9.08.2011

Gallery Crawl

I LOVE me a good gallery wall... LOVE! There is something so refreshing and slightly unexpected about combining the architectural quality it lends a wall space along with the visual emphasis and personal sentiments it so poignantly displays. Creating a gallery space in your home is so uniquely specific to each and every person, each and every style aesthetic, and each and every personality type. It is truly a fingerprint in the home and a looking glass into your signature persona for all to see.

For the neat-freak, perfectionists (like me) keeping the gallery completely streamlined offers a timeless and modern feel. The display becomes an ode to symmetry, order, and reflects the careful and purposeful balance you maintain in your life. It recalls a sense of dignity, control, and considerate decisions. Use black and white or sepia prints in thick white mats and frames to create a graphic, architectural, and unified look from afar that begs guests to curiously venture closer to decipher the memories that have been captured in time.
I love this one. To make an unexpected architectural statement display unique prints or images that don't necessarily need to be seen or examined closely but that mesh well together and create a surprising visual montage. It is perfectly okay and even applauded to completely ignore the "pictures must be hung at eye level rule." Hang them wherever you please! It certainly makes a daring, bold, and dramatic statement that is sure to have house guests buzzing about your innovative gusto and creative genius. Here again, keeping the images in the same tone (sepia) and utilizing the same bronzed frames and thick white mats allows the gallery display to become more of an architectural feature-melting into the bones of the space- as oppose to a cluster of conflicting pictures and portraits.

Take your gallery to a new level (literally) and "wallpaper" your space with it. This creates the most substantial impact and works best in smaller niches such as a breakfast nook, guest bedroom, or any small scale room so as to not become completely overwhelming. You can take several approaches to this however in "wallpapering" your space with frames it works best to combine different sized frames, different wood tones along with metals, different mat thicknesses and mat colors, and even differing content within the frames themselves in order to keep things consistently interesting and stimulating to the eye- otherwise you will quickly loose visual interest and impact as the "wow" factor of the above accent displays will dissipate over a larger terrain. 



When using varied and contrasting frames/mats/visual content it is imperatively important to a lot careful consideration to composition. At this scale the frames and pictures within them become an installation art form and must be treated as such. Prior to hanging the pieces it is necessary to draw out, lay out on the floor, or mentally visualize how the frames will look once vertical. Ensure that your grouping disperses the varied tones, colors, and contents in a way that is visually pleasing and that avoids "clusters" of like items. "Clusters" will quickly fracture the visual flow and impact of your gallery creating an undesired "stopping point" for the eye. The point is the keep the eye continually moving and glancing over the display and to do so you must avoid saturation and concentration of dark frames, bold patterns and colors, like mats/frames combos. These will quickly steal the thunder of the show.

An easy way to avoid "clusters" is to keep the frames/mats/ photos in the same color like the mono tonal frames in the first two pictures. In this case black frames with white matts. The key to visual interest here is that even though the frames and contents are the same- they aren't. Some frames do not have mats, some do (and if they do they are all white), some mats are thicker than others, some frames are thicker than others, the frames still vary in size and orientation (vertical or horizontally displayed), and some circular and oval shaped frames were thrown in to further vary the mix (again, be careful in positioning these as to disperse the focus they will demand- don't create "clusters"). Therefore the gallery still retains visual impact and diversity but minimizes visual chaos by retaining a calming tonal semblance. If you like this look but are unsure about the dramatic statement the black makes you can utilize the same white mat with white frame look as seen above for less contrast- again, ensure variation in sizes, shapes, and orientations.

Gallery displays are great for long and meandering hallways. They provide visual stimulation and architectural direction. This can be done in black and white and neutral tones for a calmer effect but I say go bold or go home! Pick your favorite color, or a color that works well with your decor and don't be hesitant to use that on your frames. Having a hard time finding colored frames? Spray paint dear. This allows you to utilize frames with varying details while maintaining order. When utilizing this approach it is important to keep the content of the frames neutral/similar. Black and white or sepia only. Otherwise, you will add visual clutter and chaos to this very bold statement and the impact of the frames will be lost in translation. In order to avoid a formal, museum feel hang the pictures slightly off kilter. This creates movement and dynamism to a layout that could very easily become stuffy.

For the boldest and bravest these layouts are for you. These are less of an architectural ploy as they are merely an unapologetic declaration of your brazen style and personality. The last gallery display we are discussing today has no rules, formations, or guidelines. Basically, if you love it...nail it! Pictures, mirrors, prints, posters, book covers, framed scarves, things not  in frames...anything and everything goes in this eclectic and eccentric display. Regards to "clusters" still somewhat apply but as far as the content of your gallery- the sky's the limit! In this case the emphasis should be on hanging the brightest colors, boldest patterns, funkiest frames, puniest qualms and quotes, most interesting pictures, and most curious objects. This works well in playful spaces such as bonus rooms, children's rooms, or play rooms.



Please tell me...what is your gallery style? Which layout strikes you the most?
I would love to hear your feedback!

Nail it Down, Loves,

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