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A Gallery Wall for a Small Apartment

Last month, T-man and I renewed  our lease on our little 8G apartment, which means we’ll be in Manhattan for another year.  Although we did a lot of work to optimize the space and make it our own, one area that was always left wanting was the wall above our sofa. With the renewal of our lease, we figured it was finally time to create a gallery wall to officially complete the space.

Bubbly Design Co. Gallery Wall

It all started with this colorful abstract canvas, which we purchased shortly after moving in. Even at it’s biggest size, though, it didn’t fill up the 8 foot wide wall that our couch backs up against. Since both T-man and I loved it and agreed on it {doesn’t happen every day!} we went ahead and hung it and it has lived all by it’s lonesome for a full year #interiordesignfail.

With the lease renewed, I finally found the motivation to invest time–and money–into adding more art to the wall. Although it might’ve been easier if we had done this from the beginning, we actually liked having the canvas as a jumping off point

T-man and I set out on a Sunday morning to explore the world of inexpensive art and craft a little gallery wall that would represent our style and finish off our living room. We scoured the web, discovering some awesome options and learning a few things along the way.

1. Dedicate the time

I’m a Minted stationery lover and had heard about their art, so we started our search there, digging through a massive variety of prints. They have everything from abstract to word art, watercolor to photography. Browsing the site was easy but a bit exhausting because of the sheer volume of options. They have a continuous scroll on their site and I kept feeling like we would reach the end but never did!

The other great thing with Minted and similar sources like Etsy is that you can favorite/save things and continuously refer back to your favorites to see what’s fitting together. The only downside is that this does take time. We spent a few hours browsing together on the couch and even then, I know we barely scratched the surface of our options. However, the browsing is a critical step in creating a gallery wall to help understand what’s out there and where your preferences gravitate — it’s even more important when you’re co-designing with a roomie or significant other.

2. Balance high and low

While I loved SO many Minted options and would always prefer to have professional framing, it wasn’t realistic for our budget this time {we had just signed a lease!}.  The great thing about Minted is that you can buy a solo print {which we did for the black & white beach print below} and add your own {read: less expensive} frame OR you can have them professionally frame the print for you.

In addition, we supplemented some of our tippy top favorites from Minted with some more economical options from Etsy {see all sources below}. We specifically sought out print at home options and looked for ways to fill in the smaller gaps of our more impactful Minted prints.

3. Choose an underlying color palette

I think the beauty of a gallery wall is that it’s a mix of different styles of art and each element could stand on its own; however, when you pull them together, there’s subtle elements that ties it together, making the sum greater than the parts. In our case, we used the colors from the canvas to create a visual language. Even though we have beach, mountains, word art, abstract and geometric all together, it works because of the underlying tones and color palette.

Side note: a little black & white never hurt. As a decorator once told me, “every room needs some black to ground it.” I applied this with the black & white beach print that picks up the black lines and word art from the other pieces of art.

4. Visualize it

Whether you do this through a to-scale Photoshop layout like me or you just use scratch paper to mock up the frame sizes and tape them to your wall, visualizing how it all comes together is also incredibly helpful. We didn’t start out knowing which sizes and formats we needed, we really let the art we fell in love with dictate the overarching layout — whether portrait, square, big or small.

In the end, I’m so pleased with how it all came together. While the art may not be collected over years and super personal, it still tells a story–our story. From mountains to beaches and colors that represent our style, it feels dynamic and unique and finally… the gallery wall can be checked off our list!

Mixing prints, textures, and colors in a gallery wall // Bubbly Design Co.A gallery wall for a small apartment with pops of color // Bubbly Design Co. Inspirational gallery wall and art for a small New York City apartment Bubbly Design Co. gallery wall inspiration

{ shop the gallery wall: canvas // blue mountains // word art // b&w beach // wood frame // geometric // floral }

This post is not sponsored by Minted, I just genuinely had a great experience with their site and products and wanted to share.

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