Your Guide to Creating the Perfect Grid Gallery Wall

How to Install a Grid Gallery WallBeing a person who craves balance and organization, the grid gallery wall is super appealing to me. I knew I wanted to install one in our new home, but I couldn’t decide where. Finally, it occurred to me that we had a wide open wall in our master bedroom, so I started planning. Click through to see how to create the perfect grid gallery wall, along with lots of ideas! 

In my opinion, grid gallery walls are so much easier to master than the a traditional, random gallery wall. It’s really a pretty simple process. Here’s what you need to get started…

– hammer
– nails (or picture hangers)
matching frames
– artwork
– pencil with eraser
– level (or laser level)
– measuring tape
– printed diagram

Step 1 // Choose an installation wall. Obviously this is a given… figure out which wall or space you’d like to install the grid gallery. Choosing the room first will most likely influence the content, so this step always comes first.

Perfect Grid Gallery Wall

Step 2 // Choose your content. Before you dive in, you obviously have to figure out what type of art you’d like to feature in your gallery wall. You don’t necessarily have to keep the artwork consistent, but if mismatching bothers you- it’s often easier to pick cohesive content. Even if the content isn’t the same (like framed botanical prints), make sure the color palette is aligned. For instance, maybe you’d like to frame family photographs. By printing them in black and white, they will look more consistent and intentional.

Grid Gallery Wall

I’m actually not a big fan of displaying family photos throughout my home, instead I like to find art that is a bit more interesting and unique. If you’re wondering type of content would be best for your grid gallery wall, here are some ideas for brainstorming…

  • pressed leaves or botanical specimens
  • figure drawings
  • vintage photographs of the same nature (like my vintage ski prints)
  • family photos in the same color palette
  • abstract paintings
  • landscape photographs
  • vintage maps
  • architecture or buildings
  • animals (horses, birds, dogs, moths, etc)
  • objects (urns, prisms, telescopes, African baskets, etc)
  • transportation photographs (airplanes, trains, vintage automobiles, etc)
  • nature inspired art (clouds, plants, trees, etc)
  • fashion prints (like Jacqueline’s grid wall)
  • vintage magazine covers
  • landmark photographs or paintings (could be specific to a state or national park)
  • blueprints
  • constellations
  • interior room photographs (dining rooms, fireplaces, etc)
  • portraits
  • travel images (from a specific trip)
  • food or drink (fruit, vintage cocktails, still life, etc)
  • tools or equipment (vintage hammers, axes, tennis rackets, etc)

That list should hopefully get your head spinning with ideas! I think the weirder or more unique to your personality, the better. I like when art is a conversation starter. It’s also a great way to share your interests with house guests or visitors.

Step 3 // Measure and layout. This step is probably the most important. Once you’ve landed on the content, it’s time to measure the installation wall. My bedroom wall already had beautiful panel moulding installed, so I wanted to make sure the artwork fit within the panel moulding. Therefore, I opted for two rows of five frames. Depending on your blank “canvas”, you can decide what best fits the negative space. Check out some layout ideas below….

Grid Gallery Wall LayoutsThe graphic designer in me, loves laying everything out in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, but it’s definitely not necessary. I took a photo of my wall, sized it in Photoshop, and added the frames one-by-one to scale. You can see my printed digram below. It’s just easier for me to visualize the spacing and is less work than taping kraft paper to the wall- much more precise.

Gallery Wall PlanningStep 4 // Print and frame. Once you’ve landed on your content, it’s time to print and frame! For my project, I opted to do this one on a budget. I bought readymade frames from Michael’s. I feel like they’re always having a frame sale. I purchased 10 of these frames for 50% off and they cost me less than $125. They also included mats- a huge bonus! Since they were already set up for photographs, I didn’t adjust the mats, but I wanted to mention- you can really have some fun with the visual weight and matting. I tried to include some unique ideas above in the wall layout ideas. I especially love when mats are offset. If I didn’t have a tight budget for this project and could have a do-over, I’d definitely offset them.

Gallery Wall DIYI had digital files of the images, so I just took a flash drive to Walgreens and printed the images. Mine were sized at 8″ x 10″ and for 10 prints, I believe it cost me around $40-$50. I do know there are less expensive online options, but I wanted to get this project done in a day! I matted and framed the images myself, carefully aligning the photograph with the backside of the mat, then securing it in place with archival photo tape.

Step 5 // Measure, mark, and install. I basically already had the measurements from my digital diagram, so it was easy to mark the wall. Using light pencil marks, Emmett and I worked from the left side to the right, installing each frame with a picture hanger. I’m the type of person who really just eyeballs things when hanging art. I’m honestly really good at it and it’s much faster, but Emmett loves measuring down to the millimeter. He’s a math and measuring nut. For grid gallery walls, that’s an awesome trait to have because you really have to get them perfectly aligned.

Grid-WallStep 6 // Add bumper pads and straighten. Since my frames were pretty cheap, they didn’t include bumper pads. I stockpile them anyway (find them on Amazon here). These little guys stick to the bottom two corners on the backside of the frame. They keep everything from shifting and help the frames to hang straight and even. They’re really the finishing touch that ensures your grid gallery wall stays put. Lastly, take a step back and make sure everything is nice and level!

Straighten Grid Gallery WallThat’s all there is to it! Grid gallery walls feel sophisticated and timeless. They’ve been around forever and I don’t see them going anywhere anytime soon. Do you guys have any in your homes? What do you think of the inspiration ideas? I sort of want to do another one, but our house is too small and I’m positive it would be overkill. You can also check out Jackie’s grid gallery wall here…. we posted about it last year.

Master Bedroom Get the LookLet me know if you have questions or need feedback in the comments. I’m happy to help!

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  1. Craig Kellmann says:

    Love this! I want to do something similar in my bedroom but am struggling with what content. Appreciate the list for brainstorming!

    1. Happy to help!! Glad you found it useful, Craig.

  2. Ann Heltzel says:

    West Elm is a great source for square frames.

  3. Love!!
    Are the frames 8×10 or 11×14?

  4. Where can I buy these vintage ski prints?! Need these!!

    1. I found them online and had them printed. Aren’t they fun? xo

      1. So fun! Do you remember the website?

  5. thanks for the tips!

    where is your rug from?? love it!

    1. Thank you! It’s vintage

  6. Meghan Granger says:

    Hi! I’m hoping to do a grid gallery wall on a blank wall in our living room. I bought twelve 16×20 frames with openings for 11×14 pictures. However, I’m realizing that the pictures I’d like to include will be low resolution for those openings. As a result, I’d love to change out some of the mats so that I could do a mix of 4×6, 5×7, and 8×10 pics in some of the frames. I’ve read that this destroys the symmetry of a grid wall and haven’t seen any samples, so I’m thinking this may not be aesthetically pleasing. Can you confirm and/or give ideas for how I can make this happen? Thank you!

    1. Hi Meghan! I think it totally depends on the layout of your gallery wall… if you’re keeping it totally balanced and symmetrical (in a grid format), I’d keep your mats consistent. If you’re planning to go asymmetrical with a more random layout, I think mixing and matching mats could actually work to your advantage. Hope this helps :) xo

  7. Christian says:

    Hello! Where did you get those prints? Are they available to purchase online?

    1. Some of them are available online! Although the source I used has since went out of business (sorry). Others I found in person! I’d just try searching vintage ski prints on eBay or Etsy, and see what you can dig up.