Monday, October 15, 2012

Gallery Wall

I'm kind of a picture nut. I'm obsessed with photographs - in fact, there isn't a whole  lot else that covers these walls than good ol' photos of the people I love most in this world. What could be better than sitting on your couch, glancing up, and seeing a picture that totally captures one of your babies? Or an incredibly happy memory? Nothing, I tell you. Which is why it was a no-brainer when I was dreaming up how the family room makeover would look - wasn't even a second thought that a gallery wall would hang in there.

But of course, there are So. Many. Options. All black and whites or a combo? All the same frames, or a mix? Same sizes or a bunch of different ones? Mats, no mats? Throw in special items other than photos, like an initial, a memento, a sign? Oh the options are endless, and I LOVE them all.
But I decided to go with black and white photos, and keep it to two frame finishes: white and espresso wood. And I kept it at strictly photos, and a mix of sizes.

It's not huge, but it's just the right size for the space I'm working with.
(Please excuse the photo quality of these pics- it's been raining ALL day long here and next to impossible for me to get a decent shot in this light;)

Now, I know gallery walls can be intimidating. I've had readers write me that they love them, but just don't know where to start. So I thought I'd share my decision making process.

First, decide on the "look" you're going for. Do you like all colored photos? Or black and whites? Or both? If you're not sure, look through magazines, google 'gallery walls', check out Pinterest. You'll probably notice that you gravitate more towards a certain look.

Then, decide on the frames. Do you want them all to match, or mix it up? If you want them all to match, consider spray painting if you don't want to go out and buy all new ones. You could do all white, or all black, silver, gold, or a bold color - choice is YOURS. Decide if you want them the same exact size, or some big, some little.

Once those decisions are made and you have your frames (or paper/cardboard/whatever that you can pretend are frames;), lay out some options on the floor. Know how large your future gallery wall space is - that is important. I had a lot of frames already, and liked the idea of starting with a big frame, and adding smaller ones around it. So I took the biggest frame I had, laid it down, and started playing around with the other smaller frames, trying to get an even-ish look surrounding it, without getting too precise.
Take pictures as you play with the frames. You might think, "Oh! I think I like that other layout better," and not remember it exactly. This is also a good idea if you have a child to pick up from school or waking up from a nap and need to wrap things up for the day;)

Once I was happy with the look of it, and knew the size was right, I hung the largest frame on the wall. Then began with the bottom row.
Those uber-observant readers will notice I decided to change that white frame to vertical, rather than horizontal:). If you feel like something will work better once you start hanging, go with it!

I did the sides, then the top.
Then went to my computer to order some of my favorite pics. I like to hang the empty frames first, because you never know how you might switch something up (i.e. horizontal, then to vertical). When you have it exactly the way you want it, THEN order the photos, you're 100% sure of what you need.

Now, as much as I LOVE professional photography, and will whole-heartedly admit their photos are worth every penny it costs to have them done, let's face it. It's not always in the budget, I get that. But don't that keep you from hanging a gallery wall in your home. Not one of these photos on my wall were taken by a pro - every one of them (except the ones I'm in) was taken by yours truly. They aren't the greatest quality photos by any stretch but they capture my adorable kids, and that's enough for me.
These pictures make me smile. Big. When I look at them, I see family, I see love, I see the life Paul and I have created together.
And that  is why I love a gallery wall.


decorumdiyer said...

Great job! I need to get onto this project for my living room asap.

Pam said...

I love pics!! I have a gallery wall in my bedroom! And pics everywhere in my house :) love your ideas Liz! You ate truly amazing! Thanks for sharing!

Heather said...

For those scared to be creative I noticed in michaels they have templated stair or wall gallery picture frames. Each frame has a letter then u buy the frame w the letter after u determine the pattern to put on the wall and mark it from the template.. I thought how great that'd be for a stair gallery layout!

LoriDarlin' said...

Awesome! Love it and your attitude toward the pictures ;-)

♥ Sonny ♥ said...

Looks Good to Me.
I learned the hard way that Gallery walls are way harder than they look, to do..

Kristen said...

Love it! I about to do one in the hallway of our wedding photos!!

Sandra said...

a couple of weeks ago, i hung a picture gallery on the walls going down the hallway out the back door. it has literally been a 2 year project. i bought the frames a year or so ago, had them framed and the husband never hung them, and then several go broken. i got them all framed and put in the front formal living area on the bench waiting for the husband to hang them for several more months. finally on a rainy weekend several weekends ago, i had the husband home long enough to hang all the pictures, but i had to lay them out and cut templates and hang them cut out paper on the walls. it was a full proof and easy way for the husband to hang the pix. it looks great. now we can add even more pix. if you'd like to see, check out my FB page Sandra Hayes Walker. just search your likes bc i'm a liker on your FB page. :-)