Gallery Style Picture Walls

Present your pictures museum-style
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The long white wall in your hall looks empty and sterile like a hospital hallway? Your living room in an old building is huge and has high ceilings? Whenever there are big areas and nothing to guide your eye, you can use your own photos to set accents and create structure. Here, we show you the opportunities you have with hanging pictures in a row, gallery-style.

Numerous Variations for small and big rooms

How you hang your pictures depends on your personal taste and preference and will also depend on the layout of the wall. There are numerous variations for hanging pictures, which interior decorators will refer to in their own jargon:

  • The Petersburg Hanging for instance, refers to hanging numerous, mostly smaller pictures in different formats closely next to and above each other, in what appears to be an unordered, chaotic way. The result will always feel slightly nostalgic and will remind of the sitting rooms many centuries ago.
  • The Raster Hanging on the other hand refers to pictures of the same format that are being hung horizontally and vertically in a chessboard pattern. The result appears organised and modern.

The above-mentioned variations are best suited for small, intimate areas, in which the viewing distance of the pictures is rather small.

Row arrangement gallery-style

The earlier mentioned big, empty hall wall areas are often best suited for row arrangements: here several large prints in the same format and with the same finish or frame are being arranged next to each other, with identical spacing in between them.hängt.

This style of hanging reminds of the presentation of pieces of art in galleries. You will achieve an elegant, clean and understated look, which works excellent in long, straight hallways or big, minimalistic furnished rooms.

Step-by-step instructions for achieving the gallery-style

The process is very simple:

  1. Choose a suitable number of your favourite pictures. Pay attention to choosing pictures which are identical in their width-to-height-ratio – e.g. 16:9 upright format or 3:2 landscape format, etc. You will achieve the best effect if all the pictures have an optical bracket or common theme, which connect the pictures with each other. These could potentially be the colours (all pictures are black and white or all pictures in pastel colours) or the motif (flowers or children’s pictures) etc. Strong contrasts work equally well. However, this requires a sure instinct in order to beautifully balance the colours and shapes to create the desired effect.
  2. Use an unexpected element to create a “wowing” effect: for instance break the row of pictures with a mirror, which ideally has the same format as the photo prints. An intriguing element could also be a colour print in a row of black and white prints.
  3. Print the pictures at home first and arrange them in the desired order. This will help you to choose which arrangement will give you the desired effect.
  4. As soon as you have made your choice, order a large print of each of your pictures. Shadow gap frames tend to be particularly suitable in order to perfect the gallery style.
  5. When hanging the pictures stick to the rule of thumb to hang the prints at eye level. But of course everything is allowed that you like – sometimes you can achieve a fascinating effect if pictures are hung closer to the ceiling.

Accentuate with the right lighting

The icing on the cake would be the professional lighting of your photo gallery – this will ensure for perfect staging of your pictures.

The easiest way is to include the positioning of power outlets when planning the room, for instance during the renovating or building phase of your home. You generally do not have that advantage in rented properties. In this case you should utilise thin and optically unobtrusive cable links to conceal any cables.

Further there are potential pitfalls when planning for lightning, which you should be aware of: for example, if you are planning on presenting your photos as acrylic prints you should never place them opposite a strong light source. This is how you avoid unappealing reflections in the glass.

It is a lot better to illuminate pictures from an angle of the top. Depending on the desired effect single spots, picture lights or track lighting will be best.

Ceiling Spots

Well suited are ceiling spots, which directly illuminate single pictures. They can be sunk into the ceiling or be hung by using a robe system. They allow you to exactly adjust the direction of illumination. Use bundled halogen lights so that every light source only illuminates its allocated picture and not too much of the wall surrounding it. This will direct the attention perfectly to you photographic artworks.

A rule of thumb is: ceiling spots should be positioned so that the rays of light hit the middle of the picture at an angle of 30 degree.

If for example the angle is only 10 degree (if the spots are positioned close to the wall and point almost vertically down) it will create long shadows under the picture. If the source of light is positioned to far away so that for example the light would hit the picture at a 45 degree angle, there will be reflections on the surface of the picture.

Depending on your eye-level a distance of roughly half a meter to a meter from the wall would be ideal.

Track lighting systems

Track lightning systems on the ceiling are an excellent solution. Nowadays there are plenty attractive and minimalistic looking systems available. When equipped with the correct lamps they offer as opposed to spots some advantages: they are easier to install as well as flexible. While removing sunk in spots would definitely include plasterwork, modern track lighting systems can be removed at any point in time and be reattached in a different place easily.

Picture lighting

You can selectively stage single pictures if you install special picture lighting on the picture frame. The transformers of most lighting sources are so thin that they can be easily and invisibly mounted behind the picture. Modern picture lighting comes in contemporary and chic designs and act as additional room decoration.


You do not necessarily need to illuminate each and every single photo but could opt for a wallwasher. These are available in a range of versions – sunk into the ceiling, mounted on the ceiling or on a track system. Further, they can be mounted on the wall or even on the floor and spread the light a lot wider than spots or picture lighting. The whole wall will be brightly illuminated: the room itself does not receive any indirect lightning.

This technique is preferred by a lot of modern galleries. It creates contemporary and casual look. Due to the evenly distributed illumination of the wall the pictures can be easily rearranged, changed or moved.


There is no “wrong” way of beautifying one’s own home with photos. However, we do believe, that the clean and professional row arrangement gallery-style could be exactly the right thing if you would like to stage your large artworks in a captivating way!

Petersburg hanging

Petersburg hanging: Nostalgic effect despite the chaos.

Raster Hanging

Raster Hanging: Provides an organised, modern look.

Row hanging

Row hanging: Reminds of the presentation of artwork in galleries.

Optical brackets

Optical brackets: Connects your pictures with a special element.

Shadow gap frames

Shadow gap frames: Provide your pictures with the perfect gallery style.

Ceiling spots

Ceiling spots: Directs the attention exactly on your masterpieces.

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