How to Style an Empty Wall Using Photos—and More

It’s easy to plot and procrastinate on styling an empty wall. (For one thing, there are so many possibilities!) Should you measure? Probably. Arrange your photos and items ahead of time? Sure. But the most important part, even more important than getting your photo wall picture perfect? It’s giving your treasured photos—and wall sculptures, paintings, mementos and more—the presentation they deserve. And the best part? You don’t need a lot of space to create a beautiful, personal gallery wall.

So, whether you are working with a corner, staircase, living room, bathroom or kitchen wall, check out these photo wall ideas for using more than just photographs, then have fun creating your own.

Step #1: Grab Your Supplies

These include tape, a pair of scissors, a pencil and paper. (Okay—you might also need a stud finder for heavy items, a measuring tape, nails, a hammer and a drill, but we’re teaching you how to style here.)

Step #2: Evaluate the Space

In our featured space, we have crown molding, a dining table and chair, a statement chandelier, and a floor mirror to work around. What are some unique features in your space? How do they affect sight lines? And how can you use those features to add to the gallery wall?Empty room with plain white walls

Step #3: Choose Your Pieces

This might be the most time-consuming portion of the whole process. Choosing the right pieces for your style is important. But repeat after us: spackling exists and style changes.

Tip: Use a mix of framed photographs, works on canvas and other wall art to round out the look.

Step #4: Lay Out Your Floor Plan

Create a space on your floor to lay out the look before you bring out the hammer. Arrange all the pieces you’ve chosen in one space, step back and breathe. Does it feel right? Keep rearranging until it does. There’s always at least one change that happens during this process.

Step #5: Snap a Pic

You shouldn’t need any assistance with this one—an iPhone shot will do.

Step #6: Trace, Cut and Tape Up Paper Templates

Ahh, don’t you just love the feeling of gliding scissors through paper? Cut out paper stand-ins for all chosen pieces and arrange them on the wall using masking tape. Consult your reference photo as you go, and don’t be afraid to make small tweaks or dramatic changes wherever needed.

Tip: The center of your art should be at eye level. Choose a consistent measurement between frames (for example, two inches). Start in the middle and work in a grid.Hand peeling paper down

Tip: Save time when hanging by making a nail guide. Simply evaluate where your hook is on the back of your frame (all frames vary) and make a matching mark with pencil on your paper.

Step #7: Hang

Here comes the fun part when all your hard work comes to life. Depending on your wall material, the availability of studs and the weight of your art, hammer nails or drive screws—using wall plugs as needed—into the marks on the templates. Once they’re all complete, triumphantly rip away the papers. Hang all of the pieces and step back to admire your new gallery.

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