"Tell Dwell: Gallery Wall"

It's time for another "Tell Dwell Tuesday" post.  A great opportunity for you to write me with a design challenge that I'll attempt to solve in a blog post.

Today's question comes from a reader in South Carolina. 

"I have been wanting to display photos on our walls.  I have seen the collages of numerous picture frames and have fallen in love with the idea. My living area has a good mix of modern, yet vintage pieces, and I want my frames to be gold or have gold accents to work with my eclectic decor. I went on a Goodwill hunt and found several gold frames in different sizes and I already own a rather large oval mirror. I've laid my frames out on the floor and I now I am stuck. Is there a technique to making the “gallery wall” work? Please help!"
SC Reader

Photo from reader
Photo from reader

It's a great question.  So great, in fact, that I received it from another reader just this weekend. 
I don't profess to be an expert, but here's what I'd recommend.

#1 - Commit

This is a look that can go very wrong if you're afraid to go all the way with it.  Now is not the time to be shy.  I've seen this work by utilizing the entire height of the wall.  Going from floor to ceiling can  make the layout seem more purposeful.

#2 - Don't be boxed in by symmetry.
Don't feel compelled to have everything aligned or the same size or even the same color for that matter.  While a symmetrical look can work, you run the risk of it looking a bit sterile.  Not to mention, your home should be a showcase of the things you love most and not all of them fit in an 8 X 10 matted frame. Just sayin'. 

I think that the best gallery walls are those that include personal art and artifacts that are meaningful to the homeowner despite their size or finish.

#3  Think outside the frame.
Yes, it's great to have a linking factor or common thread throughout your gallery, but add in a few unexpected elements.  Not all items need to fit in a frame.  Taxidermy, clocks, mirrors and even empty frames are all great additions to a fab gallery wall.

The bottom line is, know the rules, but don't be afraid to break them.  Balance, scale and symmetry are all important design principles to employ in a gallery wall, but at the end of the day your creation should be a reflection of you.

I hope this helps. 
Do you have a question you'd like to ask?  Email Dwell by Cheryl at dwellbycheryl@yahoo.com and I'll do my best to feature it on a blog post.  Don't forget, I love your comments.  Simply click the words Click Here to Join the Conversation just below this post. Need help? Read this.

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