How to Make a Gallery Wall with Vintage Art

Have you ever found yourself with a wall that has nothing on it, but it needs something to create visual interest? I find that no matter how large or small, gallery walls always make such a big impact when done well. Today, I am going to talk about how to make a gallery wall using vintage art.

For years, I’ve admired gallery walls from afar. They seemed intimidating and every time I attempted a gallery wall in the past, the finish product left much to be desired.

I kept seeing picture walls around the web and loved how they looked, so I began to study the gallery walls. I took notes about what worked and what didn’t work when it comes to creating a gallery wall.

Creating an appealing gallery wall can be tricky if you don’t know how to arrange it, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be hanging gallery walls all over your home.

I’m going to share some quick tips for creating a gallery wall so that you avoid all of the mistakes I made in the past that left me disappointed with the outcome of my picture walls.

Gallery walls aren’t hard to create, you just have to know a few things to help it look collected and cohesive.

If you haven’t tried a gallery wall in your home, you need to!

They are a great way to fill up a wall and create a visual story for you and your guests to enjoy.

It doesn’t matter if your wall is big or small, a gallery wall has the ability to bring an entire room together. You can also use as many pictures as you want. As long as they are sized appropriately and are in an odd number, you should be fine!

How to pick Vintage Art for your wall

If you aren’t careful, picture walls can look juvenile and cluttered. Picking your artwork is one of the easiest ways to make sure your gallery wall looks tasteful.

Whether you are getting your pieces from an antique store or printing vintage art from the public domain, choose a variety of pieces in varying sizes to create a collected look.

I like to stick with a basic color scheme, which for vintage art tends to be rich, muted colors, and add in pops of other colors in small amounts to keep the gallery wall from looking too matchy, matchy.

For a picture wall, the frames you use are as important as the artwork itself.

When it comes to a vintage art gallery wall, you want to have different frames in different sizes to create a beautiful, collected look.

If you are going with a structured gallery wall, then using frames that are exactly the same will work great! Creating a vintage art collection requires a bit more of an eclectic grouping of frames, in my opinion.

When choosing frames consider these points:

  • Size– Be sure you have a few larger pieces to ground the wall. Fill in bare spots with smaller frames.
  • Shape– Rectangle frames are great for gallery walls, but don’t underestimate the visual power behind an oval frame or a long, landscape frame to mix things up.
  • Color– For a vintage art gallery wall, using a variety of frame colors creates an eclectic feel. I like to stick with black, wood tones, and gold frames to create my walls.
  • Matte vs. No Matte– This is another important point when creating your picture wall. Don’t get carried away with a wall full of matted art. Stick with mainly unmatted pieces and add a few matted pieces to break things up.

Choose a Variety of Images for your Picture Wall

While it’s important to choose a variety of frames to break up a bland picture wall, it’s also important to pick a variety of images, too!

If you are creating a picture wall with one theme in mind, great! If you’re wanting a more relaxed picture wall, then you need to break up the wall by using a few different pieces that create interest.

For example, if you are creating a picture wall using mainly vintage art, break the oil paintings up with a pencil sketch!

When you’re arranging your gallery wall, keep these tips in mind.

  • Odd Number Groupings– Hang pictures in odd numbers. Odd numbered groupings is more appealing to the eye.
  • 2-4 Inches apart– This can vary some and it doesn’t have to be a hard and fast rule, but hang pictures somewhere between 2-4 inches apart.
  • Large Anchor Piece– It’s important to have a large, anchor piece grounding the wall, so start your wall with a large picture and work around that picture. Add in pictures in varying sizes around the main focal point.
  • Start Small– If you’re intimidated by creating a gallery wall, start with a few pieces of art you love and build on it over time.

How to prepare your picture wall

Many people lay out their pictures on the floor, cut squares for each picture, tape the paper squares to the wall, and place the nail.

I think that is a great way to do a gallery wall and get it exactly how you want it, but that is too much work for me. 😂

I do like to set out my art work on the floor and get a good look at how things look best, but then I eyeball it when I nail them to the wall.

A great part of a vintage art gallery wall is that it looks collected and eclectic. It isn’t supposed to look super structured. Hanging them in an imperfect way is fine with vintage art.

  1. Hang pictures in Odd Numbers
  2. Use a variety of frames
  3. Do not use all matted pictures. Keep some unmatted.
  4. Begin your wall with an Anchor Piece
  5. Arrange your gallery wall on the floor before hanging it on the wall.
  6. Keep pictures between 2-4 inches apart.
  7. Start small and add to it if you find it intimidating.

Where to look for vintage artwork

If you are stumped as to where to look for vintage art, check out these options:

  • Antique stores and Thrift stores
  • Public Domain- This is a website where you can find artwork (much of which is free!) and print it off to use in your home. Search for vintage art prints and see what comes up!
  • Etsy- Etsy has oodles of vintage prints you can download on your computer and print for your home.

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