Don't know what to do with all of your wedding photos? Consider a gallery wall. It's the perfect way to begin decorating your newlywed home. Here, experts from Framebridge and Artifact Uprising share their best tips for designing a photo wall. (There's definitley an art to it!)
The first decision you need to make is where you'd like to hang your gallery wall. "Location really is the most important thing to consider when planning your gallery," says Framebridge Creative Director Tessa Wolf. If you plan to hang your frames in an entertaining space like a living or dining room, she suggests "curating a collection that includes more than just photos of you and your partner—incorporating wedding memories with friends and family, art you've collected together, and mementos from your travels will tell a multi-dimensional story and be a great conversation starter for guests." If you'd like to place your gallery in a more private space such as your bedroom or home office, you have the opportunity to make the space even more personal and just about the two of you.
Artificat Uprising Art Director Katelyn Stetler suggests placing your photos "somewhere where they'll get the attention they deserve. An entry hallway where guests can't miss them, near the kitchen table so your family can view them every night at dinner, or above a sofa where your favorite memories become a great topic of conversation." It's up to you—let your personal preference dictate the location you choose.
Measure your space
Next, be sure to take the necessary measurements. Many people have a tendency to underestimate the size of the wall, so they land on a frame that's too small. "Impact makes a statement, so measure your space first," says Stetler. "You might just be surprised."
While it doesn't have to be perfect, Wolf recommends keeping one to two inches between every frame. If you space them out further, she says, the grouping can end up looking unintentional. If you're hanging above a piece of furniture, she suggests trying to keep your arrangement "equal to or narrower than the width of the piece. If you have a wide, empty wall, you have the luxury of starting a gallery you plan to extend over time. If you have high ceilings, take advantage by going vertical with your arrangement."
Mix and match photos
Aim for a mix of orientations—portrait, landscape, and square. "The beauty of a gallery wall is that it can grow with you," says Wolf. "Adding more pieces over time will keep things fresh." As for the photos themselves, don't be afraid to pick and choose. "Our favorite galleries often have a mix of Instagrams friends took at a reception, mementos from a honeymoon, and professional wedding photos tied together through a mix of modern and classic frame styles," says Wolf.
If you want to include a variety of pieces, you can use frame styles or an overall color palette to create a cohesive look. "Search for a common color palette or tone when choosing images for a gallery," says Stetler. And above all, "pick the ones that will make you smile when you see them every day," she adds.
According to Wolf, most gallery walls contain five to eight photos or pieces of art. "But that number will always vary depending on your collection and your space," she says. She suggests starting by printing and framing three to four small photos (under 8" x 10") and adding in two to three larger pieces (no larger than 12" by 16").
Stetler recommends keeping your gallery wall to four to five frames for a more traditional look. "Have a large piece to anchor the collection then fill in with smaller frames around that," she says. Her favorite frame color combo is walnut, white, and maple—you can have up to three different frame colors in a collection. If you choose to go over five frames, use the same color frame for every photo. This will keep the gallery from looking too busy. "Throw out that rule that all of the wood tones in your house need to match," she says. "The frame color should complement the photo."
If you're just starting out, Wolf suggests browsing Pinterest for inspiration. That way, you can learn what you like and start to form your own ideas. Once you have a sense of what you’re going for, you can start putting together your design. Wolf also believes in being unconventional. "We've framed some really unique items like a cocktail napkin from the night a couple met, a matchbook from another couple's first date, and another couple's engagement scavenger hunt," she says. "It's amazing how mementos like these transform into art when they're beautifully framed."
Stetler advises against taking the process too seriously. She recommends arranging your frames on the floor and playing around with them to find compositions you like. Don't spend too much time planning, however—just do it! It may feel like there are a lot of rules, but you don't have to follow them all. "Imperfection is welcomed character," she says. "We're all about redefining what a gallery wall is and really making your house a home with pieces that remind you of your best days."