Gallery walls are a great way of creating a feature out of one of the walls in your home. However, framing photos and pictures can be difficult – and hanging them neatly can be even more challenging! Here are our handy tips and tricks to hanging a gallery wall, and how to look after the art in your home.


How to hang a gallery wall

Paint or decorate your wall

Is the wall the colour you'd like it to be? Remember, it's a lot easier to paint a wall before it's got picture hooks all over it. Choose your paint colour and go for it.

Fan of wallpaper? Here are our suggestions of the best wallpaper designs.

If you're using a period wall, make good use of the space inside the borders of panelling by showing off your prints. Hang them simply to keep the lines clean. Magnetic frames offer an inexpensive route to displaying smaller-scale travel posters with ease.

Posters of different places around the world are hung up on the wall
Wall painted in ‘Pure Brilliant White’ matt emulsion, £13.99 per 2.5l, Dulux. ‘Austria Österreich’ 1960s poster, £350; ‘LÖtschberg’ 1937 poster, £650; ‘Visitez la France Lakes of Massif Central’ 1954 poster, £375, all Antikbar. Magnetic print frames, £22 each, Moxon. Faux potted areca palm, £239, Rockett St George. ‘Bertoia’ gold chair, £2,310, Aram. On chair: ‘Paris’ needlepoint cushion, £98, Jonathan Adler; notebook, from a selection, Organise Us. ‘Platner’ side table, £1,174, Aram. On table: ‘Berlingot’ wine tumbler, £75, The Conran Shop; paperweight, £28, Graham & Green; ‘Whitefriars Bark’ amethyst vase, £120, Robinson Antiques at Alfies Antique Market; ‘Malachite Twist’ vase, £128; ‘Turquoise Pop Decanter’ lid, £198, both Jonathan Adler.

Choose the art for your gallery wall and consider colour palettes

For a truly Instagram-worthy display, we recommend laying artworks on the floor to find a composition that feels balanced and connected before taking a hammer to the wall. Try starting with a larger painting at the centre of your grouping, and surrounding with complementary works, for a gallery that feels unique and in-tune with your home.

Consider both the colour scheme of the room and of the other artworks featured on the wall. Do they all work together?

Also, consider the design of the space. A gallery wall usually requires quite a minimalist aesthetic, because of its busy, eye-catching nature.

If you want to make a real statement, go bold with a gallery wall of iconic film posters. Arrange closely together for maximum visual impact, but use simple black frames to tie the different designs together.

A wall of iconic film posters behind a curved yellow sofa
Wall painted in ‘Indian White’ matt emulsion, £24.49 per 2.5l, Dulux. Posters (clockwise from top left): ‘Blow Up’, £1,750, The Reel Poster Gallery; ‘The Fox’, £100, Orson & Welles; ‘Solaris’, £1,600, Orson & Welles; ‘The Detective’ poster and frame, £450; ‘Cabaret’, £350; ‘Goldfinger’, £2,250, all The Reel Poster Gallery; ‘The Illustrated Man Tattoo’, £275, Antikbar. Large frames, from a selection at Antikbar. Small frames, from £38 each, John Lewis. ‘Levantine’ fuchsia rug, £5,700, Bazaar Velvet. American ‘Crab Claw’ chair, £1,650, The Old Cinema. On chair: ‘Mod Model’ cushion, £165, Jonathan Adler. ‘Jiya’ side table, £225, Graham & Green. On table: faux fern in a conch shell, £49, Bloom; small horn sculpture, £78; ‘Globo’ box, £198, both Jonathan Adler. ‘Tiffany’ sofa, £3,250, Graham & Green. On sofa: ‘Zodiac’ cushions, £98 each; ‘Mod Love’ cushion, £175; ‘Heart’ cushion, £165, all Jonathan Adler; books, from a selection at Rennies Seaside Modern. Faux bird of paradise, £299; faux potted areca palm, £239, both Rockett St George. Tony Curtis cut-out, £180, Lassco. Faux grass, £99, Bloom.

A home print studio is a great place to play with decorating ideas using posters and prints. Cover a wall with vintage-style paper featuring theatre and art shows – you can then contrast this with framed original pieces.

