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How to create an at-home art gallery

Updated: Feb 13, 2023

I firmly believe that every home needs art. Whether it’s your child’s fingerpaintings, a collection of priceless originals, or (as is the case for most of us) something in between, art adds life and personality to your home like nothing else.

In my experience as an interior designer, the way to get the most out of any collection is to display multiple pieces together in a well-thought-out, organized manner.

Exactly how do you do that? Here are a few of my tried-and-true tips for creating an at-home art gallery.

Choosing the artwork to display

When choosing the art to display in your home, focus on how the pieces will work together. You want to choose pieces that complement each other. Avoid any art that clashes with the other pieces or that steals the show completely from the other pieces you’ve selected.

When putting together your gallery space, keep these tips in mind:

  • If you'd like a more cohesive look, choose works by artists who have similar styles of painting or drawing

  • If you want to display art pieces that span a range of styles, make sure to select pieces that have at least one color in common to tie them together visually (i.e. a white mat bordering the artwork in a frame)

  • Don't be afraid of different sizes, they can easily be installed in a balanced arrangement

Planning how to arrange the artwork

When I’m arranging art for myself or for a client, I like to think of it as a puzzle. First, I like to lay out all the pieces on the floor or on the dining room table and move them around to see how to best fit them together.

The goal is to create an arrangement that looks balanced and has overall symmetry.

Achieving symmetry is relatively easy if you have, for example, four paintings that are all the same size and have roughly the same “visual weight”.

But you can still achieve overall symmetry if you’re working with pieces that are different sizes and/or have varying visual weight. For example, you could place two small pieces on the left and one large piece on the right or three smaller pieces across the top and two medium-sized pieces below. Play with the amount of space you leave between the art pieces to get the balance right.

To balance out the visual weight of a dark piece, a good trick is to add a dark frame to a piece on the opposite side of the arrangement where more color/visual weight is needed.

Or, if you have a collection that consists of several pale neutrals and a pair of dark pieces, try arranging the pale pieces in the center and flanking them with the darker pieces on either side.

Think outside the frame

Your at-home art gallery doesn’t have to be limited to framed art pieces. Adding other items like mirrors, baskets, masks, and just about anything sculptural that can be hung securely on the wall will add loads of atmosphere and ambiance to your home.

But if you have pieces you want to get framed, keep in mind that it can be a lot more expensive to ask the framer for a specific size frame for a piece of art. Instead, ask them to suggest what would work best for that piece of art. They may be able to suggest a more standard size to reduce the amount of customization needed (and hence, reduce the cost of the frame).

For certain pieces, you can pick up a ready-made frame and frame it yourself. I definitely suggest matting everything you frame. It makes any art piece look so much more polished and upscale. If you’re a novice at choosing a mat, white is always a safe choice. But if you feel like experimenting, choosing a mat in a bold or dark color can make certain art pieces pop more.

I do also love the idea of tacking art on the wall without a frame as long as it suits the style of the piece. This kind of raw display can add a lot of interest... and bonus points for using little hooks or clips that allow you to easily change out the art whenever you like!

Don’t let the art you’ve collected in your travels and over time collect dust just because you’re not sure how to best display it. Using my tips here, treat your at-home art gallery like a beautiful puzzle and play away until you find an arrangement you love. Then get that art up on the wall and enjoy!

anpil lanmou (lots of love),

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