It’s no secret that I love a good gallery wall! If you follow me on Instagram, I’ve got an entire highlight section dedicated to the walls in my home and it’s my hope that soon enough I can feature yours, too!
I have gallery walls of all sorts and sizes filling the (not so) blank spaces in my home, and here’s what I want you to know: So can you! I’m serious. You can do this! And hopefully I can provide you some encouragement and guidance as you start making your gallery wall dreams a reality! Also, anyone want to guess how many times I’ll type “gallery walls” in this post? Because I already feel like I’ve said it way too much and we’re just getting started.
So, first and foremost. You have planned the outfits, bribed your children, and skipped around a park at sunset. You have images of your sweet family that have made you laugh, cry and everything in between…and they are sitting, collecting dust on a zip drive in your desk drawer. Let me level with you. I’m a busy mama too, I get it. Sometimes other things take priority. But at the end of the day, you want to share those images with everyone who walks in your home, right? You want to tell the stories behind those images for years and years. SO, you’ve got to get them off your laptop and onto the walls. I know. Newsflash right? If it were that easy we’d all do it. Having a plan in place will help you – I promise. Getting started is the hardest part, but once you begin it’ll be a breeze! Now, let’s make a plan.
Step One: Find a wall. Stating the obvious here, I know. But find a wall you want to have pictures on. No sense in choosing a place where frames are going to stress you out. And then, determine, in an ideal world, how much of the wall you want covered in images. I’m more of the, have space will fill it, kinda girl. But who are you? Do you want it centered on a wall behind a couch? Along the stairway? Floor to ceiling in the entry? Find your wall and decide what you want the end product to look like. And then, depending on your choice, know that it will take both time and money to fill the space. But you have to start somewhere, and having an end goal will help direct you as you begin.
Step Two: Pat yourself on the back! You now have a dedicated space for your wall. See? All about the encouragement here.
Step Three: Gather frames/and or objects you want on your wall. Don’t overthink this. I have many varieties of a gallery wall. Frames all the same. Frames with mats. Frames without. And y’all yes…I’ve got black, wood, gold, silver, white and everything in between on the walls together. Deep breaths. It’s going to be okay. I also have artwork, random trays, hymns, quotes, objects, fabric and the list goes on mixed in with all the photos. Again, deep breaths. So, I’ll say it again. Gather your frames and objects you want on your wall. And if they aren’t technically made for the wall but you love it, grab that too. I’ll tell ya how to get it up there!
Step Three and a half: In order to gather your frames/objects you have to have them. Again, stating the obvious here, but I’ve got a point. Some of you have an attic full of inspiration, or drawers full of items to choose from and some of y’all don’t have a thing. So wherever you land, another question I get all the time is, “Where do I buy my frames?” The short answer is everywhere. The longer answer is: Pottery Barn/West Elm has great, simple, matted frames and they are always 20% off. Restoration Hardware, Target, Amazon, Ikea, World Market, Anthropologie, Paper Source, Home Goods, etc. Essentially the sky’s the limit. If I like it I grab it and find a way to get it in the mix.
Step Four: Okay. You’ve got the goods. Again, if your ultimate gallery wall plan is huge – like floor to ceiling style, or even up an entire staircase, you will most likely not have gathered enough to finish it this time around. But, with your end goal in place, you will be able to seamlessly add over time. So, if this is you, as you begin to plan your wall, start in the center and then over time, you’ll work your way out to the edges.
Step Five: Getting objects on the wall. I know, it’s daunting. And total honesty here – I make the plan but my husband hammers the nails, because ya girl here is known for making giant holes in our pretty walls. Hey, we’ve all got our strengths, right? (Side note, I haven’t said a word about putting your pictures in frames yet. This is intentional) There are many ways to design and hang, but this is what works for us. And it’s SUPER easy. I put all the frames and objects on the floor in front of the wall or space I want them to fill. Obviously if your wall is going up the stairs you’ll need to find another area to lay out your frames, but I recommend using a spot where you can still see the space you’re wanting to fill. Then, put it all together until it “fits”. This term is loose, and I’m definitely a Type A perfectionist so if I can get past this so can you. Please, don’t panic if each of your items aren’t the exact same distance apart. It is not important. A little tip, you definitely want variety in the direction of your frames. Don’t hang them all vertical or horizontal. Know though, that the majority of the images you’ll receive from your photographer are going to be vertical. This is where objects can be your friend, and so can the square frame. You can pretty much make any orientation picture fit in this and I use them A LOT. Also, if you’re working in an entryway or even a full floor to ceiling wall you will most likely have some unmovable objects in your way. Some examples of this are, light switches, outlets, security systems, etc. Just work around them. They will blend into your wall, even though it seems like they won’t. Just please, oh please, do not put an empty frame around one of these objects. That’s the worst. And what you intended on using to blend in, has actually made things stick out.
Step Six: Time to hang! Again my husband tackles this so however you hang pictures have at it! Now, here’s where we talk about objects that aren’t meant to be on the wall. I have some great restoration hardware frames on my kitchen walls that do not have hanging hooks on the back. We did this super fancy hack and poked a hole in the back of the frame to stick a nail in. You do what you gotta do. For those trays – 3M brand hooks, sliders (i don’t know the technical term here) or velcro will be your BFF. Just slap that on the back of your object and then on your wall and boom. Wall art from a jewelry tray.
Step Seven: Step back and enjoy your work! You did it!
Step Eight: Pull out your USB or digital downloads and remember all these amazing moments. Mark your favorites and then grab your computer and sit next to your wall to decide which images fit in which frame. Now, I’ve got a TON of frames and often make very large print orders. So I don’t forget what goes where, I also have a paper and a pencil (because I do some erasing) and once I determine what image I want in each frame, I write it down. This is not technical and probably something only I could decipher but I say something like “b/g frame 5×7 e and me looking vertical” This means: In the black and gold frame I’ll put the 5×7 vertical image of me and Eden looking at one another. Y’all this little tip is a life saver. Because then, when I get my images in the mail, I can IMMEDIATELY put them in frames. And so will you! Instant gratification is the name of the game once you’ve got them in your hands and this prevents them from moving from a zip drive to a mailer and still not getting them on your walls.
Step Nine: You’ve got on your paper what images you need in white sizes so head on over to Mpix and order away! They are super speedy on shipping and do great work and in no time you’ll have your pictures on your walls. Find something to pass the time as you wait for these images to arrive.
Step Ten: YOU DID IT!!! The images arrived, you put them in your frames and you now have a beautiful gallery wall! Prepare for tons of opportunity to share stories about your family and lots of admiration from your friends. You may even get a “I could never do that!” from someone and now you can say, “If I can, so can you!” Funny story – In one of our earlier homes we had a floor to ceiling gallery wall in our entryway that was visible to people taking walks in our neighborhood. I can’t tell you how many times we had random folks coming to our door and asking to see the wall, and wanting tips for making it happen in their own home. So, you may even make a new friend or two in this process as well!
Seriously, I’m so proud of you! I hope this post has been helpful as you move your images from zip drive to a frame and I’d love to see some pictures of your completed projects! Tag me on social media with your gallery walls so I can share with others, too! I can’t wait to see them all!
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