It’s Here! The Ultimate Art Gallery Wall Hack (aka: Template)

Hey Guys,

Before I get into the ultimate art gallery wall hack!

I need to thank you all so much for all of the advice regarding my wardrobe decisions.

I guess the problem is, that I have to take only enough to wear for 9 days and fit it all into my little Tumi case. Oh, and no worries. I took it to Italy and it’s a magic suitcase. It holds a shocking amount. And I’ll have a good-sized tote bag to carry on the plane as well.


So, let’s dive in to today’s topic.


We’ve talked about it before.

Art Gallery Walls


And I think I mumbled something once upon a time about maybe creating a product for that, but instead what I think I’d rather do is every so often, depending on the interest do an ultimate art gallery wall hack.

The idea of the hack is that you can take it and use it to make your own similar wall. And yes, there will be art for sale.


BUT, you are not to buy any of the art. ;]


Do you hear me?

You are to find a starving artist and have them paint something for you.

Yes, I’m being facetious.  And that’s because every time I have a post about art, at least one person gives me a guts-full about hiring local artists.

Absolutely, please buy from your local artists.

But… if you prefer shopping online, OR you live on desolate shack on the beach with only a microwave, high-speed internet and a weekly visit from the UPS guy, please listen up.

If you haven’t gone over to Artfully Walls to check out their fun wall app, you are seriously missing out. And get this. Even though I’ve made some walls to copy, they have dozens of art walls and if you get the entire wall, they’ll give you 20% off.

You might also recall that I used some of their art in a recent post about decorating around the TV and also the red sofa post.

So, what I’ve done for today is to make one wall– to scale.

And how I did that was take some 1/4″ graph paper and I put it on a board in picmonkey. I’m sure that there are programs that will do elevations of furniture to scale and then scale your art wall, but this works too.

The only thing is that the sofa and end tables are in “perspective” not elevation. An “elevation” is design-speak for how the furniture would look against the wall if it was 1/16″ thick. No perspective. But it’s okay. I worked it out. The back of the sofa is the measurement we need to look at.


(several hours later)


Well… This is always more difficult than I think it’s going to be.


Anyway, here’s what I’ve done.

I did two variations on a wall.


The first ultimate art gallery wall is for an 84″ sofa.

(Yes, you’re getting two “ultimates.” lol)


Ultimate Art Gallery Wall Hack for an 84" sofa
And yes, I realize that it says #2. haha. This is the state of things over here. It’s not terribly pretty, but sometimes we must suffer for our art.

Each of the darker squares equals one square foot. So, if you count, you’ll see that the art gallery wall is about seven feet in width.

This room has an eight foot ceiling. Usually, I don’t go up much more than seven feet off the floor for art, if the ceiling is eight feet. But of course, there can be exceptions.

The art should start about 4″-6″ above the back of the sofa.

I like asymmetrical but balanced art walls. Not fond of the big gaping holes I see sometimes.

As for spacing. I try not to get too precise because I think that’s part of the charm. But, the art pieces are roughly 2″-4″ apart in some places.

Let’s take a look at the next ultimate and then I’ll tell you all of the pieces and their sizes.

How does that sound?

ultimate art wall template hack


Another option is to take the art out past the sofa. Or, this could be a wall for a larger sofa.

Or it could go over a super long table or in a hall over wainscoting.

This wall extends about nine feet.

If you notice, however, in addition to moving some pieces out, I moved some around.


A bit more about Artfully Walls.


  • Their prints are all original works created by “starving artists.”
  • They come in different mediums such as print or on canvas.
  • And then, there are dozens of different sizes. Most prints come in multiple sizes.
  • There is a choice to have a mat or no mat.
  • And there is a choice of about a dozen or so different frames.
  • They are super-duper nice folks that work there.

One important thing and I mentioned this to them. You cannot see the finished size of the pieces until you put it in the cart. So don’t freak out. It’s there, just in the cart.

And also, you may recall that Artfully Walls has also made a beautiful collection for Anthropologie!


