How to Hang a Gallery Wall in Your Apartment

Insert expert art curator status here.

Sure, your not-super-tangible IG gallery is nice and all, but there’s something to be said about a well-curated gallery wall in your actual dwelling. It creates a focal point, allows you to display photographs and prints and other artwork and makes it look like you actually have a modicum of interior design skills. The thing is, you can’t really slap up some pics and call it a day. There’s a real artform to the overall placement, the frame positioning, the spacing between frames and even what you’re deciding to hang in the first place. Let’s be honest, that concert poster you got with your ex-boyfriend from 10 years ago probably shouldn’t be prominently displayed anymore.

Not only that, but you also need tools. If you’re like most of us who aren’t Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor, your toolkit consists of a hammer, a screwdriver and maybe some nails. You also probably bought it at IKEA. Look, there’s no shame in your IKEA tool game. But, the right set of tools will make a major impact on the success of your expertly curated gallery wall. When you’re ready to use all those years of acquired HGTV skills, peep this super simple guide and get to hanging.

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Step One

Gather your supplies. You’ll need things like:

  • Hammer
  • Nails and/or screws
  • Power drill
  • Drill bits
  • Anchors
  • Hooks
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Toothpaste
  • Roll of kraft paper or tissue paper
  • Reusable poster putty or painter’s tape
  • Step stool or ladder

You’ll also want to gather up the items you plan to hang. Think about what style best fits your aesthetic. A gallery wall can look polished with frames that are the same color or wood. It can also look whimsical with mismatched frames of all types and colors. The choice is yours, but it’s a good idea to determine that before you start poking holes into your wall.

Step Two

Prep the wall. This could mean giving it a fresh coat of paint or simply a good clean. You should also move obstructive furniture out of the way.

Step Three

Lay it out. A great way to visualize what your photos and prints will look like on a wall is to position them on the floor first. Use your phone to snap pics of each layout then compare. A great way to get started is to place the largest frame down first. Build out the rest around this piece.

Extra Joy tip: Ever wonder how high is too high? (No, we don’t mean that kind of high.) Picture frames should be hung up between 57 and 60 inches from the floor. If the ceiling is more than 8 feet high, it’s OK to hang frames at slightly more than 60 inches from the floor.

Step Four

Trace each frame. Grab your pencil and kraft or tissue paper, trace the forms of each frame and cut them out. To see how the composition looks on your wall, hang up the cut-outs using poster putty or painter’s tape. Take a step back to view the composition. You’ll want to make sure it looks balanced and the spacing feels even.

Step Five

Mark the spot. On top of each piece of kraft or tissue paper, use a pencil to mark the nail spots with an X. Another way to do this is by using toothpaste. Dab a small amount on the frame hanger and press it against the paper. It may be helpful to use a stud finder during this step.

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Step Six

Hit the nail on the head. Hammer in those nails exactly where you placed your X marks or toothpaste spots. For heavier frames, you may need to use your power drill to drill small holes into the wall. Secure the holes with small anchors and insert the screws.

Step Seven

Hang it up. Tear away the kraft or tissue paper templates and hang each frame up. When you’re finished, step back and admire your handiwork. Done and done!