Gallery walls (or salon walls, if you prefer), are a widely popular way of filling a blank wall, and can also take the pressure off if you don't want to commit to a large piece of art. They're a forgiving form of displaying art: since the viewer's attention is diffused around several pieces, it's possible to display a variety of prints, photographs, posters, and even your children's art. Plates, small sculptures and other 3D objects that can be fixed to a wall can lend depth and texture. But how to go about it? Hanging multiple pictures is a complex art, after all.
“The grouping of pictures can be done symmetrically or asymmetrically,” says historic interiors specialist Edward Bulmer, “although the latter feels more comfortable if the weight of pictures is roughly balanced either side of the centre line. If I’m hanging watercolours or prints in a group, I mark out the wall size on the floor with two tape measures and arrange the pictures before hanging.” “It’s generally sensible to hang your largest picture first and work around it,” recommends Freddie de Rougemont, a specialist in the Old Masters Group at Christie’s London. Visualise how you want the completed wall to look and play around with a few arrangements laid out on the floor before you start to make any holes in the wall."
If you have a set of similar pictures all of the same size, you may want to hang them in a perfect grid, but otherwise a looser and more informal arrangement is the way to go. “I like an undulating line to the tops of the frames, rather than lining up the tops (or the bottoms),” says Edward. Rita Konig agrees, advising that you should always “break a line: I like the edges to be castellated (for want of a better word) rather than a neat frame around a jigsaw puzzle. This is much more forgiving.” When it comes to the gaps between pictures, don't let them become too regular. “Watch out for tramlines,” says Rita. “You don't want a map of Manhattan appearing on your walls, so just nudge a picture left or right to stop long avenues appearing. Finally, I often hang things in pairs - for example two matching pictures side by side or two pictures that are not connected, but that look good together one above the other.”
In need of inspiration? We've gathered together some of our favourite gallery walls from the archive–all you need to do is start filling yours.