Welcome back to the Beyond White Paint series. Who’s ready for another inspiration in the fight against those drab white apartment walls?
A quick recap – just in case you’re new here. I’ve started the Beyond White Paint series to provide decor alternatives to painted walls. And by that I mean options for making boring white walls work – because I know many of you are stuck in a rental home or apartment that you’re not allowed to paint.
In Episode One, I talked about curtain walls. I thought gallery walls would be a great next step – they’re as easy as you want them to be, and they can make your white wall can really work for you, rather than against you.
Did you know that the first gallery walls were at French art shows? They just threw paintings on the wall floor to ceiling so no matter where you stood you had a shot at seeing something.
Gallery walls are a serious rental multi-tasker. For one, they create a focal point. They also can create a mood and feel for a space, and even distract from less than stellar features that can populate a rental. Heck, you can even place them strategically to camouflage things like that awkward light switch or thermostat. Luckily, we have options. Oddly enough, options multiply as renters because a gallery wall can be made of anything. No lie.
Gallery Walls of Cohesive Frames
So maybe you don’t know how you want to lay out a gallery wall. An easy wall to throw such a wall together is to spray paint a bunch of frames a cohesive color, be it all glossy black or espresso brown or all bright pink.
Clearly frames don’t need to be new – use whatever you’ve got lying around. Somebody you know may have a pile of frames they are about to send to Goodwill – or you could snag a few at your local thrift store. If you’re really stingy, you could just scare the crap out of your boyfriend and pull things out of the trash. Regardless of how you obtain them, they don’t have to match at all. That’s the beauty of spray paint.
Crazy Gallery Walls
Some of us may not really love the idea of a unified look, so maybe a more unique look is the way to go. There’s so many options here too, be it empty frames or interesting objects being strewn across your wall.
Empty frames are an easy alternative, and look really interesting when painted in a few different colors.
Then again, who said frames needed to play a part in your gallery wall? Why not go for something entirely different to get a sculptural or interactive effect?
Check out these examples:
The above example would be so nicely executed in a rental. Why not prop up old shutters, closet doors, or fence posts to get a similar look? Rental decorating doesn’t just have to follow trends of what a ‘correct’ gallery wall should look like!
Or you could just be insanely practical about your ‘art’ (talk about no wasted space!)
Imagine the above treatment in a kitchen with little shelving – zero dollar art! Hang your coolest looking utensils in an empty frame and call it a day.
I love the idea of using something that jumps off the wall at you (in a non-scary way). What other items can be used for this sort of wall? Be creative! I’d suggest old window cornices or those weird little plastic shelves they always have at thrift stores, all spray painted one color though. Too crazy might just make you wonder why you put together something that freaks you out every time you look at it. Of course, multi-color or cohesive is up to you which leads to my next point . . .
Think about Placement
Gallery walls can easily create a mood. Are you a frequent entertainer who wants to start conversations with a gallery wall? Or are you a homebody who wants something soothing to look at when you come home after a stressful day?
These walls can mask architectural quirks (or just plain ugly) and say something else about the owner of said art wall. Do you like the symmetry of evenly spaced, pristine frames? Or would you prefer to scatter frames across the wall? Again, your call.
Remember my friend Melissa and the quirky Boston studio I helped her with? She could totally use the gallery wall as an option for working with her peaks and angles, like in this photo:
Of course, beautiful symmetry is also a nice distraction from less than lovely architectural features such as thermostats, doorbells, and other miscellaneous things that clog up our walls.
Don’t Forget Spacing and Color
While the actual placement of items in your gallery is up to you, it seems the most successful and cohesive collections are spaced with just a few inches between the frames (or objects).
I guarantee, with an eye-catching and original gallery like this, NO ONE is going to be noticing your drab, apartment-white walls!
There’s so many options when it comes to gallery walls – from a tasteful small grouping of favorite objects to a huge collection that covers an entire wall. Would you like me to talk about ideas for finding and making affordable art for that wall?
Stay tuned, because I’m finally getting to try my hand at a gallery wall, as part of our basement makeover. And I might get a little wacky with it. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever hung on a wall and called art?