Forget Gallery Walls, I'm All About Gallery Corners Now

Corner with plant and vintage gallery wall.

Lauren Zillinger for Laura Metzler Photography 

Every single apartment I ever lived in—yes, even my first studio in New York City and my small space in graduate school—has featured a gallery wall of some kind. You would think that after eight years and five apartments, I would be able to construct a gallery wall in my sleep, but there’s always at least a little bit of trial and error involved—thank goodness for spackle. 

One thing I have gotten better at over time, though, is thinking beyond the obvious and  constructing gallery walls in various nooks within my home rather than simply going the standard, above-the-sofa route. For example, in my current space, I took a small corner in my dining area and turned it into a full-on art display, thanks to my favorite framed pieces and a little creativity. 

Small dining area with window and gallery wall.

Lauren Zillinger for Laura Metzler Photography 

Admittedly, I was inspired to hang my artwork there because my rental has what I’ll call some...architectural constraints. While I’m thrilled to have a space large enough to fit my dining table and several chairs, the actual nook is a bit strange-looking and isn’t the prettiest from every angle.

Long story short, the previous renters opted to apply chalkboard paint to an entire wall, and no, I’m not allowed to paint it over—believe me, I’ve asked. Because I’m by no means a chalk artist, I opted to simply let that wall be and draw the eye elsewhere—hence the start of my gallery corner. 

Because I’m by no means a chalk artist, I opted to simply let that wall be and draw the eye elsewhere—hence the start of my gallery corner. 

Take a quick glance at my setup, and you’ll notice quite a few face-themed pieces. However, gallery walls certainly don’t need to have a theme tying them together. I simply realized that over time, I had accumulated many colorful pieces of roughly the same size, including a variety of portraits, and thought they would look nice grouped alongside each other.

While a few of these were vintage pieces I had purchased pre-framed, others were simply prints or canvases I’d picked up here and there. Without breaking the bank, I ordered frames for $20 or less via H&M Home and Amazon—problem solved. I’ll note that none of the works hanging here are pieces I’ve brought into a professional framer. If you do choose to go that route to preserve a special find, I’m all for it, but most of the time, DIY framing will do the job wonderfully. 

When I originally hung this corner gallery wall, I left a bit of white space remaining so that I could hang additional pieces as I pleased. I’m so glad that I had the foresight to do this, because I’m someone who seems to never stop accumulating artwork, and I love to weave my latest finds into my setup when possible.

Close up of vintage art in gallery wall.

Lauren Zillinger for Laura Metzler Photography 

Additionally, since most of my pieces were self-framed and therefore don’t have a sealed backing, it’s easy for me to take them out and replace them with new finds. This is yet another reason why framing pieces on your own is great—it’s oh-so-easy to change up a space in just a few simple steps. Simply tuck the original piece of art behind the new one or place it in a file folder for safekeeping. 

If you have a corner that could use a bit of makeover, I couldn’t recommend a gallery wall more. Whether you’re tackling a space in the living room, bedroom, or even in a bathroom, you truly can’t ever go wrong with incorporating artwork.

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