Living room gallery wall ideas – 10 ways interior designers add personality and charm

Living room gallery wall ideas create fabulously quirky spaces that feel unique to you. Here's how the experts get them right

Colorful living room with gallery wall
(Image credit: Howark Design)

What we love most about living room gallery wall ideas is how easy it is to curate something that feels so unique to you and your space. Despite the fact there are thousands of paints to choose from and wallpaper choice seems endless, you're never going to get wall decor that's as personal as a gallery wall. 

Now the classic image that comes to mind when you think gallery wall is prints right? Neatly framed prints fitting together to create, well, a gallery. And that's a look we love and there's plenty of advice here on recreating that fail-safe style. But gallery walls can be created using a myriad of things – plates, hats, baskets, chopping boards – they can add so much texture, personality, color, and pattern to a room, especially if you think slightly outside the box.

So we've asked designers to share their favorite living room wall decor ideas to inspire you to try something a bit different.

1. Mix and match styles for a look that never dates

living room with velvet green sofa and gallery wall

(Image credit: Tom Fallon)

What we love about a gallery wall is how much character and personality they can bring to any room, and how easily you can switch them up as your space and taste change. If you want to curate a living room gallery wall that has longevity opt for a mix of styles – both in the prints and in the choice of frames. Not only is this blending of styles, old and new, an interior design trend, it'll ensure your display doesn't date and is adaptable when you make changes in your space.

'A gallery wall allows the client's personality to shine through, especially after a renovation or any extensive works in the house that all feels new.' explains designer Anthi Grapsa.

'It's a wall in the house that can evolve and change with taste/time. Mix and matching different styles of art and frames works well, on this instance on a neutral wall but with a beautiful colored sofa underneath to frame it.'

2. Bring in objets to add texture 

Rustic white living room with white sofa and gallery wall

(Image credit: Davide Lovati)

Living room gallery walls don't have to be solely about prints, mixing in objet that are more three-dimensional will give the display more depth and interest. Crockery, planters, antique finds, souvenirs, and even light fixtures can all work as part of an elegant living room wall. Bringing in a touch of the unexpected prevents too many clean lines within your gallery wall, you'll create interesting shapes and layouts that will draw the eye far more than a uniform design. 

'When working with a smaller space, using different shaped frames such as circles or adding in mirrors can add a point of interest. Frames that are completely glass can allow the use of dried flowers, invitations or more personal objects to be framed. We have also found that beautiful faux planters that can be hung bring life to a smaller or darker space with less natural light.' suggests Poppy Peace, Creative Director at Milc Interiors.

3. Plan before you hang

Blue living room designed by Elizabeth Hay

(Image credit: Elizabeth Hay)

Before you start hammering holes into your wall, have a really clear plan of how you want your living room gallery wall to be laid out. Consider how the prints and pieces look together, how the colors and sizes work, and if you opt for different styles of frame how they all sit together too. 

The gallery wall in this blue living room designed by Elizabeth Day is the perfect example of a layout that always works. You have the clear focal point with the larger print and that then becomes a guideline for where the smaller prints should sit below. This approach stops the gallery wall from look too... fussy. It's eclectic without being overly cluttered.

'I like a mixture of art from contemporary to traditional and a mixture of mediums and materials.' explains Elizabeth. 'A variety of sizes is also important and obviously, the final hang is almost the most important aspect of all as you need to get the balance and spacing right.  I always lay out all of the pictures on the floor first and work out what pieces work well next to each other and what arrangement they look best in before making the final decision.'

Pink living room with wallpaper and gallery wall

(Image credit: Divine Savages)

We love this bold look by Divine Savages, it's that perfect balance between being chic and just a little bit mad. But what the gallery wall cleverly helps to do here is break up the bold pattern of the living room wallpaper, but still adds lots of interest and contrasting shapes to the blousy floral print. The lines of the gallery wall give the eye somewhere to focus in this bold space whilst still working with the maximalist vibe.

'Wrapping a room in bold, oversized pattern can be daunting for some. We suggest breaking up the pattern a little by choosing a closely matched paint color for the ceiling, or adding a contemporary take on a gallery wall.' suggests Jamie Watkins, co-Founder Divine Savages. 'We love this cozy floral den from @probablythis featuring our Bloomin’ Marvellous wallpaper in ‘Blush Green’ where they have effortlessly done just that.'

5. Ensure prints stand out against a darker background

living room with dark wall and prints

(Image credit: Gross & Daley)

The best way to make a living room gallery wall really pop is to contrast it with a dark-hued wall. In this open plan living room designed by Glen Gissler, the deep warm grey wall was used to create a harmonious feel between the kitchen and the living area as it runs between the two. 

'We built a floating wall for a large TV on the living room side, and more cabinets and counters in the Kitchen. The Rorschach Test prints continue on the wall from the kitchen to the living room.' explains Glen. 

In such a large, multifunctional space a gallery on a blank wall would just get lost, however, the contrast between grey and white turns it into a real focal point in the room.

'The end wall was painted darker than the rest of the room to both have the wall recede in the room, and to further amplify the artwork on white paper. This is a tactic that we use when the artwork is light in color.' says Glen. 'In contrast to the ‘gallery walls’ we so often see today, we installed these works in a regular grid, an almost architectural approach, as opposed to the often seen more chaotic approach.'

