How to Create a Beautiful and Personal Gallery Wall

Design by Emily Davis Interiors. Photography by Sarah Baker.

Lately, we’ve been looking for ways to refresh our rooms—including reconsidering our use of wall space. Since artwork is one of the most effective ways to add new life to a space, and groupings can instantly add interest to an area, we went in search of inspiration for creating beautiful and personal gallery walls—preferably out of art that we already have in our own homes. Enter Emily Davis, owner of the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Emily Davis Interiors, whose portfolio includes lovely examples of children’s artwork stylishly displayed in lucite frames in a kitchen and a chic sitting area adorned with rows of black-and-white family photos in crisp white frames. For those who might be looking for an at-home project with a personal touch, she shares her expert advice for executing a cohesive and thoughtfully curated gallery wall here.

Pick a palette. According to Davis, the first step in creating your gallery wall is to decide whether you want to make a big visual impact or if the area calls for a more subtle backdrop. If you are looking to make a statement, Davis says to opt for artwork with color. If you want to add interest in a more subtle way, she recommends something a bit more neutral, such as black-and-white prints.

Choose your pieces. “Art is perhaps the most personal item in one’s home, so the most important thing is always to choose art that speaks to you,” Davis says. Family photographs are a great way to personalize a space, she notes, but adds that it is important to mix in other “feel good” images, such as special places like previous homes, vacation spots, and wedding locations, to round out the selection. “These are all great ways to tell your story,” she shares. Another option that is perfect for when you’re going for a playful vibe is to frame children’s artwork, as seen in Davis’s project featured above.

Design by Emily Davis Interiors. Photography by Kacey Gilpin. 

Create cohesion. There are a variety of ways to achieve a cohesive look for your gallery wall, such as by selecting similar styles, sizes, color palettes, and frame materials. If you’re having images printed, Davis recommends selecting a uniform size to help create cohesion from frame to frame. If you’re working with original artwork of varying dimensions, she suggests creating uniformity by using the same size frame but having custom mats cut to accommodate each piece. The goal isn’t so much to make things look matchy-matchy as to establish a sense of harmony by embracing a common element.

Map it out. Davis’s rule of thumb when hanging artwork is, “Measure twice, nail once.” Plan how the pieces will sit on the wall prior to getting out the hammer and nails by using craft paper to make a template of each piece, taping the craft paper on the wall, and playing around with different layouts. “This will help ensure you like the spacing, and will help you avoid more nail holes than are necessary,” she says.

TSG Tip 363 from Emily Davis of Emily Davis Interiors in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Emily Davis Interiors is featured in The Scout Guide Tulsa.