How to Design a Gallery Wall

March 24, 2021

How to Design a Gallery Wall

A cohesive gallery wall is a beautiful thing. When all of the elements come together, the look can be harmonious as well as intriguing. Some of our favorite items can be paired together to build a unique and aesthetically pleasing gallery wall. Whether you’re looking for seamless cohesion or whimsical mix-and-match, we’ll help you build your perfect gallery wall right in your own home.

What you’ll need

Get out the tape measure, level, electric drill and screws, and your patience-- you’re going to need it all. Gallery walls can be intimidating, yet the payoff is more than worth it. Grab a friend to help hang large items and for a second opinion. 

Tackle that blank wall by mapping out your items. Create a miniature drawing on paper and mark intended nail/screw holes right on the wall in pencil. This will keep the number of holes in your wall to a minimum. 

Choose your items

Don’t just order framed prints in bulk just for the sake of building a gallery wall-- the beauty comes in a curated collection. Spend time hunting down items of significance, like an antique map of your hometown or a framed vintage travel poster


Build a collection of antique Americana with us! We can help you get started on a collection, or add to an existing one. Whether you're interested in a particular person of history, point in time, artist or artistic style, we can show you the items that will fit perfecting in your collection.

Figure out your style

What’s your style? Are you into funky and cool, or orderly and clean? Gallery walls can look different depending on who is putting them together. Before you start, determine what kind of style you are looking for. Do you want a lot of items closely clustered together, or would you prefer larger pieces that make a statement with enough space in between? Discover your style and match it with the other decor in your home/space.


Now's the time to get items on the wall!


Play with sizes

Start by placing larger and more significant pieces on the wall first. This way, you can compliment them with smaller framed items in the space surrounding. Use an electric drill and screws for larger, heavier pieces. Smaller and lighter items can be hung with hooks and nails, using a hammer.


Make notes of the spacing that you wish to leave between pieces, and try to replicate it for each item that is mounted on the wall. This will give the look of harmony, no matter how large or small the items are.


Gallery walls work best when there is some form of repetition or pattern. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to be boring about it! To start, pull in items of different sizes and shapes. Be sure to use a combination of both horizontal and vertical pieces.



Think thematically

Thematic walls are successful; they tell a story! While our store is based on antique Americana, our items can come in many different forms. From presidential signatures to authentic prints to vibrant and colorful posters, these items can begin to look out of place if themes are not taken into account. 

Try a framed vintage map of New York City with an authentic travel poster for Pennsylvania Railroad that advertises New York. Even though these items are quite different visually and in terms of maker, date of production, and style, they fit together thematically. 


You can choose to group items together with similar aesthetic styles, or contextually. Also consider the way that a viewer's eye will travel across the wall; do you want them to start in the middle and move outwards, or from left to right? Using larger pieces at the "start" of your wall will help to guide the viewer.

Don’t ignore colors

Are you team color or team neutral? No matter your preference, it’s crucial to pay attention to the colors you are using on your wall. Colors in the items or frames make a big difference in the overall presentation.

Don't shy away from color! Adding in a pop of color to your wall helps to draw the eye to different places. This can be colors inside the art pieces themselves, on the frames, or even with paint on the wall.


Some of our items are naturally neutral, like our early broadsides of the Declaration of Independence, which is just black and white. We hype it up with elegant and decorative archival frames, often accentuated with gold and ornate details. Pairing frames with similar styles together on your wall will give you a cohesive look.

Also in Blog

The Beautiful and the Damned: Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Beautiful and the Damned: Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald

September 20, 2023

The Beautiful and the Damned, published in 1922 by F. Scott Fitzgerald, presents the reader with a fictionalized telling of the perpetually problematic relationship between Zelda and Frances Scott Key Fitzgerald.  The novel is not only a landmark in the career of F. Scott Fitzgerald, but a glimpse into past high-societies wrapped up in a rebound cover of blue leather and hand-worked gilding. 

View full article →

JFK and James Bond
JFK and James Bond

August 29, 2023

President John F. Kennedy was a fan of Ian Fleming’s spy novels, and helped propel him to fame in the American market.

View full article →

California in Three Maps
California in Three Maps

August 23, 2023

California has a very interesting mapping history. During and after the Mexican-American War, efforts to map California increased. Once gold was discovered in 1848, cartographers, geographers, and business men hurried to survey the land, lay claim to it, and, ultimately, market it to Americans heading west. When California joined the Union as the thirty-first state in 1851, interest in plotting California's landscapes skyrocketed in tandem with its population. Explore the history of California with these three maps from our collection. 

View full article →