Home Design Hotline Learn with Spacejoy: How to display small pieces of art in the living room without making the space too overwhelmed?

Learn with Spacejoy: How to display small pieces of art in the living room without making the space too overwhelmed?

by Namitha Gopal

Welcome to our daily dose of design advice, where we take your questions to our talented team of designers.  Need help organizing? Creating a gallery wall? How about making a small space functional? We have you covered on all avenues. Check back daily for fresh advice from our expert team. 

Dear Spacejoy

For years, I have admired Instagram posts of the perfect gallery walls. Whether perfectly symmetric or more staggered set ups, I’ve adored them from afar. I’m nervous to try and execute this idea in my own space. I have a lot of family photos, pieces from travel and artwork that I’d love to display. How can I display these pieces of art in my living room without overwhelming the space?

The ‘Gram Made Me Want It,


Dear Cynthia

Gallery walls are a top request for our designers. Whether they are in living rooms, hallways or bedrooms, this design element can create a natural focal point for any space. Creating this focal point can definitely be an intimidating task, however, careful preparation, creative presentation and coordinating elements will pull it all together!

Black and White Gallery Wall

1. Take the Time to Prepare

Gallery walls take time and preparation to pull together successfully. The first step is to identify the items that you would like to display. Do you want to showcase family photos? Is a more eclectic selection of art and personal photos more your style? Are shadow boxes needed for more intimate items like souvenirs from travel? Think carefully about the items you’d love to display first. Our designers love to mix personal pieces with artwork to create a look that is individual and special for clients.

In this stage of preparation, be mindful of the colors you’d like to work in the room as well. Do you envision your gallery wall showcasing black and white photos only? Are pops of color important? How comfortable are you with mix-matching frames? Learning your preferences for subject matter and mixing materials will help make the process smoother.

2. Creative Presentation

Gallery walls come in all shapes, sizes and presentations (thank goodness for variety!). In the next stage of planning a gallery wall, consider whether or not you want all frames or if you’d like to incorporate in alternative presentation styles like photo ledges. We love the design trend to expand gallery walls to include textural elements like woods, textiles and other conversation pieces.

Photo shelves also present the opportunity to introduce depth into the gallery wall. Use shelves as a place for plants, vases or other decorative objects that will enhance the gallery wall. If you are aiming for a more creative gallery wall, how can other decorative accents pull together your idea?

In the example below, our designers used a photo ledge to showcase prints, messageboard and greenery. To complete out the gallery wall, a beautiful mirror and macrame wall piece were selected to complete a stunning gallery wall. Creative gallery walls incorporate a variety of textures, presentation matters and selections.

Gallery Wall with Ledge

3. Make it Coordinate

The true key to bringing together any gallery wall is cohesiveness. Whether your gallery wall is all in black and white, the same frame, or boho themed, you’ll need to find a common denominator. Finding a common denominator in your selections will allow you to choose a variety of items to display. In our design below, our designers focused on a neutral color palette. This allowed our designers to select geometric art, sketches and allow places for family photos for a cohesive design. When your gallery wall selections share traits, it allows you to have more fun with scale, image selection, mixed materials and more.


Black and White Gallery Wall

Bonus Tip

Before commiting to your gallery wall, preview what the design will look like! Our designer, Heather Wise, loves using painters tape to tape off the frame sizes before drilling into the wall. This will allow you to visually see how each of the selections will look. Bonus? The tape will also be your guide on where you should add holes into the wall.

Gallery walls are a fun and creative way to display everything you love. If you need additional help pulling together a special focal point, start a project with our expert designers today. Our team of designers are experts at pulling together beautiful gallery walls.

Looking for additional inspiration? Check out our curated designs below for inspiration on how to pull together the gallery wall of your dreams.



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