One of the features in my home that has been most talked about for years is my gallery wall. This is something we started almost 10 years ago when we were first married and in almost every place we have lived since (six homes), we have hung our gallery wall. With each gallery wall, we made some improvements and added more pictures and decor items over time.
Here is a picture of our very first one that we ever did (excuse the terrible picture quality, this was many years ago!) When we first started this gallery wall project way-back-when, we only incorporated pictures. We knew we wanted them all in black frames, some with white matting and at the time, we wanted them all straight-edged.
I would say the first few times I would put this gallery wall back up in one of our new homes, it stayed relatively similar. I would never follow a picture of what the previous one had looked like…I would simply lay it all out (which I’ll explain below in the how-to section) and just go for it.
Then in our last home, I decided to change the entire look of the gallery wall by doing two new things: 1. Incorporate decor items, such as sayings, a clock, keys, doorknobs, etc as well as changing the look of only straight-edged frames and 2. Splitting the wall into two sections. You see we had a raised bungalow home, the kind where you when you enter the home, you enter on a landing and then there are five stairs that go up to the main floor and five stairs that go down into the basement (which is only half in-ground). Therefore because of this layout, we had a lot of wall space in that entry way. This was definitely the most complicated gallery wall I had done (and still have ever done) as we also had trim that we had placed halfway up the wall to act as a divider and so the space was very limited in what objects/frames could go where. Here’s how it ended up looking:
For our current home, we have a hugely lonnnggggg entry way with one of the longest walls I’ve seen in a home. At first, I wasn’t sure about putting the gallery wall there. I didn’t want it to look overwhelming. But since I really didn’t have many other options in my possession and had well over 60+ frames and smaller art pieces, I decided I would give it a try.
When you step back and look at the entire gallery wall collection as a whole, one can easily think that it was an overwhelming and difficult task to put together. But it really isn’t. Gallery walls are supposed to be fun, to be creative and ultimately tell a story…YOUR story. So this shouldn’t be considered a burdensome task but rather an opportunity to really reflect on your life thus far and be excited to share your story with others.
So before we get into the how-to part, let’s first talk about the “why.” Why bother with a gallery wall? Why are gallery walls so popular these days? Here are my reasons why.
What I love most about gallery walls are the way they make people feel when they walk into your home: welcomed. I have often said that I feel like my gallery walls are a way of my walls giving me a big, giant hug! That’s honestly how I’ve always felt when I would walk by my gallery: loved and like my heart was being given a giant hug.
The reason why it feels like a giant hug to me is because of the reasons I stated above: it’s about sharing your story, remembering and honoring your past and celebrating life’s most joyful moments. Those are (or hopefully are) all things that should cause your soul to smile and your heart to swell! Pictures of my wedding day, my kids when they were babies, my best friends, my family members (some of whom are no longer with us), amazing trips we’ve taken and some really awesome events that we have been fortunate enough to participate in. These pictures aren’t just pictures, these pictures tell a story, MY story, my husband’s story, my family’s story. It honors my past and looks ahead to what is to come. It reminds me of the biggest blessings in my life, ones that I can so quickly take for granted.
So that’s “why” we have gallery walls in all the homes we have lived in. And I truly believe that’s why it’s such a popular trend in the last few years because people want to celebrate their story and share it with others and ultimately create a space that is warm and inviting.
Now let’s get to the “how-to” part!
1. Gather Materials
Long before you will ever hang a frame, you need to start gathering. Obviously everyone will have different sizes for their gallery walls, but regardless, you need a collection of frames and/or art before you can assemble your gallery.
For me, our collection has taken years. When we first started, we had been married a few years and I had been collecting the frames. I didn’t just decide to one day do a gallery wall and go out and try to find a bunch of frames. I shopped around and slowly started stock-piling my collection.
Along the lines of gathering your materials, try as much as you can to thrift for your pieces for the gallery wall. This will save you oodles of money! Go check your local thrift stores for frames and if they aren’t the color you want them to be, don’t worry! You can always change color with a little bit of paint. In fact many of my art pieces in my gallery wall were NOT black when I first bought them and therefore I had to spray paint them.
Also check local garage sales, your parents home (you would be surprised at what you can find in their basements, amiright?!) and the discount/clearance sections of your local home goods stores. The nicest frame I have on my gallery wall was actually on clearance at HomeSense because the back of the frame was broken. PERFECT! One less step for me to have to rip the stand off anyways!
3. Laying Out Pieces to Hang
So this is when you start putting together your gallery wall. You need to group all your pieces together in similar sizes and categories (meaning frames stick with frames and knick knacks with knick knacks). By grouping them on the floor in front of you, you know how many of each size and item you have to work with.
Before even one nail hole is made, you need to visualize in your mind what you want this gallery wall to ultimately look and feel like. Do you want it tall? Do you want it long? Do you want it symmetrical? Asymmetrical? These are questions you need to ask before you begin the process.
5. Just Go For It
I don’t know how many tutorials I’ve seen out there that tell you that you need to lay everything out first or even cut out the shapes of the frames and tape it to the wall before you nail it. Just trust me, there are TONS! This is NOT one of them! I have NEVER EVER pre-planned where all my pictures would go on my gallery walls. EVER.
What I always do, however, is I start with ONE focal piece as my center point for the gallery. The one piece that I want central goes up first. Then, what you will want to do is after you’ve separated all your items into their groupings (point #3), you will want to divide them up to go on either side of the central point. You follow? What I mean is that let’s say you have four large art pieces, like a plate, a mirror, a clock and a bowl (yes, you can hang bowls on your walls!), you will want to make sure there’s a good balance of how many you put on either side of your gallery wall. I’m not saying that you want it all symmetrical, because actually, when it comes to gallery walls, I’m not sure that symmetry is always the best approach (at least not in this application). But you also don’t want to have all four of your unique art pieces all on one side of your wall and then none of the other. Know what I mean?
But other than that, my best advice when it comes to doing a gallery wall is to honestly just go for it! Don’t overthink it. Let yourself go through the creative process and create! Place pictures and objects in a way that truly reflects your story best! That is when the magic happens with these walls!
Well there you have it, a look back at some of my gallery walls and how to create your very own! I’m also super excited that this post today is featuring 14 other amazing bloggers and some of their wall art! All you have to do is click through the links below and get to visit all their blogs and see their take on wall art! I know I for one am super excited to check them all out! I’m already inspired just by seeing some of their pictures!
10. Casa Watkins
11. Domicile 37
And if you are another blogger who would like to link up, we are hosting a DIY Wall Art link up below. Just leave your link and be sure to check out all the other blogs and follow along!
Love & Blessings,