The easiest would be square and rectangle frames but the same principle goes for oval picture frames. You can also use picture frames that use the same material – wood, bamboo or metal. This point in similarity will serve as a unifying point for the display.
  • Look for a theme. The photos can feature modern black and white shots, landscapes or portraits or can feature shots of similar subjects. The same principle works for subjects that cover a similar era or genre. For instance, putting together a whimsical watercolor with a modern black and white photo will generally not work. The important thing is that they cover a common theme to avoid a cluttered look.
  • Work on your layout. When planning which frame goes in which section of the display, keep in mind that you can arrange it in such a way that either the overall look is balanced – either the edges or the centers of the frames are aligned or the frames are placed in such a way that no section looks “heavier” than the other. For instance, a display that features a large frame at the center and smaller frames around it looks better than a display that has the large frame in one side and the smaller frames on the other side.

Insert a little diversity

Even as there is a certain level of unity to a display, you also need to add something different to keep your display from looking too stiff or boring.

  • Add pops of color. In a display that features black and white photos, insert a photo that has a bright color in it. You can do the same with the frames. If you have frames that use the same shape and material (say rectangular frames with wood finish), introduce a few differently colored frames. In the same way, if you plan on using the same colors and material, think about adding a few frames in a different shape. Inserting some diversity in the uniformity you present adds personality and vitality to the display.
  • Use other decorative elements. This breaks the monotony of the photo display and adds more visual interest. Some decorative elements include oversized monograms (preferably of the family’s last name), a framed mirror or a quotation written on a chalkboard.
  • Use risers to vary height. Different heights will give the display a sense of texture. 
14th Jun 2016 Eric Morgan

Recent Posts