Aug 6, 2013

You've got your Pinterest board packed with inspiration, your swatches picked and your paint ready to roll, but does your space still feel like something is missing? Adding the perfect finishing touch to your pad can test your patience, but more often than not, you just need a nudge in the right direction! Enter Ricky Zayshley, associate editor of Avenue Magazine.

We recently sat down with Calgary’s ambassador of all things style to chat about his upcoming appearance at the Calgary Home + Design Show on Saturday, September 21 (12 noon sharp for all of you penciling him in!), and we just had to ask: What’s your favourite design trick?

“My gallery wall has been known to wow people,” said Ricky. “The arrangement looks like a complicated process, but it’s really simple — you just have to take the leap and do it and see where it goes. Incorporate found objects, prints, art and drawings to get that perfectly imperfect look.”

And with that, we were inspired! Here are our go-to tips for making your dream gallery wall a reality! 

1. Style

Think it out. Do you want your gallery wall to be eclectic or streamlined? Vivid or monochrome? Determine your vision – hash out the types of frames, colours and design style – and stick to it. Pinterest is a great resource for inspiration!

Pro tip: Always buy your frames first – or risk not being able to find a frame to fit that perfect print.

2. Plan

Measure, baby, measure! Jot down the dimensions of your chosen gallery wall (try it over the sofa, above your headboard or atop a credenza to break up the space), adjacent furniture and frames, and get to sketching. Determine the dimensions of your display and try a few set-ups on the floor, using painter’s tape to outline the size of the wall.

Don’t forget to take the rest of the room into consideration – hanging pieces too low or too high can wreak havoc on those freshly painted walls. Play it safe and leave at least 8 inches between the base of the frame and the top of the furniture. Use your mobile phone camera to take a few quick snaps along the way, and review and tweak freely until you hit the sweet spot.

Pro tip: Align 2-4 pieces in the centre, either horizontally or vertically, to establish your anchor and focal point. Fill it in from there.
Image via Apartment Therapy
3. Curate

Time to get creative! Work in unique items like personal photographs, antique iron letters (perhaps the letter of your first or last name), shadowboxes with special trinkets inside or a resin stag’s head. When it comes to choosing prints, patience is a virtue! Take your time and allow some frames to sit empty until inspiration strikes.

Pro tip: Keep your eyes peeled for prints at flea markets and vintage shops, or consider using tear sheets from magazines.

4. Hang

Check, double-check and check again that you have everything in its place before drilling any holes. There’s no quicker way to fall into a drywall depression than ill-advised hammering. Become BFFs with a level and pencil – trust us, a straight gallery wall is a happy gallery wall.

Pro tip: Using a level, measuring stick and pencil, mark key hanging points on the wall. Use Mr Clean Magic Erasers to wipe the slate clean if any pencil marks sneak out from behind the frames!

Have you ever taken a gallery wall to task? What are your tried-and-true tips for success?

For 2-for-1 tickets to the show, click HERE and save today!