September 01, 2021

Gallery Wall Above Sofa: Top 5 Design Secrets

Gallery Wall Above Sofa: Top 5 Design Secrets

Updated 6/10/22

Below are our top 5 design secrets to keep in mind when designing your own gallery wall above your couch. These are our key tips and suggestions we have gathered during our time running MK Envision Galleries and working with interior designers. We hope you get some inspiration from this list and will be off designing your own living room gallery wall this weekend!

If you are looking for a deeper dive into planning out a gallery wall in your home, including layouts, hanging tips, and more ideas and inspiration, click here to learn about the Gallery Wall Guide.  


Gallery Wall Design Secret #1: Pick a theme

Though gallery walls are by design an assortment of various artworks (and eclectic can work very well), a theme can help add order to the chaos.  The theme can be a color scheme, subject matter, or uniform frames.  The image below has all three elements aligned for a very cohesive look - a black and white color scheme, a minimalist coastal theme and uniform black frames. You can build your own or shop curated gallery wall collections for ideas.

Some theme ideas include nature art prints, black and white art prints, abstract wall art, coastal art prints, travel pictures, or choose a color scheme to stick with. 

  Coastal Black and White Gallery Wall

Shop the look: Monochromatic Coast Gallery Wall Collection


Gallery Wall Design Secret #2: Use the two-thirds rule

As a general rule, the “wingspan” of the gallery wall above your sofa should be no wider than two-thirds the length of the couch.  This tends to be pleasing to the eye and won’t compete with the furniture.

Designer Pro Tip: The lowest piece should be 5-8” above the sofa.


Shop the look: Cafe Arcade by John Scanlan


Gallery Wall Design Secret #3: Play with mixed media

Mixed media is a great way to add interest and personalization to gallery walls, and collecting various types of art and momentos can be part of the fun.  Sketches, photographs, abstract art, paintings, a feather in a shadow box frame, your kid’s finger painting from school... possibilities are endless!

Pictured below is a picture ledge gallery wall - an easy way to swap out art more frequently. This variety of media includes photographs, paintings and sketches, all unified by black frames and an earthy theme.


Shop the look: Calle de Blanco & Road to Brunello by John Scanlan


Gallery Wall Design Secret #4: Alternate horizontal and vertical

If you are struggling with the layout, alternating horizontal and vertical orientation is a design tip that often helps your gallery wall take shape.  

Designer Pro Tip: Space your art 2-3” apart from each other in each direction.

   Nature Gallery Wall

 Shop the look: Equinox Gallery Wall


Gallery Wall Design Secret #5: Tape gallery wall layout on the wall

Once you know the general layout you want to create, this extra step is well worth the effort.  Cut out representations true to size of each of your art pieces and tape them on your wall, moving them around until you are happy with the result.  

Pro Tip: Start with the bottom, most central pieces first and work your way out and up.

For more layout ideas, check out our article Gallery Wall Layouts & Tips.



Building your own personalize gallery wall can be a fun creative process, but for some of us we would rather leave the curating to the experts! If you are looking for curated, ready-to-hang gallery walls shop gallery wall collections here.


Wanderlust Gallery Wall

Shop the look: Wanderlust Gallery Wall Collection


Ready to get started designing your own gallery wall? 

For more detailed step-by-step instructions and more practical tips for hanging a staircase gallery wall, check out our complete Gallery Wall Guide

Gallery Wall Guide


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See something you like but not sure how it will look on your wall at home? Learn about our free Try Before You Buy offer.

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