3 Gallery Wall Tips & Tricks to Remember

A little part of us will always miss our teenage days of poster-covered rooms, but thanks to gallery walls, our adolescent masterpieces are getting a glow up. The heart of a gallery wall is about curating a space with things that you love, so we’re rounding up the gallery wall tips and tricks that keep your display looking fun, fresh and full of personality.

Gallery wall showing various styles of art on a wall painted Rock Candy SW 6231.
Featured Color: Rock Candy SW 6231 (Wall)

Start with Art

Before you get into the nitty-gritty of levels and measurements, it’s important to remember that every gallery wall starts with art. Whether you love abstract prints or showing off your photographs, these colorful displays tell your story in a way that’s eclectic and cohesive. Finding that balance through a shared accent color or repeated style is the key to creating a seamless collection of perfectly mismatched art.

BONUS TIP: Vary it up! Gallery walls aren’t limited to prints. Adding unexpected details with decorative items like mirrors and letters can add instant dimension.

Animation showing various styles of wall art on different colored backgrounds.
Featured Colors: Snowbelt SW 9623, Limón Fresco SW 9030, Inkwell SW 6992 (Wall)

Find the Perfect Backdrop Color

Color works like glue to tie everything together, so it’s essential to find a shade that complements the artwork. While a neutral slate of white or gray is always an option, it doesn’t mean you have to shy away from being bolder. Sometimes darker or richer backdrops can bring out the lighter values in your art. This optical trick makes them visually pop off the walls instead of blending in.

BONUS TIP: Use a Color to Go®️ sample to paint a test swatch on your wall. Once the paint is dry, you can hold up the artwork next to the color to make sure it’s the perfect fit.

Lay it Out

Working straight on the surface might be tempting, but when it comes to gallery walls, the proof is in the planning. Measure the area your gallery wall is covering and clear up floor space so you can recreate the dimensions on the ground using painter’s tape. This trick creates a visual framework where you can plan your layout without anything being permanent.

Not sure where to go from here? Always start with your gallery wall’s focal point. Whether it’s physically the largest, or stylistically the loudest, find that attention-grabbing addition and use it to anchor your gallery wall. All of the other pieces can fall into place as you mix and match around the focal point.

BONUS TIP: Take a picture of your arrangement while it’s on the ground, so you have a visual reference when you’re ready to hang everything.

Even with these gallery wall tips and tricks, the bottom line will always be, do what you love – it’s the secret ‘it’ factor behind any DIY. If you’re looking for a twist on gallery walls, check out our Entryway Gallery Wall project for a new take and don’t forget to tag your finished displays on social with #SWColorLove.

26 Comments

  1. I look forward to my Sherwin Williams updates. They are informative and helpful in deciding the color and direction of my rooms. Seeing a visual of how things are done, especially during this pandemic , is extremely beneficial.

    Leslie Carrasquillo
  2. I would like to see a medium purple with pearl glaze or glitter

    Rhonda McCoy
  3. Want to paint my dining room. Ceiling, moldings and chair rail are staying all white.
    Want a light blue with gray undertones (not beige) as main color and a little darker
    coordinating color for under the chair rail. Suggestions Please

    Marguerite Pisano
  4. I find the colors in the past year or so darkly depressing. I have seen black cupboards (EEK) and very dreary grays. Thank you for showing pops of real color that are classic rather than a passing phase Thank you!

  5. Received your email with Rock Candy as color of the month a couple days ago. Today my contractor painted my living, dining, Florida rooms that beautiful color. Can’t be more pleased.

    Hillary Manny
  6. I’m in the process of selecting a shade of white for my kitchen cabinets. I think I’m going with Agreeable grey on walls. What is a good softer shade of white that’s not to bright. Thanks

    • Sherwin-Williams

      Hi Linda! Any of these warm whites below would look great with Agreeable Gray. Look at:
      White Duck SW 7010
      Futon SW 7101
      Whitetail SW 7103

      Sherwin-Williams
  7. Good afternoon. Do you think antique white and useful gray can be used together?
    Thank you!