Here are the pieces in the “ultimate” boards with the finished sizes.


custom art wall“Blur” by Emily Grady Dodge

finished size: 11.5″ x 14.5″


“Branch” by Kate Roebuck

finished size: 14″ x 17″


“Julie” by Erin Armstrong

finished size: 20″ x 24″


“Raindrops” by Heather Chontos

finished size: 7.5″ x 9.5″


“Blue Eyes II” by Britt Bass Turner

finished size 13″ x 13″


“BW3” by Jilly Sykes

finished size: 19″ x 13″


“Fallen Hours” by Karina Bania

finished size: 13″ x 13″


“9.2/8” by Beth Winterburn

finished size: 20.5″ x 20.5″


“Summer Heat, North Bar Lake” by Carolyn Damstra

finished size: 19″ x 15″


“Storm Over Little House” by Harry Stooshinoff

finished size: 17.5″ x 12.5″


“Flower Study I” by Erin Armstrong

finished size 18.5 x 22.5


“Lemon Branches” by Kate Roebuck

finished size: 18″ x 15″


“Beach House” by Ian Weiss

finished size: 21.5 x 17.5


“Beach Sunshine” by TS Harris

finished size: 28″ x 33″


Another look at the Ultimate Art Gallery Wall for over a sofa.


ultimate art wall template hack

Blake Raffia End Tables from Serena and Lily

Shiloh Table Lamps from Bradburn Home

Miramar Sofa from Serena and Lily


Please don’t forget (I won’t let you) ;] that Serena and Lily is having a fabulous 20% off sale on all of the upholstery as well as all beds and their brand new beautiful linens. Use code: GETCOMFY to get the 20% discount. For more information, please look here and also the bed and bath pages.

And also there are lots of new things in all of the Hot Sales Pages.

Thanks again Everyone!





PS: Sunday morning. I just received this email from a reader.

Jesi Pace-Berkley. She needs your help. She’s a starving artist whose beautiful art-work doesn’t sell. Maybe some of you can help her out. Here’s her note.


I have wanted a white sofa for as long as I can remember

 nothing special or too expensive

maybe something by Lee industries

I wanted one for a very long time

do you know why I don’t have one ?
because I’m a “starving artist”

I have a studio of the most beautiful paintings you’ve ever seen (

but they don’t always sell

because of people like you

people who operate as if  there’s no difference between a piece of paper that was run off at a copyshop  for $2.97 and an original painting drawing or lithograph

It is OK with me if you don’t know the difference but it is not OK with me if you teach all of your readers by your example

I enjoy decorating and until today I enjoyed reading your decorating blog

I want to see and yes I’m demanding you resend [i think that she means rescind] the implication that there is there some sort of joke about being an artist and don’t ever call them starving artist again

if you’re lucky you know if you expressive and creative innovators after all isn’t that what you pretend to be?


Well, I joke about a lot of things that aren’t really all that funny. That’s how I’ve survived.

And I am a starving artist too. All of my life. I live quite modestly and have meager savings and if anyone knew the entire story, they’d be giving me a hug and making me a cup of coffee, not throwing it in my face.

But I’m not crying oh, poor me… Life handed me a bunch of lemons and I made lemon squares with powder sugar on top that gets in your hair. But I don’t care. That’s life. You take the good with the bad. I’m just grateful that I found this wonderful recipe for lemon squares!

But Jesi needs your help as it seems to me, that she hasn’t found a good use for her lemons…


38 Responses

  1. Dear Laurel,

    Ask me the difference between the $600 original oil painting I bought at an art fair and the $100 print I got at z-gallerie around the same time 12 years ago? I now hate the oil painting about 6 times as much as I’ve outgrown them both and I feel guilty at the thought of donating it.

    I am not an art collector. Much of what passes as “fine art” today is something I don’t understand or can’t appreciate. And yet, I don’t want bare walls and can only have so many mirrors and wall sconces. So I buy prints. And I pay more to have them framed than the print cost and I’m okay with it because I know I can reuse the frame when I tire of the print.

    What I am buying and what it seems to me you’re talking about is Home Decor. This isn’t a blog directed at art collection. So, for those of us interested in Home Decor (the actual subject of this blog), please keep the good tips coming.

    1. Hi Therese,

      It’s definitely in the eye of the beholder.

      Well… it could be an art collection. But the post is concerned more with the technicalities of the art sizes and placement.

      And of course, I could come up with dozens of variations for this space above a sofa. But gotta begin somewhere.

