Gallery Walls Meet Salon Selective

Your home is a place for your family and friends to gather for dinner, drinks, and to share thoughts on life. It's your "comfortable place" ... It's a place that tells a story about you and your family through photos, decor, and mementos. 

Taking a trip through time, a salon once was an elegant drawing room. Salons made their entrance as a periodic gathering of persons of social or intellectual distinction. These gatherings were heavily cultivated during the Enlightenment—an intellectual movement of the 17th & 18th Centuries.

The picture in my mind of a salon in 1700’s would be a room with velvety curtains, low light, and uncomfortable chairs set up in a circle with a tight group of wigged heads bending over in thought or heated discussion over the study of Philosophy or Fine Arts. Now that is just the image in MY mind. Does your gathering spot look similar to this one? Mostly likely the answer is no! 


French philosopher and author, Voltaire , known as a wit and free-thinker is painted here holding court with French intellectuals --Condorcet, Diderot and others--at the cafe Le Procope, which is the oldest café in Paris, where Voltaire was rumored to spend his days drinking 30 cups of coffee while sharing his wit.

Today, the need to actually meet in a small room to discuss matters of keen interest has dwindled with the communication techniques that allow us to chat via our computers and tablets, make a quick call on our cell phones, or tie in people from all over the world on conference calls and facetime.

Is there a way to incorporate that salon feel of intellectual stimulation in your humble abode? Enter the GALLERY WALL. There are many directions you can take to create a gallery wall, which ultimately means a wall that suits your home and speaks to YOU. Photos in frames, artwork that inspires, words and phrases and other three-dimensional pieces in amongst the square and rectangular images make statements. Hillary Thomas, an HGTV regular, says “Illustrations, paintings and a menagerie of distinctive pieces can all have a home on your gallery wall.”

Hilary Thomas gallery

“Do mix in drawings with photos and paintings. The more eclectic, the more you'll get a 'salon' feel," says Hillary Thomas

As Hilary stated, mixing a multitude of photos, paintings, and words is a must! This is what makes your gallery wall interesting and allows your walls to tell a story. 
In searching for gallery walls, I found a few favorites to inspire – that have that gallery/salon feel. Kris Jarrett of Driven by Décor created these design tips worth viewing:
Kris has incorporated fun mirrors, frames, artwork and 3-dimensional objects on her gallery wall featured in the link above. When looking at these pieces individually you may think... these items don't go together. The beauty of a gallery wall is you can tie everything together to make it look complete by using Kris's simple steps:
  1. Search for the pieces you would like to feature in your gallery wall. Search flea markets, online retailers... your grandmother's basement. Find a fun mix of items that speak to you! I've even seen a wall of instagram photos all in frames that can be changed out whenever the need arises.
  2. Once you've collected your items place them on the floor beneath your soon-to-be gallery wall to layout the items and figure out placement. Be sure to scatter the items (side note: looking at a wall that has items neatly in line and spaced evenly isn't as interesting as a bit of staggering.) Kris Jarrett of Driven by Decor (link above) gives some great advice on this topic! 
  3. Select interesting pieces that really tell a story. Using personalized decor is always a great way to add that personalized touch. A few items from the Letter2Word collection that I would recommend would be: Personalized Arrow, Personalized Key (Use the date you moved into the home) Personalized Laurel Wreath, create a custom word, last name, or phrase special to your family... The possibilities are endless! For other 3-dimensional decor I would recommend searching Joss & Main, One Kings Lane, or TJ Maxx... you can always find great one-of-a-kind/gotta-have-it pieces at these stores! A gallery wall should be the focal point of the room or hallway... shouldn't the focal point be something that relates to you? Something you enjoy looking at everyday? Something that puts a smile on your face? The answer is YES! This is your home! Make it interesting! 
  4. Most importantly!! Have fun with it! Create a dynamic gallery wall that your friends can't stop talking about! 

sf pickett

San Francisco interior designer and blogger, Mary Ann Pickett of chose to frame oil paintings and hang all in a collection, flanking the bookshelf, a full gallery wall. a great mixture of artwork, photos and 

words that help to tie it all together! 

      Awesome gallery wall created by Caitlin of Desert Domicile

Gallery walls feature a collection of random items all pulled together to make a dynamic wall scape. A collection is a grouping of items that connect to an individual. Gallery walls are linked to book shelves that speak of an individual or family’s tastes. Gwen Moss, who posts about her own home and life inspiration on, recently combined creativity on a budget.

painted moss

Moss bought a statue of “The Thinker” for $7.99 at TJ Maxx and painted it with several layers of chalkboard and other paints to cover up its metallic origins to look like a proper statuette for her bookshelves.

thinker shelf

 Gwen Moss is my kind of creative soul…I love the Thinker statue and framed this for my own bookshelves.  I love this picture of Rodin’s Le Penseur that I snapped in 2009 at the Rodin museum in Paris – I like to call it “thinking outside the box.”

Ann's Penseur

Salon Selectives may be the brand name of a hair product I used in the 80’s but it has a nice ring to it when trying to create that Gallery Wall of your own. Be selective, choose collections of images or themes that you love and want to share or just enjoy viewing by yourself!

voltaire quote


By: Ann Nicknish, The Blogging Word Girl (BWG)

1 comment

  • Ann, I so enjoy your posts. It just so happens I have a big blank wall to use for a gallery, and I have no clue where to begin. So, I’ll read on – thanks so much!

    Rita Bawden

Leave a comment