How To Design an Asymmetrical Gallery Photo Wall

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

We recently renovated the "formal" living room in our house and transformed it into a casual office and sitting room. I promise I will show you a full tour soon! But one of my first priorities when dreaming up the essentials for this space was a Photo Gallery Wall. It's the focal point of the room when you first walk in.

The photo display itself spans 8 feet wide. So the process of planning it out was a bit trickier than I expected. I wanted it to be asymmetrical and have a collected feel in terms of the placement. But I kept it cohesive by using all Ikea frames.

STEP 1  // Buy or collect all desired frames. All frames here are from Ikea's RIBBA, SONDRUM, and FAGELSTA collections with the exception of two which I shopped in my own house for.  For a true asymmetrical look, I chose all different sizes. And I love the look of white and wood together, so I mixed the two in a subtle way.

STEP 2  //  Measure the desired wall space you would like to cover. For mine, it was approximately 8 feet wide by 4 feet high. You'll need to know this before starting your arrangement.

STEP 3  //  Lay a large sheet of paper on the floor the same size of the wall space you plan to use. This will be used as your gallery template.

STEP 4  //  Play around with the placement of the frames by arranging them on top of the paper in a way that is pleasing to your eye. I tried many different iterations! I suggest you start in the middle with a frame or two that anchors the arrangement, then work your way out.

STEP 6  //  Once you've settled on the arrangement, use a pencil to trace around the edges of the frames. Take a photo of your final arrangement so that you have it as a reference, because you then need to remove all the frames to reveal your template. Finally, cut out each section that represents one of your frames.

STEP 7  //  Tape the cut-out template onto your wall space. The tricky part is getting this level!

STEP 7  //  Begin hanging your frames! I used 3M Command Velcro Hanging Strips for this entire wall. I absolutely love them. They are easy to use and they don't require 100 nail holes. I prepared each frame on the floor with the velcro strips then placed each frame in it's very own little cut-out puzzle piece. Please note: I used this template as a general guide because it's not exact math, nor is it going to be exactly level. So the template helped me with placement but NOT with exact measurements on leveling. I used a level app on my phone to make sure I was keeping things straight before adhering them to the wall. But even so, I am not a perfectionist. I did a lot of eye-balling, I'll be honest. That's the beauty of asymmetry.

STEP 8  //  Once you really got the hang of it, and feel extra comfortable with the eye-balling, go ahead and untape the paper template and peel it off the wall. You'll have to stand back in between each frame to watch the progress and make sure you're still happy with the arrangement. This is when you can go rogue if you wish and make changes as you go.

I am super happy with the way mine turned out. Here are a few up-close shots of the framed art. There's a mix of family shots, wedding shots, vacation shots, and personal moments.


Frames:  Ikea RIBBA, SONDRUM, and FAGELSTA collections
Framed Photography:  Me
Art Print:  "Be Thou My Vision" by Patrick Laurent for

Full room tour with sources coming soon!



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