  2. My mother, who is 80 now, is a fine artist. I grew up with her paintings and drawings all over the house.

    She used to enter art shows and would sell some of her work, but certainly it wasn’t a road to financial independence. People that knew her would sometimes commission a piece.

    She did finally in her forties get a job as a graphic designer for a large power company of all things, in spite of not having the required degree. They were simply blown away by her portfolio.

    That is how she supported herself until she retired. It certainly wasn’t the type of art she did for herself, but she was happy with just being able to make a buck doing anything artistic.

    Galleries never worked out for her. She even once tried putting her paintings in an upscale restaurant, only to have the owner close and abscond with her paintings. 😉

  3. Hello Laurel, My problem is kind of the opposite–I have lots of hangable art, but I don’t wish to cover any of my walls. I marvel at the people who can hang many close pictures with even spacing, because I find it hard to control within an inch or so just where the pictures will end up, and I hate re-driving the nails to correct them.

    Jesi should calm down and resubmit her comment–people who are decorating are facing enough bewildering decisions, and don’t need extra bullying or sarcasm.

    1. Hi Jim,

      That reminds me of when we had our hardwood floor put in which is akin to moving out. haha. And I really hated to put anything back! I loved the empty room. Now, what does that say?

  4. Laurel – Thanks so much for this topic. I’ve just redecorated my family room with the intention of hanging some of my daughter’s artwork, but now I’m scared to death to start hammering nails in my freshly painted walls. Your templates are very helpful! Any guidance on how to start a gallery wall when there will be more works to hang? Start in the middle and build out?

    1. Well, you could download a sheet of quarter inch graph paper. One square = 3 inches.

      OR, you could lay it out on the floor.

      OR, you could do the paper template method. Hang on. I might’ve linked in the post not sure. Hang on and I’ll go and fetch it.

      You put up paper rectangles or squares the size of the art. I would use blue tape so that you don’t ruin your paint. When you have the pieces of paper where you want them. You put in your nail. Then rip away the paper and hang the art.

  5. Commerce today is all about marketing – and presenting yourself in the best light possible. The Artist that commented on your post was really doing a disservice both to you and to herself. Rather than picking on you Laurel for your wonderfully helpful post – I’m going to suggest to that artist a better tactic for the future that might inspire more readers to actually look at a site and consider a new source for artwork. : “I think it is great that you are showing your readers how to hang lots of art on their walls, that will only help increase demand for original artwork. So many of your readers are discerning and probably have special artists in mind that they want to source their work from. In case they don’t know where to begin or are in love with one of your examples, – I think its helpful that you are pointing them to how they can purchase your featured items. Also wonderful to point out that if they purchase from “Artfully Walls” a certain fraction of the proceeds help the artists that actually originally created the work and market their wares through this site. I would really appreciate if you could also remind your readers that there are plenty of works available from original artists in their own towns and cities – even from places they travel to. If you purchase directly from an artist they will be able to make more money and keep making more beautiful work. Personally, I am very inspired by your blog and even have plans/hopes to purchase a white sofa – but only after I sell enough of my artwork to meet my expenses and save up for this splurge. Please point your readers to my website “Still life with Lemons” and maybe some of your art loving readers will be willing to buy my work and help to support my efforts, or get inspired to look for original works near their homes.” But don’t pick on Laurel – her sense of humor and style are inspiring!

    1. Hi JB,

      Thank you so much for the wonderful and supportive comment. And I would gladly point people to your website, but could not find it. And I tried all of my favorite stalking tricks lol. Must be losing my touch. ;]

  6. Wow. Sorry you had to deal with that, but great response. I love that you take the time to give the sources. I have lots of art – probably too much for the new house that has more windows, and really appreciate the the guidance.

    1. Thanks Ann and yes, it’s a bit tedious to go and grab each individual link and then write out the label for each one.

      What’s in the frames could be a zillion different things.

  7. Question: Feel free to ignore, I know you’re a busy woman! Can black and white photographs be mixed with oil paintings/watercolors? I only seem to see modern or graphic art mixed with traditional paintings in gallery walls. Is it all in the framing? Enjoy your vacation!

