Aspect Framing Studio and Art Gallery
Custom Picture Framing


Gallery Walls

Building a gallery wall is a great step for expanding the visual composition of an interior. Having a well done gallery wall shows your interest and sense of taste in both art and framing. It incorporates layout and balance more-so than just a single frame. This post covers three tips for combining different frames to create a dynamic but cohesive gallery wall.

Gallery wall at the shop. Each frame design is different, but the arrangement of color and mood build balance and cohesion. The placement of the mirror broadens the space.

Watercolors by Carol Ann Conners; Fashion illustration by Ruth

Balance of proportions prevents the layout from appearing too cluttered.

Gallery wall we framed and installed for UC Theatre in Berkeley, CA.

Gallery wall we framed and installed for UC Theatre in Berkeley, CA.

Gallery wall we framed and installed for Angler restaurant in San Francisco

Gallery wall we framed and installed for Angler restaurant in San Francisco

Tip one: Establish a Common Theme

You may have all different frames and different types of art in all shapes and sizes, but the fundamental guide for cohesion is that main themes are shown throughout. 

For example, the pictured wall layout has the following components that tie each piece together: metallic leafed frames, balance of texture to ornate motifs, and soft, warm colored artwork. Every piece is a different design, but in combination, they represent a style.

Tip two: Vary mat margins and spacing. 

A misconception is that a gallery wall needs to be symmetrical and precisely measured. Although there is nothing wrong with that, it might not be realistic for your collection of art and varying proportion will provide a direction for your eyes to travel. Additionally, the negative space that matting and spacing provide will prevent the wall from looking too cluttered.

This second image shows balance in the spacing and complexity of each piece. For example, the small flower with a triple mat balanced by the large flower with smaller mat margins. For more guidance on a balanced proportion look to the golden ratio or proportions existing in the artwork.

Tip three: Approach the entire wall as a composition. 

To understand this, view your wall from the eyes of a photographer. Consider the rule of thirds and areas of focus. 

Items that catch attention include bright, saturated colors, representational imagery, the human face, bold shapes, and sheer size. Make sure to spread these areas throughout, so that your eye can travel around.

In this example of our work for the UC Theatre, we distributed the placement of black and gold frames, ornate frames, and the size, so that you are interesting in viewing each piece both individually and as a whole.

In the example we did for Angler restaurant in San Francisco we worked with a specific concept. They wanted a feeling of a hunting lodge with highly distressed and rustic frames to give a feeling that everything had been framed and hung at a different point in time. Despite each piece being different. We created a balanced layout that allows your eye to move through all the pieces to see the different colors and textures without feeling overpowered.


I hope this article sparks some ideas, and encourages you to explore more design options for how you furnish your wall space. If you are wanting to build out a gallery wall for your own space, please, do not hesitate to ask us about it. We are happy to provide guidance on creating balance with more complex combinations.