The Secret Sauce of the Staircase Gallery Wall

Gallery walls are tough for even the Above Average Joe.  And when the DIY efforts don't look IG-worthy, the whole process is deflating. We know. We've come to the rescue many times while promoting our view that gallery walls are a DDIY (Don't DIY) project. But let's take this one step further and address the STAIRCASE GALLERY WALL. It’s a lil bit daunting. But here’s what you need to know, how to estimate costs, and what you should outsource (and to whom)…

Planning: My main trick for inclining gallery walls is to measure the depth of two stairs together, and then treat the wall space above as one level section (as if it were a small wall). I develop a template for that section and repeat the process for the next two stair section.  The center of each section is the same height above their respective stairs so that the gallery wall incline matches that of the stairs. You can either repeat the same pattern every section for a more structured look OR switch it up.

Here's a visual that's from an unknown source: 

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Budget: To determine budget for gallery walls, we simply break it down into components and make some assumptions based on experience. This is adjusted based on the frames the client will like and general scope of work, but here's a sample: 

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Most store bought frames that we buy (Crate + Barrel Brushed Gunmetal Frames are our current favorite) fall within the price range above, and we always go for good quality printing so the pics show best on the wall. (This is super important). 

One key step in the above breakdown is to estimate the number of frames. For stairwell gallery walls, a good guideline is to estimate an average of 4-5 frames for every 2 step section. 

Help: While it's all fun and dandy to scale out your wall and do some cost estimates, it's the opposite of that (sad and depressing?) to spend hours doing it alone to create a crappy end product.  Do yourself a favor and hire a gallery wall super hero, i.e. an art handler, who can hang it well in minutes.  The iLevel team (based in NY) is so skilled at making these look good and keeping your walls. 

Grand Finale: After it's all said and done, the wall needs to STAY looking good. But friendly reminder: the Earth moves, so on occasion, frames can get a little out of whack. To prevent that: 

1) use picture rubbers behind each frame

2) Tape the bottom of each frame to the wall with painters tape. Yes, it can stay there for a very long time with no adverse side effects. 

3) Have your handler hang each frame on D-Rings (or at least 2 nails) to minimize movement. 

ENJOY YOUR WALL. And follow these steps. I do it for every client, but honestly, when I winged it for myself just before Christmas during an extreme rush, it was a fail. We had to re-jig the template and shift all 20+ frames. I went into the details on Stories today but moral of it all - PLAN PLAN PLAN.