  8. Laurel, you have paid your dues and you are “making it” at some level as a creative person. That’s great and I applaud you. But there are a lot of ways for creative people to live a satisfying life. I make high end bead embroidered jewelry and have spent years and money learning to do it at a “gallery” level. People stop me on the street and want to buy it, but honestly, if they paid a fair price, most could not afford it. Instead of trying to sell it, I’ve taken the opposite tack … I have another career and make my pieces for myself and as gifts to family and friends. It’s simpler and I don’t have to concern myself with a fickle market. I can do what I love and please only myself. This is my own version of lemon bars! I’ve made my peace with it. It is no one’s fault that your art is not selling well enough.

    1. Hi Linda,

      Yes, I’ve certainly paid my dues and believe me, as a designer with clients, was barely getting by. And it was phenomenally unreliable.

      And my sons are musicians. One went to college for it. He does eke out a modest living, that affords him shared living with two roommates.

      It just bothers me that anyone would think that I don’t understand or don’t care or anything like that. Geeezzz, in my 20s I was a dancer/actress and waited on tables for eight years!

      But I love that you’ve found a way to express your creativity and have realistic expectations. That’s just the way it is… It’s more the exception than the rule that anyone makes a great living in the arts.

  9. Thank you for the valuable info on this topic!! Is it ok to hang art over wainscoting if the height of the wainscoting makes the center of the art well above eye level? Also real paintings simply aren’t feasible for everyone even if they are worth their price tag so I am happy to have other resources where they at least give credit to the original artist. Thank you for that too. Have a safe and fun trip!

  10. Hi Laurel,
    I am new to your blog and I’m loving it! Most blogs I only look at the pictures but with yours the commentary is luscious!!! I am in love with all things British Isles… have a wonderful trip. My husband and I took our first trip to England with free tickets, fell iin love and vowed to return as soon as we could afford to. We have since been back 4 times. We are returning to Ireland next summer. Can’t wait!

  11. Laurel, I appreciate your links… and you are right, someone likes it and always ask for the source if it isn’t listed.

    For Jesi’s prices, I finally figured out that if you click on a art work, the popup shows the size, followed by a number (without a dollar sign) that is the price (least I think that’s what it is.)

    Her art is gorgeous but very large and expensive… like the lily painting is like 56″ by 42″ and $2600. Many were more. I am sure the paintings are worth the prices: original paintings are expensive. But unfortunately, they won’t fit in my average size midwest house and are way out of my budget. They’re even less realistic for those younger and starting out or living in studios in expensive areas.

    I do have a lot of original art, collected over many many years, along with posters, photos, objects like musical instruments and reproductions sold by the artist. I enjoy them all.

    For many people, the ability to get a quality ink print reproduction of a work they love is the only way to afford it, and allows them to start collecting art for their walls now instead of living with empty walls. I think they realize they aren’t the real thing.

    I think your readers, like me, are trying to learn good design ourselves to decorate without a designer, and do appreciate ideas that are more in our price range.

    And you are so right, no way to please everyone. So don’t worry and keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks so much Susan. I very much appreciate that. She totally has no idea who I am or what I think or believe.

      I also think that she doesn’t get my irreverent sense of humor. (or humour now that I’m going to ENGLAND!)

      I have admired and been a proponent for all of the arts most of my life. I was president of our high school’s Arts Alive club for 4 years which did fund raising for student enrichment programs. And I fought our effed up school board when they tried to reduce the elementary school music program from twice a week to once a week. WHAT???

      Music should be taught DAILY! So, I voted down that absurd budget and was vilified by other parents who were cowering in fear. But, it worked. The budget lost and they were forced to keep the music program as is. BTW, the last year I was involved, 2011, the annual cost to educate a child in that school district was $33,000– yes, a YEAR! I’ll let you smoke on that one!

      Oh man. I spent dozens of hours on all of that and would do it again. But I didn’t have a blog then. :]

  12. Laurel,
    So glad you always have the bottom line and that you share everything. So democratic! We need more of reasonable expression of opinions in a lovely way, lemon bars and lemonade included…..enjoy England.

    1. Thanks Susan. Right? I mean, it’s fine to disagree, but there’s a right way and there’s a “it’s people like you” way. However, even though the words sting (they are meant to), I always wonder what is going on with them that they feel not only the need, but entitled to write those words.

