If you’re a maximalist, collector of oddities, antiques & vintage items I have the perfect home decor project for you. Today we are going to be making the perfect project to display your precious collection. I’ll be showing you how I turned a lime green plywood wall into the gothic gallery wall of my dreams. Full of some of my most treasured pieces.
Do you fancy video over written content? Check out my YouTube video for a nice little visual on how I created this gothic maximalist gallery wall:
The Beginnings of the Gallery Wall
Before diving into all of my tips and steps on creating a gallery wall, I wanted to give a very quick background on the project. I moved into my odd little home back at the end of last year. I am in love with this house in every way. But it was very evident from the beginning that there was going to be a great need for some serious TLC.
Our living room is the focal point of the entire house and features a large wall. However, at that time the wall was made out of warped plywood and painted neon/lime green. Being someone who enjoys undertaking pretty much any project I decided to learn how to put up drywall. We undertook the process of removing all of they plywood (which involved having to saw part of it off the wall). We put up new dry wall, tape, mud and paint it.
I chose this beautiful shade called Black Current from Valspar. I wanted a black accent wall but something that brought more warmth and dimension than deep black. The subtle purple undertone was the perfect choice that ended up complementing my mixed metal gallery wall perfectly.
Because I am and always will be a lover of fine things and being over the top, I decided to add some crown molding trim as well as a rectangular molding on the wall.
Sourcing Items for Your Gallery Wall
If you are worried about being able to collect all the pieces you need for the perfect gallery wall after seeing everyones life long collections of antiques and vintage pieces, don’t worry. Before I moved into this home I was living in a trailer traveling the country and had sold pretty much everything I owned. So, basically I started at 0.
This did take me a few months but it is totally doable to collect the pieces that you need. Always remember that things are never fixed, you can always add more later.
Tip #1: Find Inspiration
I was very intentional with what I ended up getting for my wall. It can be overwhelming if you’re starting from scratch to know what to look for so getting ideas of specific types of pieces and then looking for those pieces can save a lot of time especially if you are doing most of your shopping online.
For example, from looking on Pinterest and TikTok I knew I would love to have a vintage hand mirror, vintage snuffer scissors, and an ornate clock to name a few. So all I had to do was search for these items specifically.
Tip #2: Thrift stores, Facebook Marketplace, Etsy & Ebay are your best friends
The majority of my items were found in these places. Thrift stores are wonderful for finding frames for a dollar or two. The thrifting scene around where I live is practically non-existent, but I was able to take advantage of my holiday travels to stop at some better thrift areas and bring back some small frames and trinkets with me in my suit case.
I also heavily relied on FB marketplace, Etsy, and eBay because of this and did a decent amount of research to make sure 1) the items I was purchasing were actually vintage/antique 2) the best bang for my buck.
Tip #3: Support Small Businesses
I follow quite a few online small businesses who are vintage shops or make some sort of art. This is a great way to obviously support small businesses and makers but to also have some very unique pieces.
Some of my all time favorite pieces on my wall are from small business. I got a beautiful ethically sourced taxidermy butterfly, a preserved cob web, and beautiful prints of an artists’ painting to name a few.
Etsy is also where I bought nearly all of my prints. You can buy digital downloads for a few dollars and print them at home or somewhere like Walgreens if you’re in the states.
(I also saved some cards from package orders I received that had art that I liked and recycled those.)
Tip #4: Buy in Bulk
Another great way to buy several items at once for a good price is to look for frame sets on places like FB marketplace. I found a few people who were selling sets of frames of various sizes and that saves you a lot of time as well. I got a set of 14 frames for less than $30 including shipping. Some frames are more detailed than others. If you spend more on a few beautiful ornate frames and mirrors you can buy a set of “filler” frames that won’t detract from the wall as a whole.
Assembling the Gallery Wall
There are many methods of doing this that I’ve seen across the internet but I took a much less meticulous and much more organic approach. I started out by collecting all my pieces and dividing them into two piles that would go on either side of my mantle. If you don’t have any sort of mantle or divider then you can ignore this part. I made sure each group had balanced mix of metals as well as a balance of pieces in terms of mirrors, art work, and miscellaneous wall art.
Next, I spent some time on the floor mapping out where I thought the pieces should go in relativity to each other. I took a picture on my phone as a reference and one by one put each piece on the wall in it’s respective location.
Depending on the piece I was hanging I either used various nails or command strip tape to hold things in place. I finished the wall by adding a beautiful ornate wall clock and candle sconce piece from the 70s over the mantle.
Thank for reading and I hope you enjoyed. What’s a must have piece for your dream gallery wall?