Out In Style: Collage à Trois

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A gallery wall of framed art.
A gallery wall of framed art.

Once I got to the big-box frame store, I commandeered a 15’ x 8’ space on the floor and started to lay everything out. It’s funny how many unsolicited opinions you get, seasoned with salt, while planning a gallery wall amid middle-aged, Midwestern women.

Well, anyway. Putting together a gallery wall, or as I call it, a Collage à Trois, is an incredibly rewarding process. Collecting meaningful photographs and artwork, be it around your house or after a successful day antiquing, helps you a) slow down your mind a bit and b) create something really meaningful. With each piece that you first lay out on the floor to be hung, you begin to get into this zone, becoming mindful of the cadence of memories you are showcasing.

Consider gallery walls in hallways of course, but I prefer to put them in other spaces, like foyers, living rooms and bathrooms. And, if you already have an accent wall with wallpaper or color, that’s usually a good contender for floor-to-ceiling gallery walls, adding depth and texture.

Here are a few key principles that I like to consider when planning a gallery wall:

Frames: I prefer to use all very similarly sized frames and same style regardless of what I’m framing. Don’t be afraid to put a unique 5” x 7” piece of art in a huge matted frame, for example. Using frames that are similar sizes and styles isn’t the only way though, and if you want more texture, you can go completely rogue and make every frame vastly different from the next.

Space: As I mentioned, I think open walls are great for floor-to-ceiling gallery walls. I’ve hung pieces nearly on the floor, and up toward the ceiling just because it was the perfect place for what I was framing. In a smaller space, like a hallway, it also adds height, often making the hallway ceilings feel taller. Or, when planning it out, start with your favorite piece that you’re hanging, make that central, and work your way out from there.

How many: A gallery wall can be “tons of shit” hanging on the wall, like my client wanted, or simply three large pieces that complement one another. Using poster-sized frames in groups of three is a gentle, minimalist way to create a handsome gallery wall. Have any recessed lighting nearby? Even better. Use that to create cohesion between the pieces.

So now you have a fun project for the weekend, and feel free to send me pictures of your own Collage à Trois creations. Who doesn’t love a threesome of…art?

@jedwarddesign