Salon-Style Art Hanging and Gallery Wall: A Guide

A Guide to Salon-Style Art Hanging

Salon-style art hanging is a timeless tradition that traces back to the 1600s in Europe, epitomizing the era's rich cultural heritage and artistic spirit. This unique arrangement method was pioneered in the salons of the French Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, where artworks were displayed from floor to ceiling, showcasing an eclectic mix of subjects, sizes, and styles. This historical backdrop sets the stage for understanding the essence and allure of salon-style hanging art in contemporary settings.

What is Salon-Style Art Hanging? What It Means

At its core, salon-style art hanging is more than just a method of displaying art; it's a statement of personal taste, an expression of creative chaos, and a reflection of the curator's vision. 

Salon-style gallery walls harmonize various art forms, from original paintings to contemporary photography and 3D sculptures, into a densely arranged yet carefully curated visual tapestry that invites viewers on a cohesive narrative journey. This eclectic mix not only celebrates diversity in art but also encourages viewers to find artwork that resonates on a personal level. The salon style's inherent flexibility allows for an intimate and immersive exploration of art, making it an ideal choice for those looking to decorate with art in a meaningful and impactful way.

Choosing the Right Space for a Gallery Wall

Creating a salon style art hanging is not just about selecting art; choosing a suitable space within your home or office is also crucial. Here are key considerations and steps to select the perfect space for your salon-style gallery wall, ensuring it enhances the aesthetics and atmosphere of any room.

Assess Your Space

Start by looking around your home to find a wall that seems inviting for a gallery. Larger spaces typically work best, offering ample room for a salon-style hang. Consider walls in living rooms, dining areas, or long hallways that can serve as a canvas for your curated chaos of art. The ideal wall should be one that receives a good amount of natural light, although this is optional, as good lighting can always be added to highlight the artwork.

Consider the Room's Function

The function of the room can influence the mood and selection of your artwork. For example, a gallery wall in a bedroom might feature calming and serene artwork, while a living room or hallway can accommodate more eclectic and vibrant selections. This consideration ensures that the art contributes to the room's overall ambiance.

Mix and Match with Purpose

When choosing the right space, also consider the potential to mix and match different art forms. Salon style hanging art isn't just about putting together original paintings; it's about creating a dialogue between various mediums. This could include contemporary photography, prints, and even sculptural elements. The key is to find artwork that, when combined, tells a story or evokes a particular feeling, transforming blank walls into a dynamic gallery.

Wall Color and Texture

The background wall color and texture play a significant role in making your art pop. Neutral or muted wall colors typically work best, allowing the artwork to stand out without competing for attention. However, don't shy away from bold colors if your collection can stand up to them. The texture of the wall, whether smooth or with a bit of character, can add an extra layer of interest to your gallery wall.

Room for Expansion

Choose a space that allows for the potential expansion of your collection. One of the joys of salon-style gallery walls is their ability to grow and evolve over time. Your gallery wall can be reconfigured or expanded to include new treasures as you find artwork that speaks to you.

Curating Your Collection

Building a salon-style gallery wall is an art in itself. It's about more than just hanging artwork; it's about curating a collection that reflects your taste, tells a story, and creates a visual impact whether you're drawn to original paintings, printmaking, or a mix of mediums; here's how to curate a collection that will breathe life into your walls and spaces.

Start with What You Love

The first step in curating your collection is to start with what you love. This might sound simple, but it's the foundation of a gallery wall that resonates with you. Explore different genres, artists, and mediums. Don't limit yourself to what you think should be on your wall; look for works that evoke emotion and interest. EDEN Gallery's collections provide a wide array of options to explore and find artwork that speaks to you.

Mix Mediums and Styles

One of the hallmarks of salon-style gallery walls is the eclectic mix of mediums and styles. Combine original works of art with prints, and even sculptures or textile art. This diversity adds depth and interest to your collection, allowing each work to stand out while contributing to the overall composition. It's this curated chaos that brings energy and life to the space.

Consider Color and Theme

While mixing mediums and styles, consider your collection's color scheme and theme. Some gallery walls focus on monochromatic schemes, while others embrace a rainbow of colors. Decide if you want your wall to have a cohesive theme, like nature, portraits, or abstracts, or prefer a more eclectic approach. Themes and colors guide your art selection process, making it easier to decide which works of art to include.

Vary Sizes and Frames

To add visual interest to your gallery wall, vary the sizes and frames of your artwork. Larger works can serve as anchors for your collection, while smaller pieces fill in the gaps and add complexity. Frames, too, can be mixed and matched—consider different materials, colors, and styles to enhance the individuality of each work. Remember, the variety in size and framing contributes to the dynamic nature of a salon-style hang.