More like this
Part of a wall is filled with theatre art in this room
Walls painted in ‘Panel White’ matt emulsion, £24.49 per 2.5l, Dulux. Walls papered in ‘The Show Must Go On’, from £65 per sq m, Surface View. Framed Joan Miro poster ‘Bank Street, New York’ for Atelier Mourlot, £452, King & McGaw. ‘Mila’ wall light, £115, Graham & Green. Reclaimed ping pong table, £480, Elemental. On table: Screens and squeegees, from a selection at Hunt the Moon; books, from a selection at Rennies Seaside Modern; 20 Iconic Film Posters by Saul Bass, £19.95, Rockett St George. Plan chest, £695, Andrew Bewick Antiques. On chest: ‘Pencil sharpener’ desk tidy, from £17, The Letteroom; pens and brushes, find similar at John Lewis; faux pilea plant, £39, Bloom; cinema-style message board, £45, Rockett St George; postcards, from £1 each, Rennies Seaside Modern; books, £18 each, Retrouvius; alphabet-shaped books, £17.95 each, The Letteroom; multicoloured ‘Splatter’ bowl, £49; multicoloured ‘Splatter’ serving platter, £65, both The Conran Shop. ‘The Open Air Sculpture Exhibition’ Henry Moore 1948 framed poster, £1,500, Rennies Seaside Modern. ‘Mill’ bin, £120, Elemental. ‘Royal College of Art Sketch Club’ 1928 poster, £1,750, Antikbar. Stapler and inks, from a selection at Hunt the Moon. ‘Space Lounge’ chair, £600, Elemental. On chair: Picasso cushion cover ‘Portrait De Dora Maar’, £90, The Conran Shop.

Alternatives to gallery walls

Lean pictures against walls

So as not to damage walls covered in precious wallpaper and panelling, or for those living in rented accommodation, leaning pictures against walls or atop dressers and cabinets creates a relaxed feel. It’s best to pick a sturdy frame to avoid any warping, and prints can be rearranged whenever a room needs refreshing.

Create a mural

We all dream of owning a dramatic Old Master or a sensual Renaissance portrait (anyone got £100m they could lend us?). But if you don’t fancy flashing the cash at Christie’s, oversized wall murals are an ingenious way to introduce works by the world’s most renowned artists into your home. From Picasso and Rossetti, to Constable and Turner, murals are a daring alternative to paint or wallpaper. Most come in manageable strips for easy application and, for less confident DIY-ers, some are even available with a handy sticky back. Style with pared-back furniture for a look that’s chic and romantic.

Use picture shelves

If you love to rearrange your collection of artworks, picture shelves are a great solution. This picture ledge from Ikea has been a hit with interiors bloggers, plus it has a special groove to keep prints at the perfect angle. We’ll take three, please!

Frame your art

First of all, you have to frame your art. You'll have to consider whether you're wanting to buy a pre-made frame, get a frame commissioned and fitted by a framer or buy a suitably sized antique frame. Check out our guide to learn how to frame art for your home.

Use your antique picture frames! These can be an artwork in themselves, so check out our guide to how to create a display using antique picture frames.

For a look that suggests informal elegance, why not do away with frames altogether and display artwork the natural way? Try hanging vintage wall charts from wooden skirt hangers or hooks for an industrial feel, or create a lively office space by sticking up posters and cards with colourful Japanese washi tape. Fully customisable and budgetfriendly, these techniques mean you can play around with combinations to find an arrangement that perfectly matches your space.

Consider the lighting

If your pictures are going to be in direct sunlight, they might get damaged by the sun. Placing them in UV-protected glass can help prevent damage. If you don't have suitable frames, avoid creating your gallery wall in direct sunlight.

Check out our guide on how to light your artwork at home.

Measure and make markings on the wall for your art

To make sure that each picture is hung correctly, measure the dimensions of the wall and the picture frames to ensure that you have designed the space suitably and the pictures are hung evenly.

Be creative with your layout

Traditionally, pictures are hung at eye level. A gallery wall gives you more scope to be creative and hang pictures in an innovative design.

