Joanna Gaines Puts A Modern Spin On Gallery Walls (& How To Snag The Look)

Whether you follow Joanna Gaines on social media or have watched her hit show "Fixer Upper," you can tell she has an exceptional eye for detail. Combine that with her love of styling gallery walls, and it's no surprise she's always coming up with new and unique decorating ideas. That's exactly what she did when renovating a lake house in her newest spin-off series, "Fixer Upper: the Lakehouse." Using books, shelves, and texture, the renowned designer put together a floor-to-ceiling display in the home's library. The result has us gallery wall-a-holics swooning.

"But wait," you say, "aren't gallery walls out of style?" No, we're not talking about the overdone 2010s layout with many identical picture frames on a blank wall. We're talking about a gallery wall that has evolved in style tremendously. "We say gallery walls are not restricted to, well, walls," Gaines shared on her blog Magnolia. Hence, she turned to open shelves this time for added dimension, personality, and, best of all, flexibility.

The key is an open but layered look

Instead of simply loading up the shelves with art and calling it a day, Gaines pulled out her secret weapons — layers and natural textures — for a high-end look. She started with a gridded, cherry wood shelving unit and backed it with paper weave wallpaper. To finish it off, Gaines added slender brass rails in each cubby, giving the setup a more cohesive and put-together feel while also securing trinkets in place.

If you're keen on recreating this look on a budget, know that you definitely don't need a wall-spanning bookcase. But feel free to build a library wall with IKEA storage units if you have a knack for DIY. If not, even a small unit, like this mid-century modern George Oliver Bookcase for about $100 on Wayfair, will do the trick. Just don't forget to deck out the backdrop in textured wallpaper (you can get a peel-and-stick roll for under $30 on Etsy) and include brass bars on the front edges (available on Etsy as well, for as little as $5). These small but thoughtful details make all the difference between a tacky gallery wall and a tasteful one.

Put your own twist on Gaines' gallery wall

Now that we've established how Gaines is fearlessly modernizing gallery walls, it's time to give it your personal touch. For instance, maybe a bookcase is too bulky for your space. Why not use floating shelves instead? One great (and on-theme) option is this $47 Wade Logan Modern Wall Shelf Set on Wayfair — it already comes with rails as a bonus. Stack the shelves on top of each other in an awkward corner, or better yet, in a wallpapered/painted alcove to turn the space into a stylish focal point.

Moving onto the fun part: decorating the shelves. Because Gaines designed the accent wall in a library, it makes perfect sense that she chose to display books. However, there are plenty of other pieces you can highlight on your gallery wall shelf. Vinyl records, paintings, plants, treasured photos, decorative vases, sculptures, and candles are but a few. Hot tip: don't be afraid to switch things up as you go, and remember, a layered arrangement gives the eye a lot to admire. Luckily, this gallery wall idea makes it super easy to do so.