5 Clever Substitutions For A Gallery Wall

As far as trends go, the gallery wall has become an old standby, waxing and waning in popularity slightly throughout the years. Although you may attribute the trend to the present day, the modern gallery wall is a direct evolution of the salon style of hanging art. Dating to 1667, this style originated at the Royal Academy salon in Paris, where the works of students and seasoned artists alike were displayed utilizing the entire wall space in order to accommodate all the art during showcases (via Polk Museum of Art).

Even if you love the look of a gallery wall, odds are you've had a chance to try one in your own space by now and may be ready for something new. We've compiled some of our favorite stylish alternatives that provide similar visual interest to a wall, but with a fresh twist that you may not have considered.

1. Picture ledge gallery

The customizable nature of a picture ledge gallery makes it more versatile than a traditional gallery wall. Once you choose a location for your ledge, you have the freedom to change its contents whenever you please without worrying about hanging more picture frames on the wall or having to get the layout just right. Framebridge recommends locating your ledge gallery above a large piece of furniture such as a couch, desk, table, or bed. Shop around for a ledge that is the desired length for the space and complements the style of the rest of your space. There are numerous options available at most stores that sell furniture and decor.

Once you have your ledge hung in the desired location, you have tons of freedom to customize the final look! Play around with different arrangements of framed or unframed artworks, photos, books, knickknacks, and other mementos. You can hang multiple rows of ledges to more closely emulate a gallery wall and fill more wall space if desired.

2. Basket wall

A quick search of the term "basket wall" on Instagram reveals tons of dreamy inspiration for walls decorated with a gallery of beautiful baskets instead of traditional framed art. In addition to creating an eye-catching style moment, basket walls provide an interesting textural element to a space and are an easy way to incorporate natural materials into your home. Take to the thrift store to source baskets on the cheap, or make it a habit to collect them from different places if you're a frequent traveler.

To create your gallery, the social enterprise lifestyle brand Meridian provides a helpful trick involving some translucent fishing line. First, arrange your baskets on the floor until you're happy with the overall look. Meridian recommends taking a picture on your phone for easy reference while hanging the baskets on the wall. Next, loop a piece of fishing line through the weave of the center of the basket and secure it with a knot on the back. Now you have a convenient loop to use to hang the basket on any small nail, picture hanger, or command hook.

3. Curio cabinet

If trinkets tickle you more than framed art, a curio cabinet or cubby shadow box might make a more satisfying display for you than a gallery of ho-hum picture frames. Cubby display shelves can frequently be found on sites like Etsy and Wayfair. If you're crafty, you could DIY a custom cubby box out of wooden craft boards like bloggers John and Sherry of Young House Love did for the low cost of $20 at Home Depot.

Good candidates to fill your cubby shelf or cabinet include figurines, stones, small pottery or sculptures, photos, travel mementos, seashells, succulents, and any other small object that sparks joy. The final result invites the eye to wander amongst your display of tiny treasures, making for a delightful way to display prized items. A similar approach could be made with a glass cabinet or a series of small cube shelves arranged on a wall.

4. Oversized statement piece

While you may have employed the use of a gallery wall, have you ever considered doing the opposite? Why not fill a wall with one massive artwork you absolutely love? Interior designer and color professional Samantha Bacon at Making Your Home Beautiful advises that statement artwork should be hung at eye level and that the scale and style especially need to suit the space.

Additionally, statement pieces are sure to draw the eye. This should be used to your advantage to distract from eyesores and not in competition with a beautiful window view or other eye-catching visual display, Bacon notes. This could mean strategically placing your statement piece in a room with an air conditioner or lack of an appealing window view.

The subject of your statement art could be anything that you love to look at — but make sure that you really do, since it's going to command the room! This could be a painting, a photo, a print, or even a quilt or tapestry. For an extra eye-catching element, opt for a bold frame.

5. Plant wall

Take your houseplant obsession to the next level by making a green statement with a lush plant wall. This emerging trend can be created with real plants or with faux ones, for those of us without a green thumb.

Plants on Walls instructs that you should first ensure that your wall gets enough light if you're going for the living plant route, such as from a skylight or large window opposite the wall. Opt for easier-to-care for plants for the best results, and make sure you're ready for the commitment to care for your new living decor. You can purchase plant wall systems that are ready to go, such as the offerings from LiveWall or Florafelt.

For a faux plant wall, there is more freedom to rig a DIY set-up since you don't have to worry about maintaining the plants. Faux flower company Silks Are Forever supplies easy instructions to create your own realistic plant wall masterpiece with the use of a wooden frame and pink insulation serving as the base for the faux plants of your choosing.