Give walls a new lease of life with creative displays and
DIY galleries. Gabrielle Fagan finds out how.
Let’s face it, staring at the same bland four walls every day when
you’re holed up at home can really dampen the spirits. So why not wake
them up a bit, by displaying some photos and art?
This could be the perfect way to showcase your favourite images (and
create an impressive backdrop for all those Zoom and Houseparty
sessions), plus it’ll help keep the space fresh and interesting during
You might not have a Picasso hidden away in the loft, or a stash of
prints to hand. But you probably have got loads of brilliant photos
stored on your laptop and phone that you could simply print off and
frame, or have professionally transformed into works of art.
Wondering where to begin? Here, Clare Moreton, from bespoke photo wall
art specialists CEWE Photoworld, shares seven top tips on how to use
images to transform your home…
- Mix and match
“Get creative by designing a gallery wall that’s eclectic, with a mix of
styles, sizes and types of print that will transform any room into a
bright, eye-catching space,” says Moreton. “Combine framed photos with
typographic prints, currently so on-trend, and maybe art deco-style
“Avoid a bland and rigid approach,” she adds, “this should be free-flow
to suit your taste, so use a mixture of colours and patterns.”
PICTURE THIS: There are no hard-and-fast rules on creating the perfect
design. But to give the arrangement cohesion and focus, place your
largest item in a central position first, and then add smaller items
By all means, use a spirit level to make sure pictures are level, but in
the end trust your eye: dado rails and ceilings, especially in older
properties, are not always level.
- Lean on me
“There’s no reason to think you need to hang all of your artwork in
order for it to look great on display,” says Moreton.
“It may not be possible anyway, if you live in a rented property and
there are restrictions on what you can do. That doesn’t mean you can’t
have a gallery.
“Make the most of your fireplace, units and shelves by simply stacking
and leaning your prints and framed photographs on them. It’s an arty and
simple way to introduce colour and design to your home and you can
simply refresh the look by introducing new pieces whenever you want.”
PICTURE THIS: Choose frames carefully and it will pay dividends
visually. They don’t have to be pricey – you can paint old frames with
spray paint or chalk paint to get the look you want.
- Natural perspective
“If you’re craving the great outdoors in these difficult times, and who
isn’t, create a corner in your room inspired by the natural world,”
“Vertical and horizontal panoramic canvases are a modern and versatile
way to introduce colour and style into difficult-to-fill spaces. A mix
of close-ups and views will add interest, but keep to a colour theme for
the most striking display.”
PICTURE THIS: Don’t hang works of art too high on the wall – a common
mistake. The ideal height of the centre of a picture (if there’s no
furniture below it) is between about 155-160cm off the ground.’
- Seeing double
“There is nothing more stylish and classic than a symmetrical gallery
wall,” Moreton enthuses. “Interior decorators often double up – on
everything from a pair of chairs or end tables to two floor lamps, on
either side of a fireplace or bed. It essentially creates two matching
halves and adds up to one visually appealing room.
“To really make your symmetrical gallery wall stand out, choose images
that share a common colour theme. Monochrome or sepia always work well,”
PICTURE THIS: Choose prints in identical sizes and in matching frames,
hang symmetrically and keep an equal amount of space between each photo
(around two inches) for a chic and modern take.
- Stop and stair!
“Choosing a common theme across your displayed artwork can really help
to bring the whole wall together,” Moreton points out.
“It’s also a great way to showcase your unique style and bring focus to
something you’re passionate about. It can be anything from nautical
paintings for a fresh seaside theme, or a display of photos of your pets
alongside prints with your favourite inspirational quotes.”
PICTURE THIS: An arrangement of prints is an easy way to enliven a
neglected corner, like a landing or along a stairway. Do bear in mind
that if there’s a lot of traffic up and down stairs though, especially
children, picture fixings should be secure. It may be necessary to
anchor either side of the back of the frame.
- Look back in time
“If you have old albums of family photos, this could be the perfect time
to sort them out, get them copied and create a montage of your family
‘through the ages’,” says Moreton.
“These photos are special and will evoke a positive emotional response
when you see them, putting a smile on your face and allowing you to
reminisce over wonderful memories each day.”
PICTURE THIS: Curate images so that you follow a theme, which could be
baby pictures from each generation grouped into one frame, or family
groups in another.
Alternatively, follow one family member’s pictorial story in a set of
single frames. If you’re really creative, insert sections of
hand-written letters from family members appropriate to the era between
the photos, to further evoke the time.
- Window on the world
“It’s got to be armchair travel only for the moment. But displaying
photos of your holidays and journeys, whether here or in faraway places,
will remind you of happy times and is a truly personal way to decorate a
wall,” says Moreton.
PICTURE THIS: Experiment with different styles, textures and tones to
bring photos to life. If you’re grouping your own family shots consider
placing a professionally shot image of the location you’ve visited at
the centre of the arrangement or frame a map of the area to add