Here’s One Easy Way to Make Your Gallery Wall Art a Little More Interesting

Here’s One Easy Way to Make Your Gallery Wall Art a Little More Interesting

Gallery walls aren’t going anywhere, and, frankly, I’m not surprised. Sourcing unique pieces can be fun, especially if you like the thrill of the hunt, and there are plenty of tips and tricks for hanging art to make bare walls feel like a reflection of your personality. Truly, no two gallery walls ever really look the same, but sometimes, you see an art hanging idea so unique that it just stops you in your tracks. That was the case for me when I was scrolling through pictures of Charles Busch’s apartment. His home showcased a new, cool way to display framed art that could make your gallery wall — or any wall in your home — a bit more interesting, and it’s a relatively cheap and easy idea to execute.

Busch is a playwright, actor, director, novelist, and drag legend. So it tracks that his apartment in New York City’s West Village is stylish, full of character, and, of course, art. “Every few years, when I’m experiencing writer’s block and unable to get my real work done, I find myself turning to crafts,” Busch says. His best pieces of advice when it comes to decorating? Don’t be afraid of making bold design choices.

One such choice he made in his home is using picture frame molding to level up his artwork displays. In the hallway outside of his bedroom, your eye might first go to the funky patterned floral wall paper. What’s even more eye-catching though is the bright orange molding around the gold-framed print he’s hung. He’s essentially framed a frame — without extra glass but with a fairly wide black mat as a border — to make the wall look even fuller and fancier than before.

It’s hard to tell whether he fashioned the frame out of picture molding himself, since his space looks like it does have lots of custom trimwork. Of course, you can go the DIY route to create this kind of trim to set off a special piece of art or a few pictures in your gallery wall. If you want a low-cost, renter-friendly way to recreate this look though, all you have to do is buy a large, inexpensive picture frame or piece of framed art from a thrift or craft store that’s significantly bigger than the artwork that’s going to be your focal point. Then, remove the glass, backing, and art from the larger frame, so that there’s nothing left but the frame itself. Choose your method of mounting it to the wall (nails or command strips are probably the best renter solutions), then hang your framed focal artwork inside of it. Considering adding a “mat” the way Busch did for even more drama (you could paint one or use contact paper).

Hanging art in your home is a great way to showcase your personal style and tell the story of your life. “I’m pleased that my apartment can be viewed as a complete expression of my personality,” Busch says. “After a study of each room, you would know just about everything important about me.” This double-framing technique is a unique way to emphasis the artwork and photos you love most.

Savannah West

Home Assistant Editor

Savannah is a master binge-watcher and home cook. When she’s not testing new recipes or re-watching Gossip Girl, you can find her on Facetime with her grandma. Savannah is a news producer turned lifestyle blogger and professional homebody. She has a bachelors in journalism from Clark Atlanta University, a certification in Digital Storytelling and is earning her Master’s degree from Harvard University. Savannah believes every day is a good day and there’s nothing good food can’t fix.

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Here’s How to Get the Gallery Wall Look That’s All Over Instagram on a Budget

Here’s How to Get the Gallery Wall Look That’s All Over Instagram on a Budget

Erica Finamore

Contributor

Erica is a New York-based home decor enthusiast who, yes, puts her books in rainbow order. Her work has appeared in Food Network Magazine, HGTV Magazine, Refinery 29, Cosmopolitan and Real Simple and others. Erica has a lot of stuff and a tiny apartment, so she is well versed in organization and space-saving hacks. In her free time Erica likes to hunt for New York’s best pancakes, do craft projects and take long-ish walks with her shaggy dachshund, Leslie Knope.

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This Is My Best Living Room Gallery Wall Hack

This Is My Best Living Room Gallery Wall Hack

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Art is personal, but it’s also expensive. When I set out to make a floor-to-ceiling gallery wall, I knew it was going to cost a pretty penny. Between buying prints, hunting down original artwork, and investing in quality mats (and a whole lot of Command strips), the costs began to climb. As my credit card balance began to inch uncomfortably high, I knew I needed to cut some expenses to keep this project from spiraling out of control. So I decided to zero in on what would have been the second most costly expense after buying art: the frames.  

I knew I could keep costs down if I invested in cheap frames, but even IKEA frames become expensive when you buy 15 of them. So I decided to get truly thrifty and hit a secondhand shop instead. You guys, I will never buy frames from a big box store again! I scored luxe Crate & Barrel frames for $2 a pop, truly fabulous ‘80s mirrored art frames for less than $3, and extra-large art frames with thick museum-quality mats for only $5, thanks to a half-off sticker! To achieve this haul, I popped into any Goodwill, Savers, or Salvation Army within a 10-mile radius of my apartment and made a beeline to their art section. Take a look at the finished composition below!

Don’t worry about the art actually inside the frames, but focus on which frames catch your eye. If you like a color, mat, or particular finish, grab it and try to envision it in your space. There’s nothing quite like the shopper’s high of finding a truly perfect piece and quickly throwing it into your cart. It makes you wonder: “Did I manifest this? Are the laws of attraction real? Or am I just really lucky and should buy a lottery ticket after this?”

When I spotted a frame that I loved, I would take it home, cut out the brown paper backing from the frame, pop out the art print inside, and replace it with my own, using kraft paper or cardboard to replace the original backing if need be. This allowed me to buy quality, heavy frames for less money than the cost of a latte, and the thick mats and heavy glass really helped to elevate some of the cheaper prints that I bought. 

While I have a bit of a chaotic aesthetic and love clashing frames, you can easily achieve a cohesive or monochromatic look if that’s more your speed (it will just take a bit more time). If you’re only looking for black frames, pop into the thrift store twice a week to see if people donated new artwork, and scope out the black frames. Sometimes you get lucky and a hotel donates its old artwork, which means there are 12 identical frames for you to grab and run to the cashier with.

It’s true that thrift shopping for gallery wall frames takes longer than simply ordering a bundle online, but if you’re looking to cut costs or want truly unique options, then thrifting is a great way to go. My gallery wall is now my favorite feature in my house, and treasure hunting for the frames was the best part. I’m slightly sad that the process is over, but maybe I can find another inch to squeeze one more piece in!

Marlen Komar

Contributor

Marlen is a writer first, vintage hoarder second, and donut fiend third. If you have a passion for finding the best taco joints in Chicago or want to talk about Doris Day movies, then she thinks an afternoon coffee date is in order.