How to Create Wall Art Groupings

I was putting together an art grouping for a client the other day.  She was blown away at how quickly I put it together and got it on the wall, with very few errant nail holes even!  She had been staring at her blank wall for four years and had been paralyzed with fear  to even attempt to put together a grouping on her own – and I had it up in less than an hour.    What’s my secret?  Well, I have a few.

black and white art grouping


Have a plan.  Don’t just go in there willy-nilly with nails and a flying hammer.  Map out your picture grouping on the floor of the room.  Arrange and rearrange until the grouping feels right to you.

art grouping

plan it out on the floor first

Decide if you want a symmetrical or assymetrical grouping.  A symmetrical grouping will require several or lots of the same-shaped pieces, like these vintage record albums I grouped for a local musician’s condominium:

contemporary musician design

symmetrical record album wall art 


If you do an assymetrical grouping, you have a few more choices.  You can group any number of items of different sizes.  Even though the grouping will be assymetrical, it still needs visual balance.  One way to achieve that is to start from the center and work your way out either side.  Vary sizes randomly at first, then tweak the placement so you have larger items spread out fairly even throughout the grouping.

hanging family photos

family portrait art grouping


Unite your grouping by theme and/or color.  By painting all the frames black (or white or turquoise) the grouping will seem more orderly and purposeful.  You may also choose to use just two finishes for frames, like brushed gold and off-white frames.

dining room design

assymetrical landscape art grouping


Space your items somewhat evenly from one another – 1.5 to 2 inches is usually good.  This creates a cohesive grouping, one that reads as a whole from a distance.  If your spacing is random, the entire grouping can easily become chaotic.

wall art grouping

Finally and most importantly, group art or other things that you love or have special meaning to you.  Making a wall collage of your favorite photos or art will make you happy every time you walk in the room.

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  1. Kelly

    They all look beautiful Kristie! I really like the album wall art. And I love how the color turqouise is sprinkled throughout your dining room- the chairs, the artwork and even the wallpaper on the back of bookshelves. Lovely!!

  2. Gail Blankenau

    I have been visiting your site for a quite a while and I’m a fan! You have given us permission to paint wood that isn’t particularly attractive (despite what the men in our lives say).

    I’m painting my orangey oak trim in the living room off white, but leaving the golden (orangey) oak in the adjacent foyer and adjacent dining room. Would you recommend painting just the actual trim around the doorway or also the inside part of the doorway? I’m tending to leaving it oak as well and just doing the “facing” part of the trim in the living room. Probably a dumb question but others might face this dilemma as well?

  3. Melissa

    This is a skill I am still trying to master! I typically hang things symmetrically but am very drawn to asymmetrical groupings. You definitely have a gift!

  4. Debbie

    Which is the finished product?

    • Kristie Barnett

      Sorry, Debbie – there was a mix-up in the photo that got pulled to be the featured image on the emails today. It’s NOT the photo I intended to put in there – it’s an old “before” photo from a room makeover I did several years ago. Sorry for the mix-up!

  5. Nicole

    I love the last grouping with the vintage hunting prints in the square red lacquer frames! What a great juxtaposition of old with new.

  6. Holly

    I was just texting with my SIL about her gallery wall. She’s got a blank wall in her living room that she’s anxious to fill up, and I’ve stressed the importance of making it meaningful and personal. You’ve worked on some great projects using some great walls – and great tips too. I think the biggest thing is the spacing. I’ve typically kept my spacing to 2 inches or so, but that being off just a little bit can throw the entire look off. Great post as always Kristie.

    • Kristie Barnett

      Thanks, Holly. I do think consistent spacing is one of the most important ways to make a grouping work!

  7. Lisa@CozyCondoLiving

    I love that first pic, but the red frames are too much for me. It took me a long time to figure out the best placement for my photos in my hallway. I’m hoping that wall art doesn’t go out of style anytime soon.

  8. Jean Molesworth Kee

    Fabulous post, Kristie. It’s amazing how so many clients need help with this. Many have single pieces of art hanging alone on a wall– usually too small. But so many lack the confidence to put them together in groupings.
    Well done!

  9. Nancy

    Can anyone recommend a way to incorporate linear frames with sunburst mirrors? I have searched for photos to help me set up a wall display of multiple, fairly large, sunburst mirrors but have not found any. Perhaps this isn’t a good idea?

    • Jan

      Hi Nancy: I sure would like suggestions/ideas about sunburst mirrors as well. Thanks for posting this as I don’t feel so alone about this! ~Ciao~

  10. Jan

    Hi Kristie: Thank you for the tips: they could not have come at a better time! Like your client, I have an unadorned wall which causes me angst as well, and like your client, it’s been four years…OyVey…but it’s the guest room so the door typically remains closed. But your tips have given me courage to forge ahead. That said, I would like to know if you have any suggestions of filling an alcove designed for media. In my family room I have a nine foot long “dent” in the wall. Must I put a traditional entertainment center in it w/towers on each side and the TV in the center? If possible I’d prefer something which permits the display of things on the wall. Particularly I’d prefer mirror(s) as they’d reflect what little natural light there is in the room. But can mirror(s) and/or pictures hang above a TV + stand that’s already 4.5′-ish high? Finally, Nancy submits a query re: sunburst mirrors. I too have a large sunburst mirror and am lost as to how to display it with other wallhangings complimenting it. Hmmm…maybe it could somehow go in the “dent?” Thank you again Kristie. I tremendously appreciate your impeccable talents and tastes, and am grateful for when you share your decorating insights and wisdom. Take care.


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