Since moving into our house over 5 years ago, I have wanted to hang a gallery wall somewhere in the home but never quite got around to it because it seemed like such a daunting task (as well as pricey). I don’t know about any of you, but it is really intimidating for me to think about hanging a bunch of frames on a wall and have everything look cohesive, especially if the frames aren’t the same size and style. It was also starting to dawn on me that we not only have pictures from travels I wanted to frame, but also have countless professional pictures that I never printed. What is the point in paying for photographs to be taken, if you never print them? Anyone else have that issue?
Below are some examples of what I feel are beautiful and cohesive gallery walls ranging from the same kind and color of frames, to more of an eclectic collection. I found myself drawn toward an eclectic collection of frames and pictures (not surprised), and knew I wanted majority of the photos to be printed in color with a few black and white. What helped me make the decision about an assorted collection of frames was the fact that I was pulling pictures together from all different moments and styles: some travel, some family, some professional, and some not. It made sense to have non-matching frames which meant I would not be hanging them in any grid pattern.
With all the beautiful pictures we have taken on our travels, and Nora coming along who we can’t resist taking pictures of, I knew I needed to devote an entire wall to framed photographs. It took me a long time to decide the style of gallery wall, seeing as there are so many options and ideas out there. When I finally decided on a style, it took me even longer to narrow down the choices of which photos to print, which is what happens when you never print any of your photos throughout the years.
The wall behind our couch was really the only space that was going to work for something like this, and I wish it were much bigger, but we filled the space from end to end. This is a picture from a few christmases ago, but it serves to show there was a painting above the couch prior to hanging the gallery wall. That painting now rests above our bed, and honestly, I think it looks much better there!
I had been collecting frames over a period of time, and went to IKEA for the majority of the rest because they have cheap frames that are good “fillers” and their larger frames won’t break the bank. I also thought it might be easier to piece random frames together if some of them were the same style and dimensions. I chose to spend some money buying a few “nicer” (read more expensive) frames from Target (which are the gold ones pictured below).
I laid out some masking tape on the floor with the same dimensions as the wall, and had my good friend Amy come over to help since she’s a professional with this kind of thing, as well as an artist. I find an artist eye brings a nice finished touch to a project like this. I can’t take credit for how wonderful the layout looks because that was mostly her magic touch. We came out with a layout that worked well and we were pleased with, tweaked a few things while hanging the frames, and the finished product is something I can’t help but look at every day. I’m in love with the end result!! The best part is finally having a way to showcase our travels as well as all of the wonderful family pictures we’ve had professionally taken over the years.
I waited until the frames were hung to decide on exactly which pictures to print, and that method worked out well for me. Doing it this way, I could vary the placement of the photos so that the colors and styles within them looked just right next to their neighbors on the wall and not worry about all that back when we decided on how to lay out the frames.
Things i’ve learned…
- It’s important to vary the perspectives of the photographs (some close up, some far away).
- Varying the size of the frames works well when you have several larger frames (larger than 8×10)
- Even though the frames differ in size and color, they are all relatively the same style which helps with that cohesiveness I talked about earlier.
- Buying “extra”frames that you’re not sure you need can help you not have to keep running back and forth to the store. Just buy extra and return later. Worked for me.
- Printing off the pictures that you think you want framed in a cheap 4×6 size first and tape to the frame to get a general idea of what the photo looks like with that frame. That helped me be sure I liked the photo enough before spending the extra money on making large prints.
- Have patience and wait for the discount codes to wherever you want to order prints from! I ordered from Shutterfly and saved over 60% because I printed around the holidays during their huge sales. (The pearl/metallic finish they offer is a fun added touch for certain photos)
- Masking tape on the wall helps give you a quick visual to be certain you’re not hanging your frames uneven.
- A few extra holes in the wall won’t hurt anyone. Just do you best with your measuring and if you must make another hole, so be it to make it right.