How to Build a Stylish & Inexpensive Gallery Wall

I have accumulated a LOT of art over the years – my own photographs, prints, paintings and designs gifted to me by friends and family through the years. One of the easiest, most unique ways to liven up your blank walls, display all your treasures, showcase your personal style and add instant glamour to any space is by DIY-ing a custom gallery wall.  

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You don’t need a lot of space (or money) to start, and you don’t have to be an HGTV guru – this is one of the easiest decorating hacks on the planet. In fact, my first foray into my own gallery wall was in college, where I used an old “Nuns Having Fun” calendar as artful wall decor on our front wall (my roommates eventually came around to see how hilarious nuns on roller skates are).

Here are my tips for building a stylish and inexpensive gallery wall:

1. Create the Perfect Space

The most important part of building a gallery wall at home is knowing where to start. A gallery wall makes a statement about your personal style. I’m all about positive reinforcement, so if you think you need the largest wall in your house for a gallery wall, I won’t say you’re wrong…but I suggest you get a little more creative. No matter its size, choose the wall that is the focal point of the room.

In a living room, a gallery collage looks great centered above the sofa. If you have an open floor plan, a gallery wall may be the majestic touch you need in a stairwell or foyer. Know your space, and your gallery wall will be all your guests can talk about the next time they visit!

2. Find Great Frames

As you’re shopping for frames, think about the kind of gallery you want to present. If you want a chic, ultra-modern look, go monochromatic with identical frames. If you’re going for a more free-spirited vibe, which can be just as glam, you can experiment with size and shape.

Frames can get expensive – but they don’t have to be! Check out thrift stores and rummage sales for cheaper frames with lots of character. I even found a few perfectly fine frames at the dump (another man’s trash is my treasure!). Search online to find frames in bulk if you are going for the uniform look. You can transform them with a couple of inexpensive cans of spray paint in your favorite color, and you’ll save a bundle by buying online.

3. Experiment with Artwork

You’ve chosen the perfect space, and gotten several frames – now it’s time to think about the kind of artwork you want to display. Remember “Nuns Having Fun”? Using calendars as art isn’t just for college. I have a gorgeous calendar from last year that had vintage travel posters for each month. I trimmed them out, put them in classic black frames and now they’re the most complimented pieces in my home! I spent a total of $15 for art that looks like a million bucks!

Calendars are a good place to start, but think outside the box. Pictures aren’t the only thing you can frame. Mementos and keepsakes make for great and affordable wall decor. They look great in shadowboxes, and you can hang embroidered or cross-stitched pieces directly on the wall. You’ll create dimension and texture by using different pieces in your gallery wall.

Bonus Savings Tip: Go online and search value sites for discounted home art decor to find beautiful pieces at a fraction of the cost.

4. Don’t Crowd Your Frames

You can have the perfect wall, the most unique frames and the greatest artwork, but if you don’t hang them correctly, the wow factor you’re going for just won’t be there. Try and start with the artwork you consider the most eye catching, which doesn’t necessarily mean the largest. Put this piece in the center of the wall, so that attention is drawn first to that item and then start working your way out with other pieces. Make sure not to crowd frames, leaving enough space for each piece to be enjoyed on its own.

Building a gallery wall is a great way to showcase your own personal style and make a bold statement in your home. Believe it or not, this is also a DIY project that keeps you green – you’re recycling frames that might otherwise get trashed and upcycling art you may have forgotten.

Use these tips, and your friends will be so impressed, they’ll all want your secrets on how to create artsy and affordable wall decor! Loved these tips on creating an inexpensive gallery wall? Check out our house and home section for more DIY inspiration!

Author: Katie

A Tar Heel born and bred, Katie hails from the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. When she isn’t writing or shopping online, you can find her hiking a mountain trail, perfecting her no-bake cookie recipe, or secretly reading romance novels on her Kindle.

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