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The Salon Wall

December 20, 2021

gallery wall how to guide

A BRIEF HISTORY & HOW-TO GUIDE

A common problem with collecting art is that over time, we run out of space to display it all. Have more art than you do walls? One solution that makes a statement is to create a salon wall, also known as a gallery wall for a maximalist, more is more aesthetic.

Originating in France, “salon walls” have become quite popular and mainstream. Up until the late 17th century, owning art was highly exclusive and only affordable to the very wealthy. Coinciding with the French Revolution where a new middle class emerged, the demand for access to art and culture increased. The first Salon was curated by the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in Paris in 1670. It was held as an exhibition for recent graduates of the École des Beaux-Arts to display their artwork for a semi-public audience. Every inch of wall space was filled with art from floor to ceiling, allowing viewers to take it all in.

The modern gallery wall is inspired by the maximalist style of the original salons and allows a collection of artwork to be displayed together. Here are 3 different ways you can design, curate and hang a gallery wall in your home:
 

GRIDDED WALL

For a clean, more minimal look, go with a gridded wall, pictured above.

  • Usually a grouping of 6 or more pieces of framed art.
  • Include works of art that are all the same size with the same style of frame, like these Petite Gems by Penny Taylor.
  • Choose a larger wall and stack many smalls horizontally (i.e. 3 rows of 3 or 3 rows of 6).
  • Can add an extra dramatic flare if the work is graphic in nature and relates to each other (i.e. same artist or series).

 

ECLECTIC

eclectic gallery wall

For a more bohemian and chic look that echoes the maximalist aesthetic of the traditional salon, choose an eclectic design.

  • Include a mix of different frames, sizes and shapes.
  • This can be a collection of all of your favourite things and can include small mirrors or sculptures, for example.
  • Choose a larger feature piece and build the rest of your collection around it.
  • Hang art close together, keeping a border of approximately 2 inches of space around each piece. 

     

    STREAMLINED

    streamlined gallery wall

    Photo via Pinterest

     For a more cohesive asymmetrical look, design a streamlined gallery wall which is somewhere between the grid and eclectic styles.

    • Choose artwork that is framed in the same style & colour, but is different in shape & size.
    • Only include artworks that relate to each other either in colour, texture or theme.
    • For a version that leans more towards a grid style, align all of your pieces in some way (i.e. top, bottom, to one side, or draw a line in the middle like the above example) and build it out from there.
     

    HANGING & INSTALLATION TIPS

    • For a dramatic effect, consider painting your wall a bold colour. Salon walls look amazing against a dramatic colour like a deep red, royal blue or charcoal. Of course choose a colour that works with your interior and complements the artwork you intend to hang.
    • Add a floating shelf of art into the mix. Framed art also looks really great leaning and stacked against each other.
    • Pull out everything you want to include in your gallery wall and lay it out on the floor so you can play around with the design and spacing before you attempt to hang it.
    • Generally a border of 2-4 inches between artworks is a nice amount.
    • Use painter’s tape to map out your design directly on the wall.
    • Hang art on two secure points (rather than potentially using the wire on the back of the frame). This way your wall will always stay in perfect alignment. If you prefer to hang by wire, use two hooks spaced well apart. This is especially important for gridded walls.
    • A level is your best friend during installation of a gallery wall. Always make sure artwork  is level before measuring the distance to your next piece or it will be off.
    photo hanging tipsart hanging tips

    As lovers of art and salons, Akasha Art began as an art gallery in Toronto in 2010(?) and has since evolved into akasha art editions; an online gallery helping you discover limited-edition fine art prints. Peruse our growing collection of artworks here for your next gallery wall project.

    Looking for help with custom framing? Visit Akasha Art Projects.

     

    Written by Kayla Stanistreet





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