Gallery Wall + Canopy Bed = 😍


Do you ever have projects around your house that you just always put off til next weekend? Like, "Oh yeah, that thing...maybe we can do it this weekend!" and then you just never do? Because you really want to do it but then your fear of perfection takes over and Netflix beckons and you just curl into a ball and remind yourself that there's always next week, or next month...

That was my gallery wall. We moved into our apartment a full year and a half ago. Being the hard-core Type A person that I am, I designed the whole place in SketchUp, placed all the art and furniture, and blasted through the design and install. Bed...check. Storage walls...check. Curtain install...check. Done done done. 

Except the damn gallery wall. I had great art and a super cool concept, but every time I contemplated doing it, my mind just recoiled from the idea and decided it was not the right day and I needed to plan it a bit more first and maybe get things framed or get some new pieces or...I just kept inventing reasons why the project needed to be put off. 


I finally conquered the perfectionism monster, and went for it. 

And folks, it's good. REAL good. I'm in LOVE. 

I know we've all seen gallery walls a million times, and there is an endless 'ARE THEY STILL IN!?!??!"  debate on all the design sites. My take is that they are 100% timeless, but there are definitely ways that you can think about making them feel more fresh and modern, you know, to keep it interesting. SPICE IT UP. Love requires work, people! We can still love gallery walls! We just have to put in a little effort! Appreciate them again!!! Find new ways to connect!!! 

Oops, I'm sorry--an over-enthusiastic marriage counselor stole my computer and wrote the end of the last paragraph. I'm back now to talk about design. Sorry for the interruption. Ahem. 

Okay, so here's our spicy hot juicy fresh gallery wall project, piping hot fresh out the oven (now I'm a chef? Maybe i should get a metaphor consultant...)



This is what our apartment has looked like for about a year. We moved in, got it to this point, and then life took over. I always intended that big wall behind the bed and shelves to be a big crazy whimsical gallery wall, with art that floated behind the canopy bed frames and interacted with the shelves. Kind of like this: 

gallery wall sketchup.jpg

Here's my SketchUp model of my apartment (which I use constantly to test new design ideas!). This is where I first started working out the concept for this gallery wall. I really liked the idea that the art didn't respect the grid of the canopy or the shelves, that instead it was like a wild, free, organic thing that just floated behind the rigid square stuff. A lot of my art is more traditional, like family heirloom kind of stuff and a lot of vintage finds, so I wanted to hang it in a way that feels more modern and unexpected. (See earlier tantrum about "spicing up" the gallery wall). 

Okay, so once I had the SketchUp model, it was time to make it real!

First step: We took down all the old placeholder art so we have a blank wall to work with. 

Second step: I took an iPhone photo of the space with the blank wall, and then I look at all our available art pieces to start deciding on a layout. I did a quick sketch--I mean REAL quick, nothing fancy--using the iPhone photo markup tool. Here's what that looked like: 

Photo Feb 25, 3 11 36 PM.jpg

Pretty cool right? I posted this to Instagram and got a lot of very encouraging feedback on the concept :) I was excited to dive in!

But I needed a backup plan. We were a little worried that it would be super difficult to move the is kind of a beast, and has lots of stuff stored under it. I was also worried that the freeform art placement wouldn't agree with the stud layout of the wall. The wall is covered in homosote (we live in an artist building, so it's basically like a big corkboard covered in paint!), and I wasn't sure we would be able to use anchors in it very effectively. So I made another option, in case the dream option didn't work. 


In this version, we would just work within the shape of the bedframe, still getting an organic vibe but without the cool effect of the canopy bed intersecting the artwork. Not as dreamy as I had imagined, but definitely could be beautiful. And your girl likes to have a backup plan, let's be real.

BUT SPOILER ALERT: luckily the bed moved out pretty easily, and the wall stud placement cooperated with us, so all our dreams came true and now I'm gonna show you how!!!

Okay, so here's how we started. 

I found the biggest, baddest piece of art we had and decided that it was going to be the focal point of the arrangement. That's Step 1. 

Then, I decided on a second, medium-size piece to be the other anchor point for the composition, like so:

gallery wall step 2.png

The last step is layering in all of the smaller pieces adjacent to the big ones. 

gallery wall step 3.png

Andddddd finally here are some design principles we used to make everything look intentional instead of messy or like a mistake:

  1. When you are arranging the pieces, make sure you overlap them significantly with the bedframe, so there is plenty of space between the edge of the art and the edge of the canopy bed. You want both shapes to be clearly visible and easy to distinguish.
  2. The art should either fully and confidently intersect the bedframe, or fully sit outside of it. No indecisiveness here, folks. TAKE A STAND.
gallery wall text.png

So when you put it all together, the process looked something like this!!


It took a while, and some trial and error, to get it right. But when it was right, it was really really really really right. Like REALLY right. Check this out. 


Okay so that last one is just a self-indulgent picture of a cabbage and eucalyptus arrangement, but SO WHAT it's gorgeous!!!

I am SO SO SO happy with this result. It's been over a year of dreaming and now I can just look over to the right and there it is, all my pretty arts floating on the wall irreverently, with the serene canopy bed just chilling in front unperturbed. LOVE.

One of my favorite photographers shot it today using the fancy camera and I can't wait to show you guys. 

What do you think? Would you pair a gallery wall with a canopy bed? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!!