a must-see gallery wall makeover
Interior designer Laura Weatherbee on building the perfect gallery wall.
Published Jun 10, 2015 9:00 AM
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My sister Lisa had been living in her apartment for over 7 years when she decided she needed a little design refresh. She didn’t want to go crazy with a major overhaul, so I suggested a 4 step mini-makeover to upgrade her look.
This is what the space looked like when my sister moved in years ago. It’s not bad – the colors are fresh and the nightstands are in good shape – but it’s a little dated. We can definitely do better. The pictures in the gallery wall are too small to see, and the arrangement feels cluttered. The lamp shades and headboard are ok, but a little boring – we just went with the cheapest options at the time. Some bigger artwork and a few key updates will give this room the design boost it needs to feel fresh and new.
We started by upgrading the boring headboard to a luxurious tufted, wingback headboard. The grey linen complements the light blue walls beautifully, and the upholstery is thick and comfy. We kept her bedside lamps, but gave them a fresh new look with custom DIY ombre shades.
There was already a gallery wall in the room, but the frames were much too small and the pictures were hard to see. To give this gallery a boost, we decided to get larger frames so that the artwork could really shine. Although we used a variety of frame sizes, the styles are somewhat similar giving a clean, crisp, and polished look. I wanted the arrangement to feel dense and loosely aligned, but not too perfect. There are some beautiful pops of color, and a nice balance of white space.
Arranging a gallery wall is a little bit like playing Tetris. There are many different ways to fit the pieces together, and there’s no one “right” answer. You could just place things totally randomly, but it helps if there is some order to the arrangement. It makes me happy when everything lines up neatly. For this layout I started with imaginary grid lines centered directly over the bed – making sure each quadrant felt balanced, with a roughly equal amount of frames. I kept the spacing between each frame consistent at 3″. While the central images are neatly aligned, the arrangement gets a little looser towards the sides. You just have to play around and see what works best. I stuck to 3 colors for the frames – white, black, and spray painted gold.
Lisa asked for prints from her photographer friends to fill the frames, but you can get creative and make it your own. If you are on a tight budget, try framing a piece of wrapping paper or a beautiful swatch of fabric to add some color and texture. Or an inexpensive wall calendar makes for a quick and easy collection of images to display.
The final step in this bedroom makeover was to give the nightstands a little style refresh. Accessories are often overlooked, but these are the finishing touches that bring warmth and personality to your space. Shopping at a local thrift store or flea market is a great way to find really unique pieces without spending a fortune. We completed this entire makeover for under $800. I hope you feel inspired to get started on your own mini-makeover today!