Ya know those cool eclectic gallery art walls? The ones with lots of different sized images with mismatched frames and it all looks so amazing— like you’ve spent a lifetime collecting such interesting frames and images?
Lots of my clients tell me they want one. And the one above is the kind of thing they are talking about.
They even ask me to HELP them.
Usually, we end doing something much simpler and they are happy.
Quite frankly, it’s a lot of work and it’s also a very personal thing, so I think that this is something that is often better for the individual to figure out. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t help available. And it also doesn’t mean that I won’t do it. I will, but it’s not inexpensive as it takes many hours to do it right.
Before, I get started. A lot of these images are uncredited because after an extensive search, I came up empty. In other cases, I am intentionally not giving credit to the ones that are not done well. I am presenting them to make a point, not to embarrass anyone.
There’s a right way to do eclectic gallery art walls and a wrong way.
Just a lot going on, but it could be great. We’re going to see just how easy it is to muck it up and ways we can make our art walls wonderful, every time.
Here’s what NOT to do with eclectic gallery art walls
- Just start nailing up stuff thinking that it’ll all work out in the end. I guarantee you that it is not going to work out in the end.
- Having too, too many shapes and sizes, colors, itsy-bitsy little things.
stuffed animals? It’s some kind of memento wall? Okay. Maybe. It’s your home.
If the bookcase had doors. then this one would work better, I think. And just too much crap on top of the bookcase.
Some people will love this and it certainly took a lot of planning, however, I think it would be better to have spaces between the pieces.
How much space?
Good question. At an absolute minimum, I think that there should never be less than an inch between any of the pieces at any point. And usually, not more than 6″ between any of the pieces at any one point. I think that a good spacing to shoot for is between two to four inches or so.
Butterflies Aren’t Free?
Moving Day is going to be rough
More don’ts for eclectic gallery art walls.
- Not paying close attention to the composition.
Let’s see how we can accentuate this truly ugly pipe/chimney stack thingy and bizarre mantle. On a different wall, these art pieces could make for a terrific eclectic art gallery wall. This is all just cluttered and weird, IMO.
I do know some people who would be driven to the brink of madness if they had to live with this. And what on earth is going on with that floor? Maybe that’s where the dog has hidden his bone?
Haphazard and crooked. This one makes me dizzy and nauseous. Besides, it’s all kinda weird and creepy.
- It is important to keep your eclectic art gallery walls straight and the individual pieces in ONE place, despite the cleaning lady, doors slamming, drunken brawls, kids running around and earthquakes. [although crooked art might be the least of your problems in that case.]
There’s a great product called Joe’s Sticky Stuff.
You will only need a tiny piece in all four corners, or wherever the artwork meets the wall. It is easy to remove and will not muck up your walls. [they say] There are also little clear silicone pads that you can find in framing stores and probably most hardware stores to put on all four corners.
- Another issue I commonly see is not leaving an appropriate amount of margin of wall space. You really do not want to put art right up to the edge of the wall, ceiling or floor. Or for the matter doorway or window.
Is there a rule for this? Well, a small wall needs less of a margin than say a very large wall. Generally, you can’t go wrong with four inches of margin for a small wall or between a door or window. For a very large wall, if you are basically covering the entire wall, I would leave at least 10″, assuming there is no furniture on the wall. In that case, the furniture changes things according to the situation.
This one could’ve been really wonderful with about 25% less pieces and a 4″ minimum of margin on all sides
Unless you room is really, really funky Boho, having too, too many different kinds of frames, colors, sizes, patterns.
Some people will like this one and I like many aspects, but again, too much going on.
Now, for the do’s
Do plan out your composition. This is the most difficult part.
The above three are from A Beautiful Mess. Quite frankly, the way she’s done this with the paper on the walls is the best way to make sure that the spacing and composition is good.
- Look for inspiration in magazines, pinterest and Laurel’s blog :]
This one is perfect except for the one piece at the top should be moved down and to the left, IMO.
Feminine and pretty. These eclectic art gallery walls do not have to be expensive. You can use postcards, photos, greeting cards, vintage prints, love notes. Really, just about anything.
This one is very good. The only thing that distracts me is the one very large piece.
Layering is very, very tricky. I think that this one is very well-done, but it was done by a pro.
Based on the floor this one might be in a school?
I like the way the art enhances the furnishings. The composition and spacing are very good. It’s not so eclectic, but works nicely here.
Perfect for the children’s playroom.
- Begin with what do you already have. Do you already have some pieces either framed or unframed that you would like to incorporate? Or maybe you have some cool vintage frames that need some art work.
- The art must look appropriate with the rest of the furnishings and fit in with the use of the room.
- Do vary the frames and sizes, but it’s not a matter of anything goes. Eclectic should look collected not psycho. :]
- very, important. Even though things are not perfectly square, there is a middle point and a horizontal and vertical axis from that. In a great composition, there is an equivalency in its opposite side
Here is an example of one that is a wee bit lop-sided which could’ve been avoided, but other-wise very nicely done.
- Make sure that there is balance throughout with size and color. In other words, if you have three images with blue mats, don’t put them all on one end. Don’t put all the big pieces on one end.
Here are some more beautiful examples of well-crafted eclectic art walls.
From Heather Clawson’s wonderful blog, Habitually Chic. She’s very good about crediting the original source. Neither of us could find it. It’s a shame too, because the person who put this together is very talented and deserves the credit!
Another terrific job on this stairwell from the Forever Cottage Blog.
I like the way she incorporated the sconce
I believe that this is the same stairwell above and below by Scott Sanders Design. I posted it on another post about art walls. It’s worth a repeat because it is absolutely perfect in every single way and then some.
- Consider mixing in different mediums of art, such as an oil painting with sketches or prints. Maybe some pieces unframed
- Sometimes it’s cool to mix in a dash of the unexpected
One butterfly in the mix is nice.
A masterful mix by Ken Fulk
A photo I had not seen before of Charlotte Moss’ office. Absolutely stupendously gorgeous. She makes it all look so easy.
I hope that these tips will help you make your eclectic art walls something special, if you are brave enough to tackle one. Please let me know. And please have a wonderful relaxing weekend!