Mapping Out Your Gallery Wall

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer and Labor Day marks the unofficial end (despite the fact that temps here reached 100 today). So, even though summer’s not really over yet, we are all diving head first into fall. Out of the heat, into the fall layers, kids are getting back to school, and our fall projects are lining up.

Gallery Wall 012Gallery Wall 0

For me, things will start to settle down a little bit as every night and weekend won’t be jammed packed with running around (whether for me or for clients), and I should be able to get some projects done around my own house!I need to put the finishing touches on the bedroom still and then take some pictures of that space to share with you all here and I can think of about a dozen other things I’d like to do around the house as well.

The first thing on my list, and something with probably the largest impact is to finish hanging our gallery wall. These pictures are from early Spring of this year when I had one of my friends over to take some pictures for the blog to not only map out my own gallery wall, but to document the process to share with all of you as well. About six weeks after these pictures were taken, we had a few friends over for brunch, and as I had been so busy, I hadn’t made time to get the gallery wall hung at that time. The morning before we were meeting with them, I broke out my notes from this planning session and started to try and get the gallery wall up on the wall. I was able to hang one painting before we needed to head out to meet our friends and I’m ashamed to say that that one painting is still the only one up on the wall.

But then, that’s life, right?! So now I want to share with you the process of mapping out your very own gallery wall, and how I mapped out mine, and then hopefully in a week (or so…) I will be able to share more pictures of my gallery wall completed!!

The process:

  1. First things first, you need to know the size of the space you intend to display your art on, so break out your tape measure and get to measuring. note the width (more important for now), and we will come back to the height later.
  2. Once you know how wide your space is, use your tape measure, some blue painter’s tape and your trusty assistant to mark out the width of your gallery on the floor.
  3. Get all of your frames and pieces of art together in one place so you can see what you have to work with.
  4. Once you have a good visual, start laying the larger pieces into your mapped out space.
  5. Build out from the larger pieces with smaller pieces, keeping in mind your spacing. Each area should use the same spacing so that the pieces group well and look balanced even when using different sized pieces and different styled frames.
  6. Swap out pieces to find the arrangement that you like the best and then take pictures so you can remember what it looks like in case you put it off for 6 months.
  7. Measure the overall height and width of your gallery wall. The center of the overall height of the gallery should sit at 57″ from the floor, placing the gallery at a good viewing level for yourself and your guests.
  8. Measure the spacing between your groupings as well as the spacing from the edges of the tape (your available hanging space) to the edges of the outermost pieces.
  9. Lastly, measure from the overall top of your gallery wall to the top of your central piece or your largest pieces and the overall edge of your gallery wall to the edge of your central piece(s), as you will hang these pieces first.

Once you have your gallery all mapped out, and your measurements determined and noted, you can clean up your mess on the floor and then start mapping out your hanging on the wall. Depending on your overall height of your gallery wall (x) and the measurement you got from the top or bottom to the center of this piece (y), you can determine where the screw will need to go. (x/2) will sit at 57″ from the ground. So if your gallery wall is 40″ tall, then it will span from 37″-77″ in height. Again, I like to break out my handy blue painter’s tape and mark the top and bottom of my gallery wall off so that I can use them as a reference while I’m working through hanging the pieces without having to measure it over and over again.

To begin hanging, I always start with the largest piece that sits most centrally located in the wall, or in my case, I have two large pieces balanced out with several smaller pieces, so I started with the largest piece on the left. Using hanging wire to support the pictures, pull the wire on the back to where it would sit if it were hanging on the wall, and measure from the top of the frame to that point (a). Add this measurement to the measurement that you got from number 9 and jot this down. this is the distance from the top of the gallery wall space to the height you will put the screw in at.

Next you need to use the overall width of your gallery wall, and the width from the edge (again, noted in 9), measure from the edge of the picture to the center (where the screw will go), add these two together and you will have the position of your first screw.

It sounds like a lot of steps, but once you have your first piece hung, you will build out the wall from there. You have all of your spacing measured and noted from mapping out your gallery wall on the floor, so you can easily fill in the wall with the rest of your frames until it is complete!

Is your head spinning yet?? What projects do you have planned out for the fall? Hopefully I can get this project wrapped up soon, with lots of images to document the process so I can share more with you soon.

Images By Lindsay Perry, click to expand.

Work In Progress… {Putting Pen to Paper}

… Or in my case, I always use the same type of pencils. I keep an overflowing quantity of them on my desk at home and in the office at all times. Putting pencil to paper for me is how everything really starts unfolding in the design process. After meeting with clients and discussing their wants and needs for the space, I go home and lay it all out.

Finding the Right Layout

This is a layered process, and I mean that very literally. The way that I typically work through a space is by first drawing the shell and giving myself an outline of the immovable space we are confined to for the project. Then, I make copies, and from those copies I layer in the different elements of the space working to see if we can get all the wants and needs into the space. Most of the time there is a compromise that has to take place. Something big is required (by code or by client) so something else less important has to take the backseat.

For each project, this process is different. For some clients, it is very cut and dried and only takes one draft; for others it can take dozens. I just finished a kitchen plan that was very straight forward with the space allowances, the clients requirements and the materials we specified. It took one first draft and the final was essentially the same with some minor tweaks. Simultaneously I am working on two separate bathroom spaces, an expansive master on-suite and a small family bathroom in a farmhouse. Both are much more complicated and have taken several drafts to get on the right level with the space, the client must haves and the necessary design details.

This process can be frustratingly drawn out and can take a long time. I wish it was all easy..but going through the motions for me also helps solidify the design we move forward with knowing that it is the best option and that all other options have been drawn out and considered.

Hand Drawing Detail 1

A lot of my clients ask if I’m going to send them a computerized drawing of their space and plan when we do our initial meeting, and although I have learned software programs while I was in design school, there is something about putting pen to paper that is so much more valuable to me and my process than clicking the mouse a few times. Maybe someday I’ll go all fancy and switch to the software, but I love the practice of drawing plans and spaces. From a creative standpoint, it also allows me to connect with the space so much better and really see the layouts take their best shape.

I thought it would be fun to share a bit about my process when I get started on a new job as it starts to take shape, especially as there has been a ton of drafting and re-drafting of plans happening around here lately.

Basic White Tee

That moment when you wake up late, you have nothing in your closet to wear, you didn’t pick anything out the night before and you are running late just standing there trying to put an outfit together; the basic white tee shirt will always come to your rescue.

Basic White Tee

What is it about this simple shirt that works so well for any day? It is so versatile. You can dress it up or keep it casual depending on what you pair with it. It can go with jeans or a pencil skirt seamlessly. Add a cardigan, a statement necklace and your favorite booties, and voila, outfit perfection.

The same can be said for your basic home furnishings and that is why I love using neutral whites and beiges for the larger pieces in a space. These are the pieces you aren’t going to change all the time. You want them to be flexible enough to go with whatever accent pieces you are going to bring into the room that week/month/season. They should feel effortless, like they just fit the space.

The lines of the piece should represent your style and taste, but using a neutral just makes the piece work overtime for you. This way you can be sure you really get the most life out of your staple furnishings.

We have a light greige sofa, that has lived in two different homes with us now, each with their own style or theme, and it always works for us and for the space. We have a beige-y neutral platform bed and headboard with simple lines that has been in the same two homes as well with a lot of changing bedding, paint colors, and accent pieces and it always works.

If you are looking to splurge on a new piece for your home and you plan to keep it for a long time, try going with a neutral, you might surprise yourself with how much you like it and even more how you like its flexibility.