      My guess is that she probably needs a hug as well. But she’s too angry to ask for it. I understand. I’ve been there too. But after a while, it gets old because life is such a tremendous gift; even when it’s difficult. xoxo

  13. Hi Laurel. I have a tradition. Wherever I travel, I buy a small, inexpensive painting or print from a street vendor or local shop. I have the most wonderful little painting that I bought on the Champs de Élysées and a set of black and white photographs of New Orleans statues and architecture. I rarely revisit the photos I take, but my art wall brings my travels alive. I used to travel for work but don’t get the opportunity much anymore, so my art means a lot to me. Especially the Caribbean paintings on a cold rainy day. Perhaps you can bring something home from England to add to your art wall. Enjoy your trip.

    1. Hi Gail,

      That’s a wonderful idea. I’m the opposite of you. This is only my second trip since emancipation in 2012. No trips abroad (except to visit relatives in Canada) after the 1989 honeymoon; not for me, anyway but we don’t need to go there. (little) lol

      1. Oh that makes the trip all the more exciting. Congratulations you deserve it! Thanks again for all you share with us.

  14. Loved this post. I have a friend who has a gallery art wall. When I gushed and asked her about it, she just shrugged and said, she “threw it all up there willy-nilly!” I don’t believe her, but I think being super casual about your art wall might be part of the charm?

    As for Jesi , I think she just clicked out of gear. I went on her website, which is nicely done by the way, and discovered some beautiful pieces. But – I couldn’t find pricing. We must never underestimate how important price can be to all of us. After all, we are really all starving and watching our money.

    1. Hi Leslie,

      Yes, “starving artist” could be someone working for slave wages but with the soul of an artist. No harm meant at all!

      She might have thrown it up willy-nilly. Some people do have a knack for that. And sometimes, they throw it up and it looks horrible! I think that a bit of a plan is a good idea! At the very least, I would lay it out on the floor first.

  15. Priceless response to the artist. Our Favorite Aunt had a lemonade outlook on life too; I like your lemon bars better. My brother always joked that Aunt Alice would say stepping in dog s***t is just an opportunity to clean your shoes. Thank you for the laugh and the memories.

    Have a wonderful time in England; I can’t wait to see what your trip inspires.

    1. Hi Mary,

      I love your Aunt Alice. What a blessing to have had her in your lives!

      I received my “study booklet” yesterday. Actually, it’s a BOOK! And shows all of the magnificent places we will be visiting. I can’t believe that I’m finally getting to go! Really, I’m crying already. These people are going to think that I’m nuts! But, we’re all there because each of us is mad about anything classical!

    2. Mary, I must say, your Aunt Alice is spot on ! Never thought of it that way, but I certainly laughed out loud on her euphemism ! Thank you for sharing ! I loved some of “starving artists” paintings, I will have to say,especially the female faces. I honestly think Laurel’s writing today is the placement of the “art” not so much the art work itself. Groupings of like color,spacing,etc. I do wish “starving artist” the best,even if she was canvassing( no pun intended) us to peek at her site. Glad I did,and wish her well. Hugs and all! Laurel , I can’t wait to read all about your upcoming trip. I am so excited for you !

  16. well, this isn’t probably going to be popular either but I’ve found artwork at thrift shops where I’ve paid $9-12 for signed, matted and framed artwork.

    1. Hi Susie,

      That’s fine too! I’ve gotten most of my art from thrift shops or flea markets. But I have to put something in the frames. And yes, they are for sale. If I don’t put that info in, people have complained. I think that it’s an awesome company and that their app is a brilliant idea!

      But it also allows one to see in scale how the art will look. I just took it one step further in actually putting in all of the dimensions. I wrote them that they should have the dimensions of the art in their diagram that comes with their pre-made art walls.

      I always encourage folks who are so inclined and have the means to buy original art. I used to work in an art gallery. Not for long. The owner was as crooked as they come!

  17. Great idea, Laurel and executed wonderfully. Really illustrates how many square feet need to be accounted for in order to pull off the best looks.

    1. Hi Libby,

      Thank you. And also that the point of the post is how to arrange, not what’s IN the frames. But then if I don’t say where it’s from, I’ll still get sh*t on. When it comes to art, I realize that it doesn’t matter what I say, someone is going to be offended which apparently, is unavoidable. Oh well… you are always incredibly kind! Most readers are! xoxo

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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