When I officially made the move to the barn after much renovation, then came the fun task of decorating it. I was, and am still, over-the-moon about the fact that this space is unlike any place I have called home before. A vast, open expanse of space in a loft-like setting, means there are many feet of wall-space that ran from floor to ceiling in some of the spaces. As I designed each area into a designated, functional space, then came the task of adorning those walls. Over the years, I’ve been accumulating a random assortment of frames, prints, art, and some of the most random specimens of wall decoration you could imagine, like, abstract pieces of sculptural art I created from trash. More about that later. My approach to a gallery wall is much like the salon-style gallery walls of the 19th century. It was then that many, many works would be squeezed onto one wall during academic competitions. This style of gallery wall is ideal for me because I am a collector. Not of expensive, chic art, but of anything and everything that catches my eye. Salon style gallery walls allow many unrelated or varied pieces to mingle and exist together in a cohesive manner. It is not uncommon to see pieces from the Paleolithic period just hanging out next to 21st-century pieces on my walls. I would say the most alluring aspect of the gallery wall is that there are absolutely no rules or rigorous steps in the creation. My walls are forever changing and rotating as I find more pieces to add or subtract. As long as, you love the artwork, the wall will come together organically. If you need a bit of a push before you make the big commitment of nailing holes throughout your wall, here are a few simple pointers to consider. Clear some space and lay out all the artwork you would like to utilize. As you look at all of the pieces together, ask yourself if there is a theme. A theme is a great way to begin a gallery wall is you have some doubts. The theme can be whatever you want and could range from portraits to landscapes, black and white, monochromatic, or even mirrors! The world of themes is essentially endless. Just look for that common thread that ties the pieces together. Next, consider the frames. I love old, vintage frames. Frames are the single easiest way to elevated artwork and showcase pieces that may be small or prized. Frames are also super versatile and inexpensive. A simple can of spray paint can completely transform the appearance to match the very needs of your gallery wall. Don’t be afraid to mix frames of different eras and play with the overall aesthetic of the artwork itself. Frames find their way onto my wall in many ways. For example, in my dining room, I place frames around antique forged serving pieces and miniature portraits from the civil war. And just because something is already framed doesn’t mean you cant switch it up and even frame-the-frame so to speak to add emphasis and texture. Finding the perfect wall is key and will ultimately determine the composition of the gallery wall as a whole. Small, irregular walls are ideal for a mass grouping that can run from floor to ceiling. Whereas, a gallery wall in a large space can be used to create an instant focal point, whether above a bed or sofa. Whatever wall you choose, utilize it as a means of moving the eye around to different spaces throughout the home. Unexpected twists make the exploration all the more fun! Once the wall has been decided, now it’s time to decide on a layout. This crucial step is the most fun and should be approached with a relaxed manner after a glass of wine. There are literally millions upon millions of different ways to align artwork on a gallery wall and templates can even be found all over the world wide web and of course, places like Pinterest or Houzz. Whatever design you choose or if you decide to go rogue here’s what to do. Begin by cutting craft or butcher paper to the exact size of each artwork. If your floor space is large enough, roughly arrange the paper cutouts on the floor. It’s easiest to begin planning a gallery wall from the middle/bottom, and work upward and outward from there. Take note of surrounding furniture and use that as a guide for placement. For instance, if your gallery is above a sofa, you want to keep the gallery wall to a comparable size. Once you’ve got a floor design you like, take those paper cutouts and place them on the wall using painters tape. Take a step back to soak in all the layout has to offer. Reference the actual pieces and take note of colors and how it correlates to its neighbor. Sleep on it. Take all the time you need to arrange, rearrange, and add/subtract until you get a wall you are proud of. When the time comes to hang it’s crucial to have all hanging necessities within arms reach. There’s nothing worse than killing the excitement of a new wall because you have to make a run to the hardware store. Some hanging essentials are nails, screws, hammer, drill, hanging wire, expandable mounts, and toothpaste. Yes, toothpaste. It will be your saving grace. Toothpaste is essential in the hanging process because it will give you the exact location you want to make a mark for hanging. Simply place a drop of toothpaste on the artwork’s hanging apparatus; and press onto the wall in the desired location. Pull the artwork away and wipe the toothpaste from the piece. Use the toothpaste marking and hammer away, wiping the wall clean after the hanging mechanism has been affixed to the wall. Repeat for all artwork. If you find yourself just stuck and a bit afraid of roughing your walls, shelving is the option for you. Shelving is a fabulous way to create a gallery wall and allows for constant movement without the commitment or fear. Plus, you can throw in a sculpture or two. Whatever you choose, just have fun and let that wall reflect you.