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Creating a Gallery Wall with Personal Meaning

Updated: Aug 29, 2023


Our apartment is quite beautiful with two full exterior walls of floor to ceiling windows. The light and views are spectacular. However, this came with it's downsides. It was a real challenge deciding what to do with the inherited art, photographs and personal pieces, that have so much meaning to us, with extremely limited wall space. So I want to share how you can display your cherished collection in a small space with limited vertical real estate. Whether it's a gallery wall of travel photographs or an eclectic mix of paintings and art objects, I've got some suggestions. I'll share my secrets to planning, hanging, and preserving your art collection to make your space truly special and meaningful. 1. Planning Your Gallery Wall

Before you begin hanging your art collection, take some time to plan the layout. Gather your art pieces and lay them out on the floor to experiment with different arrangements. Consider factors such as the size, colors, and themes of the artworks and frames. Aim for a cohesive and visually appealing composition that tells a story.

gallery wall layout plan


2. Hanging a Gallery Wall in Limited Space

In a small space, hanging a gallery wall can make a significant impact. To achieve a cohesive look, follow these steps:

a) Create a Focal Point: Choose one large and eye-catching piece to serve as the focal point. This will anchor the gallery wall and draw attention.

b) Mix and Match: Combine paintings, photographs, and art objects for variety and interest. Mix different mediums and sizes to add depth to the display.

c) Use Floating Shelves: If wall space is limited, opt for floating shelves to showcase small art pieces or objects. They add dimension and allow you to change the arrangement easily.

d) Layering Effect: Layer the artwork on top of one another to create an overlapping effect. This adds a dynamic and artistic touch to the display.


3. Incorporating Travel Photographs and Art

Travel photographs and art collected from places visited add a personal touch to your gallery wall. These mementos evoke cherished memories and tell unique stories. To integrate them effectively:

a) Create a Travel Gallery: Dedicate a section of the gallery wall solely to travel photographs and artworks. This will create a themed display that becomes a window to your adventures.

b) Coordinate Frames: To maintain cohesiveness, use similar frames for travel photographs and art. Consider simple black, white, or metallic frames to create a unified look.

c) Include Memorabilia: Integrate small travel souvenirs or keepsakes, like postcards or ticket stubs, into the display. This adds depth and makes the gallery wall even more personal.

small gallery wall of travel photos above bar cart


4. Utilizing the Full Height of Walls with High Ceilings

If your small space has high ceilings, don't let that vertical space go to waste. Make use of the entire height of the walls by implementing these ideas:

a) Vertical Alignment: Extend your gallery wall upward, making the most of the height. Arrange the artwork in vertical columns to create an elongated display.

b) Large Statement Pieces: Use larger art pieces to fill the vertical space effectively. This will prevent the display from feeling overwhelmed by too many small pieces.

c) Ladder Shelves: Consider ladder shelves against the wall to display art and objects at varying heights. This unique solution adds visual interest and makes use of the vertical space.


5. Framing Options and Protecting Art from UV Light


Choosing the right frames not only enhances the aesthetics of your art collection but also protects the artworks from potential damage, including UV light exposure. Here are some framing options and tips:

a) UV-Protective Glass: Opt for UV-protective glass when framing photographs and delicate artworks. This special glass minimizes harmful ultraviolet rays that can fade colors and damage the artwork over time.

b) Floating Frames: Consider floating frames for canvas artworks. These frames add a contemporary touch and allow the edges of the canvas to remain visible.

c) Shadow Boxes: Use shadow boxes to display three-dimensional art objects or fragile keepsakes. These frames protect and highlight the objects simultaneously.

d) Conservation Matting: Choose acid-free and archival-quality matting to protect paper-based art from yellowing and deterioration.


gallery wall in hallway with high ceilings


6. Rotation and Refreshing:

A small space might require periodic rotation or refreshing of the art display. Consider swapping out artworks to keep the gallery wall dynamic and fresh.


Displaying an art collection in a small space can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. With careful planning, thoughtful arrangement, and creative use of the available space, you can curate a meaningful gallery wall that showcases your cherished travel photographs, collected art, and treasured memories.

Remember, the key to a successful display is to strike a balance between meaningful storytelling and visual appeal. So, get started on your gallery wall journey and let your art collection shine, adding character and beauty to your space.

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