Small two bedroom London apartment with colorful vintage decor

(Image credit: Yellow London)

Even the most eclectic of gallery walls needs some planning. In this pink living room designed by Yellow London the mismatch of prints seems effortless, but you can see the thought behind it. The prints aren't taken all the way to the ceiling, as this is a small room that would overwhelm the space. The larger prints are kept at eye level so there's not too much fuss going on there and there are just enough smaller prints above to create that unruly feel without going overboard. It all feels to scale with the wall and the room. 

'Artwork can really bring a living room to life - I would say that the art can really be of any media and color, be it photography, oil, watercolor etc. but the key consideration is the size, making sure the scale of the artwork suits the room and is not too small or large.' explains interior designer Fiona Barratt.  

'The style and material of the frame is also a very important consideration. I tend to lean towards bold frames and do the same with mirrors, the bolder, the better!'

7. Run with a theme

Colorful living room with gallery wall

(Image credit: Howark Design)

Choosing a theme, whether that be through the type of prints, the colors or the style of frames, is a sure-fire way to ensure your gallery wall feels cohesive. It can also help set the vibe of a living room, you could opt for something fun and playful if it's more of a family space or use prints all from the same artist or photographer in a more formal setting.

In this family room designed by Howark Design the colorful vintage prints fit the mood perfectly and subtly link the space with the adjoining kitchen. 'We designed this cozy, family room to reflect our client's love of bold color, pattern, and texture. With young children, they wanted it to be a fun, informal space for the whole family to enjoy. The 'food and drink' gallery wall worked perfectly on a large neutral wall, alongside bright furnishings and with close proximity to the kitchen diner.' explains Saskia Howard, Creative Director at Howark Design.

8. Choose a single piece as the focus

Dark blue living room with matching dark blue sofa

(Image credit: Little Greene)

If you are going for a less formal gallery wall, so anything that doesn't feel too symmetry or grid-like, you'll want to give the eye some guidance, something to focus on rather than just a wall filled with prints. The easiest way to do this is to pick one print or piece that's the clear focal point. Whether it be a print that's larger, or bolder, or in a standout frame, something that's going to obviously draw the eye. 

Take notes from this navy living room. The striking abstract print sits front and center, grounding the smaller prints that float around it. The layout feels more polished and uniform and again, it prevents the gallery wall from looking too busy.

9. Invest in good framing to elevate any print

Small living room with gallery wall

(Image credit: James Merrell)

As a lot of these living room gallery walls have proved, you can pretty much throw anything you can hang on a wall and call it a gallery, but there's one thing that can make the difference between a gallery wall that looks haphazard and one that looks purposeful and elegant – framing.

'The key is good framing.' says Andrew Griffiths, founder of A New Day. 'You can elevate a postcard or low-cost piece of art with wonderful framing, but you can also really detract from beautiful artwork with the wrong frame. So invest in doing it properly - think about the use of color or materials that really complement what's being framed rather than defaulting to a black, white or wood finish. Then you need to curate the right mix of shapes and sizes, this is an art rather than a science though!'

10. Think outside the box

gallery wall ideas

(Image credit: Photography by Claire Esparros)

How cute is this idea? Perfect if you like a modern rustic living room and want to bring in some natural textures. What we love about this look too is that you don't have to buy anything new, shop your own kitchen for chopping boards or keep an eye out for second-hand beauties on online marketplaces. Look out for different shapes, sizes, textures, and washes. You could even paint the boards for a bolder look. And in terms of hanging them to the wall, you can get some really strong velcro hanging strips that should do the job. 

Let a look this unique be the focus by keeping the rest of the room neutral with greys, creams, whites, and beiges. 

'It does depend on the space and size of the room.  Often above the sofa feels like the right place – wherever you want the focal point of the room to be.' explains Elizabeth Day. We'd recommend go with the wall that draws your focus as you walk into the room. Avoid the wall with the TV (unless you want to make it part of the design) as you probably want to detract from the tech and a gallery wall can help do just that. 

'We use one of the same principles with designing a gallery wall as we do with designing a room.' explains designer Lisa Le Duc. 'We start with the foundational pieces. The foundation of a successful gallery wall is the larger pieces that are going to ground the arrangement. If an arrangement is filled with too many small pieces it starts to feel chaotic. We like to include 2-3 large pieces depending on the size of your arrangement.'

'If you prefer more of an eclectic look then I would recommend choosing your own photos to frame in different sized frames from the same range. This can then be pieced together to look like a jigsaw and can be as large or small as you choose. If you’re doing this style then always use an odd number of pictures and lay out your pattern on the floor to make sure you’re happy with it before hanging on the wall.' explains gallery owner Dawn Titherington.

'For smaller pieces of art in a jigsaw formation use Command Strips (or something similar) which mean that they can be taken off the wall without leaving any marks in case one isn’t in the right place. Larger pieces of art in a simple gallery wall formation can be hung using a spirit level and pencil marks to ensure they’re evenly spaced at the same height.'

Hebe Hatton

Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.