Maybe try a different space... the wall space alongside a staircase is often forgotten, and it’s prime for displaying artworks. Stick to monochrome prints and frames for a dramatic feel, or up the saturation with clashing tones and patterns. Try staggering frames in a gentle incline for maximum effect, and break up any similar works with quirky curios, wall hangings, ceramics or trailing plants. If you’re feeling particularly bold, why not paint your steps or balustrade in a contrasting colour? Or pick a stair carpet runner in a complementary shade to complete the look.

Check what type of hanging your pictures require

A picture or photo frame usually requires either a piece of wire, D ring or a hanger to be hung on a wall. Check this before you start hammering hooks or nails into the wall. If your frame lacks a hanging device and you're struggling to fit one, maybe try command strips. They can be applied directly onto the wall.

Think of alternative hanging strategies

You might even not want to hang pictures on the wall at all. Sometimes resting pictures against surfaces can look just as effective.

Lean your framed posters on a sideboard for a laid-back look. You can secure them in place with accessories – a stack of books makes a good prop. Strong, graphic designs from the 1930s by artists such as Cassandre are among the most iconic, and the large scale gives a bedroom a modern edge.

Framed posters leaning against a wall on top of a sideboard
Wall painted in ‘Indian White’ matt emulsion, £24.49 per 2.5l, Dulux. Coffee table, £495, The Old Cinema. On table: faux papyrus plant, £99, Bloom. 1970s sideboard, £395, The Old Cinema. On sideboard: ‘Western Africa Chargeurs Reunis Cruises’ 1929 poster, £1,100; ‘Nord Express’ by Cassandre 1980 poster, £450, both Antikbar; frames, from a selection at Antikbar; ‘Parrot fish’ decanter, £240, The Conran Shop; books, from a selection at Rennies Seaside Modern; sunglasses and shell, stylist’s own; metal suitcase, £85, The Old Cinema; vintage Phillips lamp, £240, The Old Cinema; ‘Block’ clock, £55, The Conran Shop; ‘Charade’ studded vase, £88, Jonathan Adler. ‘Makrana 1’ rug, £3,450, Bazaar Velvet.

Let your travel posters take centre stage by displaying them, framed, on a vintage easel. Finish the look with stacked suitcases and coastal-striped bed linen.

One travel poster hangs on a wall. The other is displayed in a vintage easel
Walls painted in ‘Indian White’ emulsion, £24.49 per 2.5l, Dulux. ‘Regatta of the Sun French Riviera’ 1950s poster, £950, Antikbar. Frame, £45, John Lewis. Leather suitcases, from £150 each; metal suitcase, £85, all The Old Cinema. Alpaca throws, £295 each, Jonathan Adler. On mantelpiece: multicoloured tall decanter, £195, The Conran Shop; ‘Whitefriars Bark’ ruby vase, £165; ‘Whitefriars Bark’ tangerine vase, £120, both Robinson Antiques at Alfies Antique Market; photo frame, £11.95, Graham & Green; compass paperweight and box, £49.95, The Letteroom; multicoloured midi decanter, £160, The Conran Shop; ‘Murano Sommerso’ teardrop vase, £275, Robinson Antiques at Alfies Antique Market. Retro chair, £128, The Old Cinema. On chair: ‘KNS’ cushion, £68, Andrew Bewick Antiques; grey tote, £65, The Conran Shop. Easel, £594, Retrouvius. On easel: 1950s poster, £850, Rennies Seaside Modern. ‘Makrana 1’ rug, £3,450, Bazaar Velvet. ‘Coastal Stripe’ duvet cover, £70; ‘Charcoal’ throw, £42, both Secret Linen Store.

Hammer in your nails or command strips

Don't assume that one nail or command strip will be enough. Heavier frames and pieces of art might require more support. Check weight requirements on command strips before hanging anything too heavy up.

Hang your art to finish the gallery wall

Use a spirit level when you're hanging your pictures to ensure even lines.

Clean your picture frames regularly

Look after your picture frames. They can get dirty and dusty, which might cause the gilding or paint to break down. Check out our guide to how to clean your antique picture frames.

Like a feature wall but don't fancy all those frames? Have a look at our round-up of the best feature wall ideas.

Photographs: Katya De Grunwald
Styling: Ali Bradshaw


All prices and product names correct at time of publication.