Embrace Personal Items

A truly personalized gallery wall includes not just artwork but also personal items that hold significance. These could be anything from a vintage poster to a handwritten letter or a photograph that holds special memories. Incorporating these items into your collection adds a unique touch that makes your gallery wall unique.

How to Find Art

Discovering art to enhance your collection is more accessible than ever. Dive into a world of inspiration across various platforms, such as social media, online galleries, and websites dedicated to art. Explore diverse mediums and styles, from original paintings to contemporary photography, to find pieces that speak to you. Be aware of local galleries, estate sales, and museums as treasure troves for unique finds. Remember, building an art collection is a continuous adventure, allowing your taste and budget to guide you to high-quality art that resonates.

Mapping it Out

After curating your eclectic mix of artwork, the next step is to bring your salon-style gallery wall to life. This involves careful planning and a bit of creativity to ensure that your collection is displayed to its best advantage. Mapping out your gallery wall before hanging any artwork is crucial to achieving a harmonious yet dynamic display. Here's how to create a layout mockup and experiment with different layouts to find the perfect arrangement for your space.

Gather Your Artwork

Before you start hammering nails into the wall, gather all the pieces you intend to include in your gallery wall. This allows you to see everything you have to work with and start thinking about how different works might fit together. Remember, the salon style gallery wall is all about mixing and matching, so embrace the variety of your collection.

Create a Floor Layout

Start by laying out your artwork on the floor. This gives you a flat surface to experiment with different arrangements without the commitment of putting holes in your wall. Arrange and rearrange your pieces until you find a layout that feels balanced and cohesive. Pay attention to the flow of colors, themes, and sizes, ensuring that there's a rhythm to how your eyes move across the collection.

Use Paper Templates

Using paper templates is an effective technique for mapping out your gallery wall. Cut out paper pieces to match the sizes of your frames and tape them to the wall where you plan to hang the artwork. This method allows you to visualize the gallery on your wall and make adjustments easily. You can experiment with spacing, alignment, and composition without damaging your walls or artwork.

Consider Spacing and Alignment

When it comes to salon-style hanging, there's no strict rule about spacing and alignment, but a little consistency can help create a more cohesive look. Aim for relatively consistent spacing between your pieces, typically 2-3 inches, to allow each piece to stand out while still being part of the overall display. Consider aligning artworks along a central horizontal line or ensuring that the outer edges create a loose rectangle or square to define the gallery space.

Experiment with Different Layouts

Don't settle on the first layout you create. Try out several arrangements to see which one speaks to you the most. You might discover a new way of grouping your artwork that highlights different pieces or creates a more striking visual impact. This experimentation phase is your chance to play with the narrative and emotional flow of your gallery wall.

Start with Anchor Pieces

Begin by hanging the anchor pieces of your collection. These are usually the largest or most impactful artworks that will draw the eye and serve as focal points. Position these pieces first, as they will guide the placement of the smaller artworks around them. Consider hanging these central pieces at eye level, which is about 57 to 60 inches from the floor to the artwork's center.

Work Outward from the Center

After placing your anchor pieces, start adding the smaller artworks around them, working your way outwards. Refer back to your layout mockup as a guide, but allow for flexibility. The distances between frames don't need to be uniform, but aiming for about 2-3 inches of spacing can help maintain a cohesive look. Use your level to keep artwork straight, especially those adjacent to each other.

How to Hang Art Salon-Style

After meticulously selecting your space, curating your collection, and planning your layout, the final step is to hang your artwork. This stage is where your vision comes to life, transforming a blank wall into a personal museum. Hanging art salon-style involves a blend of precision and creativity, allowing for a bit of imperfection to add character. Here's how to hang your artwork to achieve a stunning salon-style gallery wall.

Gather Your Tools and Materials

Before you begin, make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials. You'll need a hammer, nails, picture hangers (for heavier pieces), a level, measuring tape, a pencil, and potentially wall anchors if you're hanging heavier items. Having everything on hand will make the process smoother and more efficient.

Use Picture Hanging Strips for Easy Adjustments

For an easier way to hang artwork and make future adjustments, consider using picture hanging strips. These strips are handy for lighter frames and allow you to remove and reposition artwork without leaving holes in your walls. They're ideal for renters or those who like to update their gallery walls frequently.

Step Back and Adjust

Periodically step back to review your progress from a distance. This perspective can help you see the overall balance and flow of your gallery wall. You might notice that some pieces need to be moved slightly to improve the visual harmony. It's easier to make these adjustments as you go rather than after you've hung everything.

Visit EDEN Gallery to explore a curated selection of contemporary art, including paintings, photography, and sculptures, which are ideal for crafting your salon-style gallery wall. Our collections aim to inspire and help you transform your space into a reflection of your unique taste and personality. Start your journey with us, either online or at our global locations, to find the perfect piece to complete your collection, no matter your style.


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