Expert tips for creating a happy gallery wall without sacrificing style

A chic gallery wall doesn't need to lack personality – this is how to spark joy in the most fashionable way possible

Expert gallery wall tips, art wall in a kitchen
(Image credit: Future / Paul Raeside)

Creating a gallery wall that is both stylish and filled with personality can often feel tricky. There is a fine line between celebrating the things you love whilst preserving your chic home decor – however, this Happy Homes Week, you longer need to choose between the two. Yes, it is more than possible to have a gallery wall filled with personal artifacts which suit the style of your home – and these experts show us how it's possible

Spend time choosing a frame 

As Alice Phillimore, Lead Curator at Artfinder, suggests, our frames are almost as important as the images they hold inside. We should always give frames careful consideration; however, this is especially true in the case of a more personal gallery, when frames largely contribute to the overall chicness of your wall.

'Do you want the frames to blend into the wall, or do you want them to stand out? Opting for frames of the same shape and color, for example, black, gold, and wooden rectangle-shaped frames, are best for a contemporary look and can be soothing to the eye,' says Alice.  

Expert gallery wall tips, art wall in a living room

(Image credit: Future / Paul Massey)

'On the other hand, if you're looking to create a more vintage feel, go for frames of all sizes, shapes, and colors, including ornate and patterned options, for a nostalgic vibe,' she adds.

Furthermore, Ocki Magil, Founder of the London-based gallery Blue Shop Cottage, suggests 'framing black and white photographs with the expertise of your local framer, who will create a 'smart window mount'. 

'Hanging a set of four in a square is a super smart way to approach family photographs, so your friends can sit amongst your art collection,' Ocki adds. 

Carefully curate each frame's placement  

Expert gallery wall tips

(Image credit: Desenio)

'When designing a gallery wall with meaningful photographs, it can be a good idea to pick out your favorites and group by themes, for example' family,' 'memorable places', 'happy events' or a mix that means something to you,' shares Alice, in her discussion of placement. 

'If you're looking to create a random arrangement, try sticking with an odd number of photographs for an organic look, or even numbers for rows or regimented groups of the same size.'

Alice then offered her insider tip, reminding us to keep measurements in mind and take photos of each combination to remember which design looks best.

'After you've picked out your images and frames, measure your wall space and lay your collection on the floor, moving the photographs around if anything jumps out as being out of place.  Remember to take a photo of your possible combinations before hanging them up, so you don't forget which layout is best,' she shares. 

Look for inventive ways to showcase your individuality 

Expert gallery wall tips, art wall in a kitchen

(Image credit: Future / Paul Raeside)

As Ocki suggests, the best way to create joy in your home is through a tribute to the people and places you love the most, but when these memories look good and do good, it's only going to make your home even happier. 

'Always buy original works of art from your friends - this is a great way to support them and also to invest in their future,' she adds.

'Being surrounded by all your friends and their beautiful work gives a home a feeling of love and support. Whether you invest in a screenprint or a scribble on a napkin – invest in artists and help them grow. I particularly love to frame friends handwritten notes, envelopes, and postcards.'

Expert gallery wall tips

(Image credit: Ocki Magill / Blue Shop Cottage)

The curator continues, encouraging us to look towards postcards from our' favorite places' for unique additions to a personal gallery wall

I have a tin of postcards from my favorite restaurant and have incorporated them into my walls. It's all about memories and celebrating the places and people we love most. My personal favorites are images of Peggy Guggenheim, Barbara Hepworth, and Shakespeare and Co bookshop in Paris.'

If you need us, we'll be ordering a bulk of vintage postcards until further notice.

Megan Slack

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team.

Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US whilst studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site.

Megan currently lives in London, where she relocated from her hometown in Yorkshire. In her home, she experiments with interior design trends and draws inspiration from the home decor ideas she observes in her everyday work life. Her favorite pieces include her antique typewriter and her expansive collection of houseplants. When she isn’t writing, she is browsing London’s coffee shops and bookstores to add to her ever-growing library, taking over the open shelving in her apartment.