As far as DIY decorating projects go, the gallery wall is blessedly forgiving. Three elements can look just as good as 30 when arranged artfully on the blank canvas of any wall in your house, mimicking the stylized sophistication of art gallery walls.
“Not everybody has fine art they can put up, but almost anybody can find a series of small prints or textiles, even really cool statement jewelry,” says Meg Van Lith, co-owner of Tierra Del Lagarto in Scottsdale. “It’s something affordable where you can still make a lot of impact.” She recommends using a “combination of actual art, photographs, architectural fragments… Even though it’s an art wall, it doesn’t all have to be art.”
Many people are daunted by the project at first, says Ana Wells, co-owner of urbAna in Phoenix. “In a perfect world, you have all this time and you’re thrifting and collecting all this perfect art, and that’s not necessarily realistic,” she says. “I love using photos or art that have a story or you have a personal connection to because then it can create a conversation... I love it here in the shop – we have it where they’re all similar tones, so it feels cohesive.” Cohesion is key, Van Lith and Wells say – not necessarily matchy-matching, just some through lines uniting the overall design, like consistent frames or harmonious tones.
Heather Bisetti, co-owner of Think Art in Scottsdale, shares a step-by-step how-to from the shop’s blog.
1. Measure your wall area. Make a paper template using craft paper and lay it on the floor near your wall.
2. Play with your artwork and move it around until you find a pleasing arrangement that is well-balanced. Once you like it, take a photo so you have a reference.
3. Trace around each piece of artwork and mark where the holes for each frame should go.
4. Tape the paper on the wall exactly where you want the gallery wall to be, making sure it is level.
5. Hammer your nails or screw your wall-hooks into your nail-hole marks and tear the paper away. Hang all of your artwork on the wall using your photo as a guide. Time to admire your handiwork with a glass of wine!
Tierra Del Lagarto (above)
15330 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale
“It’s a fun collected look,” co-owner Meg Van Lith says of gallery walls, like this one she designed in her shop. “You’re going to eventually look through your house and find things you never even thought to hang up.” Van Lith’s global mash-up includes canvas prints of her personal photos, jewelry-laden animal skull sculptures, tribal textiles, temple niches, architectural fragments and even a bookend. Inquire for pricing.
5027 N. 44th St., Phoenix
Owners Brian and Ana Wells commissioned their shop’s gallery wall from artist Sarah Dearbaugh, who did original photography, lettering and wall design under her Dear Sarah label (save for the photo of cookies, which was styled by la Ricki and photographed by The Birdie Girl Company at Ruze Cake House). “We wanted it to be places we love here in town,” Ana says. “We have images of LGO and Chelsea’s and O.H.S.O. Brewery. We wanted not only our connection, but we wanted our customers to be able to connect with the images.” Inquire for pricing at dearsarahdesign.com.
15125 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale
Every wall in Heather Bisetti’s Scottsdale Design Center shop is a gallery wall, covered with work by dozens of local artists. “You are inspired by photos you have seen in magazines or on Pinterest,” Bisetti writes on the shop’s blog. “Now how do you do it without putting 40 holes in your wall, or drive your spouse crazy?” She and her team offer custom framing and design consulting for a higher-end gallery wall. Inquire for pricing.
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