The Easiest Way to Hang a Gallery Wall

A symmetrical gallery wall in a long hallway

Hanging things on your walls can be a little scary and intimidating, especially when you first move into a place. The walls may be newly painted and if there isn’t a mark or nail hole in sight…adding that first one is nervewracking! I guess that’s why my family usually calls me over to hang things for them. I have no qualms about whipping out my drill or hammer and marking up those walls! Ha!

Tips and tricks to hang a gallery wall of gold frames

With all of my family members moved into new places there has been a lot to hang lately. Between my mom, my sister, and my brother…I’ve gotten a lot of practice in the hanging department. You guys remember my mom’s symmetrical gallery wall, right? It’s one of my favorite spots in her place and it still looks like absolute perfection.

It can be tough to hang a gallery wall. We have lots of tricks to make this DIY job a little easier
A modern and contemporary living room in the heart of Chicago

But today’s gallery wall is anything but symmetrical. In fact, this gallery wall has frames of all different sizes. My brother’s girlfriend Sarah was so excited to hang these unique pieces in their condo. To visualize, these are hung opposite the wall in their living room. You remember their gorgeous living room space

Frame old newspaper clippings from your hometown for wall art
A newspaper clipping from 1907 framed in a gold frame
Framing old newspaper clippings to use as wall art

That room is pretty contemporary and is filled with lots of new items, so I was excited when Sarah told me she had some antique art she wanted to hang in the same room. Sarah’s parents actually found these old newspaper clippings in their home’s attic and got them framed in these gorgeous antique frames. I loved the sentiment behind these pieces and it’s amazing to think these clippings are from the early 1900’s!!But enough about the art, let’s talk about how we got these bad boys up on the wall.

Easy Trick to Hang a Gallery WallOur favorite trick to hang a gallery wall is to use wrapping paper to get the perfect layout

Want to know my big gallery wall secret? I use wrapping paper! I simply take a big roll of wrapping paper and lay all of the frames out on it. I then tweak and adjust until I find a grouping that looks good.

Layout Tips

  • To keep a cohesive look, keep frames close together…about 1-3 inches in between.
  • An odd number of frames will be easier to work with than an even number.
  • Start with the biggest frame first and place it off center.
  • Keep adjusting until it looks exactly the way you want it!
  • Follow the rules in this post to figure out the best height to hang your gallery wall.
Tracing frames on wrapping paper to create a gallery wall layout.
Hang wrapping paper on the wall to figure out how to hang a gallery wall.

Once Sarah and I got the frames in a layout we liked, we traced every frame onto the wrapping paper. I also marked where the hanger was on the back of each frame, directly onto the paper. 

Level as you go when hanging a gallery wall

I then used painter’s tape to position the entire sheet of wrapping paper up on the wall. We had to use a sharpie to outline a few of the frames, but if you look closely you’ll see them all marked on there in pencil. 

Add frames one at a time when hanging a gallery wall.

I always hang the largest piece first and then work my way out. Level as you go and base all of the other frames off of that first one. 

Use wrapping paper to create the layout when you hang a gallery wall

You can keep the paper up as you hang all of the frames and use it as a guide as you go along. 

These gold antique frames look gorgeous hung as a gallery wall

Because these frames were super light, I was just able to use some thin nails to get these to stay up. If you’re hanging anything heavy, be sure to nail directly into a stud or use an anchor. 

An old newspaper clipping in an antique gold frame
Tips and tricks to hang a gallery wall in your dining room space.

Once the frames were all hung, I took them off and removed the piece of paper. I then hung them all back up and even used command strips on the back of a few to ensure that they stayed level. I love that trick because you don’t have to worry about someone walking by and things shifting. Once we stepped back, we were in love with the look. Plus, how cool is this art? Some of the headlines made us laugh out loud. 

I love the antique gold frames with the contemporary dining room setup. The best combination of old and new.

Hanging a gallery wall doesn't need to be difficult with our tips

Oh and if you like their dining room setup, here’s a link to the table and a link to the chairs (such a good price) and the paint color is “Gray Owl.” 

Now, will you feel more confident when it comes time to hang a gallery wall after reading today’s post? I’m telling ya, the wrapping paper technique is a gamechanger for me.


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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