Gallery Art Walls on the Cheap

Our dear customers' collection of vintage paint by number artwork. Now that's a gallery wall. See the post we originally featured them in here.

Our dear customers' collection of vintage paint by number artwork. Now that's a gallery wall. See the post we originally featured them in here.

Gallery walls can make a big impact and bring personality into your space–nothing really says you like a collection of art you've hand picked to display on your wall. However, when you're on a budget, gallery walls can get expensive! Just frames themselves can be pricey, let alone the artwork that goes into them. Because we believe your heart, not your budget, should determine what to hang on your gallery wall, we've put together a few tips for creating gallery walls on the cheap. 

You probably already own art you love: use it

Maybe you don't realize that your grandmother's old scarf is actually a piece of art that you could include on your gallery wall. Or that beautiful image on the side of a cardboard box that you keep staring at in the recycling bin actually belongs on your wall. When it comes to art, we feel what speaks to you is a very personal choice, so don't let pre-conceived ideas of what art should be hold you back from identifying and embracing art you already own and love.

The framed scarf on the top left belonged to my Grandma Tanner. -Palmer

The framed scarf on the top left belonged to my Grandma Tanner. -Palmer

Don't stick to paper, consider objects on your wall

Along the same lines, when searching your home for things you already own and love to include in your gallery wall, don't limit yourself to paper artwork (paintings, photographs, etc). Think big and weird. Things like masks, plates, baskets, rugs, blankets (to name a few) make great additions to gallery walls. Not only do you get to see something you love every day on your wall, your gallery wall automatically becomes more interesting and captivating by breaking up the traditional artwork.

We've hung a variety of objects on the wall including a macrame owl by House Sparrow Fine Nesting, a piece of driftwood, a basket, a vintage oil painting and a wooden display rack/mirror. This gallery wall may be unconventional, but I sure as hell can't stop looking at it.

We've hung a variety of objects on the wall including a macrame owl by House Sparrow Fine Nesting, a piece of driftwood, a basket, a vintage oil painting and a wooden display rack/mirror. This gallery wall may be unconventional, but I sure as hell can't stop looking at it.

vintage objects on gallery wall
How many pieces do you need to call your wall a gallery wall? Either way, this collection of vintage baskets is so full of texture and warmth.

How many pieces do you need to call your wall a gallery wall? Either way, this collection of vintage baskets is so full of texture and warmth.

Use your thrifting skills for frames

Pro tip: find old, cheap artwork at thrift stores, then steal the frames. We don't mean to actually steal the frame from the thrift store (what kind of people do you think we are?), but steal the frame from the cheap, old artwork and use it for your good artwork. Frames found at thrift stores, estate sales and garage sales are usually waaaaaay cheaper (and potentially better) than new framing. Though you may get lucky and score a few matching frames, part of the fun of a gallery wall is to mix it up, right? If you're in Tulsa, check out our favorite thrift stores.

Although I still need to hide my TV cord and patch a hole in the wall, I'm on my way to a family photo gallery wall in my bedroom. I used a mix of thrift store finds and new frames. -Palmer

Although I still need to hide my TV cord and patch a hole in the wall, I'm on my way to a family photo gallery wall in my bedroom. I used a mix of thrift store finds and new frames. -Palmer

Look at all those thrift store frames! It seems like a crime against childhood to take that "All I need to know I learned in kindergarten" poster out of its frame. You should figure out what day the half-price days are, so the frames are even cheaper!

Look at all those thrift store frames! It seems like a crime against childhood to take that "All I need to know I learned in kindergarten" poster out of its frame. You should figure out what day the half-price days are, so the frames are even cheaper!

So lucky for us, we have a friend with a mat cutter, so we simply cut mats to make our art fit in the frames. You could take good notes on the size of your art and hunt for perfectly sized frames (very possible), print some art to fit the frames sizes you have, or take the art and the frames to a hobby store and ask them to cut the mats (a little more cost, but still way below the cost of having them do the framing.).

So lucky for us, we have a friend with a mat cutter, so we simply cut mats to make our art fit in the frames. You could take good notes on the size of your art and hunt for perfectly sized frames (very possible), print some art to fit the frames sizes you have, or take the art and the frames to a hobby store and ask them to cut the mats (a little more cost, but still way below the cost of having them do the framing.).

The final product of collecting gallery wall frames from thrift stores. Look how lovely!

The final product of collecting gallery wall frames from thrift stores. Look how lovely!

Try alternative ways of attaching art to the wall

Using other methods of attaching things to the wall can save money and add even more personality to your gallery wall. One of the cheapest and easiest methods is taping! Who here hasn't used washi tape as a temporary attachment and then left it? Whether you left it because you are lazy or because you thought it looks good doesn't really matter. The fact is, washi tape can look very nice on a gallery wall if done right. Other hanging options include wooden clip hangers (vintage ones are best) and the old wire and clothespin method.

We've used washi tape to hang the vintage flash cards here. Even without frames, these postcards look awesome.

We've used washi tape to hang the vintage flash cards here. Even without frames, these postcards look awesome.

Create your gallery wall over time

Don't feel like you have to rush out and have ten pieces of art you love over a weekend. Start with what you already own. If you own five things you love and want to display, then just hang five to start at first. It's better to run the risk of having to adjust your gallery wall after a year rather than to fill it with things you don't absolutely love. Things will find you over time. Let them.

Ashley Daly is collecting vintage landscapes for her dining room wall. She didn't want to compromise for the sake of speed and plans to hang and rearrange as need be to complete this wall. 

Ashley Daly is collecting vintage landscapes for her dining room wall. She didn't want to compromise for the sake of speed and plans to hang and rearrange as need be to complete this wall. 

Share your walls with us

We'd love to see and hear about the gallery walls in your home. Share them on Instagram with #rdathome.

In this sunroom gallery wall, Palmer did several of the pieces herself. See more in this before and after post. 

In this sunroom gallery wall, Palmer did several of the pieces herself. See more in this before and after post. 

Photo Credit: KET Photography

Photo Credit: KET Photography

Pin for later!

Pin for later!

 

No joke. Your home will look ten times better after we tell you what to do. :)