    • Sherwin-Williams

      Antique White and Useful Gray are very pretty; however, they are too close in tone. Would you be open to going one shade darker with your gray? Consider pairing Antique White SW 6119 with Analytical Gray SW 7051.

      Sherwin-Williams
  8. Thank you for your response. My kitchen cabinets are currently painted Useful Gray and the island is Analytical Grey. The walls are Believable Buff and I was hoping to go with Antique White in order to avoid repainting the entire house. My dining room, which is not connected to the kitchen, is Believable Buff and I definitely do not want to repaint that room. Are there other colors that would blend with Believable Buff as well as Useful Gray? Thank you so much…I fear I’ve got everything in a mess.

  9. Hello, I forgot to ask if you think Believable Buff will work with the Useful Gray? Thanks again !!

  10. What color kitchen walls should I paint my kitchen to go with my light cherry cabinets that have a reddish/ orange undertone. Backsplash is light beige/tan I would paint my cabinets in a heartbeat if they weren’t so expensive

    Debra Aberdale
    • Sherwin-Williams

      Hi Debra! Fear not, you don’t have to paint your beautiful cabinetry. Instead, look at these soft and subtle green-grays for your kitchen. Any of the colors below will complement the undertones in your cabinets and make them “pop”. Take a look at:
      Sea Salt SW 6204
      Silverpointe SW 7653
      Comfort Gray SW 6205

      Sherwin-Williams
  11. I’m considering painting my kitchen cabinets a soft white. Balanced beige is in my dining room, hallway and living room. What would be a good color choice for the cabinets and a complementary wall color for the kitchen/ dining area.
    Also, I want to paint my family room off the dining area a blue that would compliment the balanced beige in my hallway and whatever you suggest for the kitchen/dining area. I’d like all the rooms to tie together in the same color tones. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  12. Hi! I have a totally open concept with a lot of high ceilings and big walls and different architecture and substance. I did the family room in repose gray with a naval accent wall…. the family room is the only separate space but you can see it from kitchen. I was thinking of doing a large accent wall that covers the kitchen and dining area in naval but then I wanted two more colors to go with it. One color for most of the walls and another color for a large pillar wall….. I wanted to stay tranquil and airy. Do you have any suggestions? Also what other blue goes with naval? We have gray floors. Thanks!

  13. I have a small bedroom 11 x 11 that has white furniture.my daughter wants the paint on the walls to be grey.I am thinking I should avoid a light grey that may make the room look larger but yet washed out.Should I use a med. color grey instead.there is one window and a closet in the room.

    Char gubanche
    • Sherwin-Williams

      Hi Char! Either option would work depending on the mood you are trying to convey. If you choose to go with a light gray, like Drift of Mist SW 9166, your room will have a soft, ethereal mood. If you choose to do a medium gray, like Light French Gray SW 0055, your room will have a modern casual look. Also, the medium gray will really make your white furniture “pop”.

      Sherwin-Williams
  14. Hi, I am planning on painting my 12×15 living room Drift of Mist, but would like to do accent wall in a darker gray. That accent wall will not have any furniture against it, but a dark TV unit. I was planning on dover white for my trim. I have a cream leather couch and a dark gray granite colored leather sofa and chair. 2 windows and morning sunlight.
    Any suggestions would be a huge help.
    Thank You!

    • Sherwin-Williams

      Hi Shawn, check out these darker grays, they will look fantastic:
      Cityscape SW 7067
      Classic French Gray SW 0077
      Gray Shingle SW 7670

      Sherwin-Williams
  15. We are building a 2100 sq foot house that will sorta look like a cottage / farmhouse with wrap around porch and shed roof upstairs. We are building our house on our daughter’s flower farm. Her office/tiny house will me painted naval with white trim. A bigger workshop in back will also be painted naval. The buildings will be close to our house. We need need an exterior color that will blend to theirs. Our architect mentioned that we should paint our home white and trim with naval around windows(no shutters since farmhouse look). I just have a hard time with that look. What do you think? Help!

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