In August, Nici Ruffin was ready for new beginnings. She put what she could fit into her car and headed west. Her move to a new job in Philadelphia caused her to leave her friends and family behind. So when she started furnishing her new apartment, she knew she wanted to hang a lot of pictures of all the people she loved and missed back at home. After perusing the internet, she embarked on a journey to DIY her own wall of pictures.
“I wanted to see all my pieces from home, since I’m so far from Cincinnati,” she said.
To help Ruffin and all the other DIYers trying to choose the right frames, images and arrangements for a gallery wall, we turned to Scott Thomas. He’s an interior designer who has worked with valuable artwork and priceless photos for 20 years, so he’s got a trick or two up his sleeves when it comes to hanging framed collages.
His tips will help you get started on the tricky task of creating your own picture gallery. Just make sure to have fun with it, and add your own style. Ruffin does!
Create a Plan for Your Wall of Pictures
Don’t make a rookie mistake by hanging your artwork without first creating a plan, advises Thomas.
Ruffin had the right instincts when she laid out her own photo collages and fun art to get an idea of which arrangement looked best.
“I organized it on the floor, like a blueprint,” she said.
She made sure to plan for some wall space between frames to break up the collages, something Thomas said is crucial. “I think the eyeball needs resting room. You can only handle so much color, vibrancy and movement.”
Make Sure Your Gallery Wall is Cohesive
It’s important that your photo or art gallery pieces work well together as one unit and that they match the other items in your home.
“You want everything to sing,” Thomas said.
Ruffin had all her photos printed in black and white, and she spray-painted discount-store frames gold to match everything else in her apartment and to tie the wall art together.
Thomas also recommends using unique items in your collage. Whether it’s pictures, handmade art or, if you’re lucky like many of his clients, original paintings.
“If you have no money, go to a flea market and find cool things that are different,” he said.
Take Care When Hanging Pictures and Art
The last thing you want – especially if you’re renting – is a bunch of holes in your wall, so make sure you plan ahead and hang everything with care so there aren’t extra dents left by mistakes along the way.
For example Ruffin plans to use painter’s tape to map out the spaces for her pictures on the wall at the top of her staircase. That way she can get a rough idea of what the space will look like when she’s done, and she’ll be less likely to miss her mark when nailing holes.
“You use newspaper and cut out the size of the frame, and use painter’s tape to put it on the wall,” she said.
Thomas recommends using the entire wall space when hanging photo arrangements, and he suggests starting with the frames in the center of the space before working your way to hanging frames at the edges.
“I’m always trying to create impact,” Thomas said. “Use your judgment to determine how to create the biggest impact.”
Photos courtesy of Scott Thomas and Nici Ruffin.