Josh Brolin's maximalist living room has reignited our love for this outdated feature wall trend – a key look for 2024

Crafting a gallery wall of beloved art pieces that resonate personally will add a beautiful narrative to your home

Josh Brolin
(Image credit: Getty Images / Matt Winkelmeyer / Staff)

Gallery walls were big news in interior design circa 2010. A space to showcase your decorative taste and a chance to tell a unique story, this now outdated wall decor trend has had a welcome renaissance.

Decorating with artwork on the wall is such an easy route to an instant effect – every room has more wall than anything else. 'I often think that people don’t pay nearly enough attention to their walls, spending months researching fabric or furniture but only minutes choosing how to decorate their wall, or what art to hang,' says Martin Waller, founder of Andrew Martin.

When American actor Josh Brolin, the star of Dune: Part Two, revealed his Malibu home, we were pleasantly surprised to see one of the most exceptional gallery walls we've ever seen. Designed by the interior design duo at Pierce & Ward, Louisa Pierce and Emily Ward pulled out all the stops to curate a space that told a story. 

Storytelling in design is vital. Beautiful things alone are not enough. Your story is one of the most important design ingredients – and your life should have a pivotal resonance in your interiors. The traditional gallery or feature wall we once loved in the noughties is ripe for rediscovery.

Gorgeous gallery wall ideas have never been so effortless. Affordable art fairs, where modern masters sell for under $1,000, are thriving, so creating your very own gallery wall at home couldn’t be easier, or more affordable. 

There are multiple ways to make your gallery wall look as good as Brolin's. Think about your style before you get started. Your decorating approach, whether it’s eclectic, colorful, minimalist, or tailored, will lead the way when it comes to displaying artwork on your walls. This applies both to the pictures on display – black and white or from a particular color palette – and to the frames you choose to display them in.

‘There are a few factors to take into account when deciding where to put a large gallery wall of pictures,’ says designer Sophie Ashby. ‘Consider the position of furniture, the entry to the room, and the windows – behind a sofa or above the fireplace is always a reliable location.’

‘Gallery walls can feel personal and cozy – and are a great way of displaying a collection of art,’ says interior decorator Leonora Hamill, who works on projects between New York and London. ‘I often hang an arrangement of framed work on paper with the odd small textile on a stretcher in an entrance or above a sofa or chest of drawers. Even if a work isn’t valuable it usually looks great surrounded by other art. The secret is to reframe small pieces. A new frame goes a long way.’

Framing artwork is an art form in itself, and how you frame your chosen art can make or break your space. 

Marcus Crane, director, of McCully & Crane agrees with this sentiment: ‘At McCully & Crane, we’re very much about curating a wall with art of differing scales to create an eclectic collection. It’s all about embracing a bit of spontaneity; perfection isn’t always the aim. We often like to use various subject matters and mediums in each group, too – an abstract, a portrait, a still life – and mix up the framing.'

Deciding how to frame a piece can be as, or even more, difficult than selecting a work of art. But with some thought and the assistance of a talented professional, your artwork will soon be fit for a museum, or a beautiful gallery wall similar to Brolin's.

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For many years, the easiest way to access art was to attend art shows and galleries. Thanks to the main street brands taking notice of the popularity of original art and prints, the market has exploded with opportunities. Works can start from as little as $100. And it’s not always about finding the next Rothko or Hockney, it’s about discovering a piece of art that you love.

Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.