Use these 5 simple steps to create an easy gallery wall that is beautiful and totally transforms your old space!
Recently I shared our stairwell and small hallway transformation. It went from dark and drab to light and bright! Part of that transformation was a new gallery wall in the main part of the stairwell, and I wanted to share the simple way we put it together.
I almost titled this post “Why Decorating Is Hard for Me and Why I Love It Anyway.” I think it’s easy to look around at blogs or Pinterest and think, “Everything just comes so naturally to all of these people. Why can’t I be like that?”
And while I’m sure there are plenty of talented people out there in blogland who can look at a space and immediately envision the perfect way to decorate it, I am not one of them. I often have to physically try things in a space to figure out if they work or not (the people at the returns counter know me by name 😉 ).
I go through lots of trial and error before I land on something I like, and even then I often end up making changes down the road. It’s a long (and sometimes painful– mostly for Donnie 🙂 ) process.
The more work I do on our house, though, the more I find myself going through the same steps over and over and the easier it becomes, so I thought I’d share my little process with you in case you’re like me and sometimes don’t know what in the world to do with a blank space. Here it goes…
How to Design and Create an Easy Gallery Wall
1. Search for inspiration.
Why yes, I am a big huge nerd at heart, so for that reason, I kind of approached my gallery wall the same way I would approach a test– I studied. I scoured Pinterest and Google image search and the #gallerywalls hashtag on Instagram.
While I did this, I made note of the things I was drawn to in the gallery walls I liked. Many of the ones I was drawn to, for example, mixed different types of frames and shapes and media– round and square and rectangle and wide frames and narrow frames and large pieces and small pieces and mirrors and photographs and art and objects– rather than all of the same type of frame with the same type of media. (Though I have seen many of those that are gorgeous as well.)
I liked when there was a consistent color scheme, and I really liked when that color scheme included metallics. Paying attention to what was inside the frames helped to give me ideas fo things I might like to include in my own gallery, too. My “likes” are certainly not the “right answers” if we’re equating this to test taking, but as you start to look at gallery wall after gallery wall, I think you’ll find yourself being drawn to certain types, whether they’re the same type as mine or not.
2. Shop for gallery wall pieces.
This search usually starts at home. I have a box of frames that I’m not currently using, so I’ll go through and pull out anything I think might work. Sometimes I have to paint or otherwise alter to the frame. Sometimes I just leave it alone.
Once I’ve exhausted all of the options I have in my house, I go in search of pieces to fill in the gaps. I’ve listed the source for each of the items I ended up with below.
where i found my decor
- 1- Hobby Lobby
- 2- Frame I owned, painted and added scrapbook paper banner.
- 3- Frame I owned, painted and added swatch of fabric.
- 4- Hobby Lobby
- 5- Hobby Lobby
- 6- Frame I owned, painted and added scrapbook paper and vinyl arrow cut with my Silhouette machine
- 7- $2 piece of wood from Michael’s, painted, number added using stencil made with my Silhouette
- 8- Target
- 9- Frame I owned, painted and added scrapbook paper and vinyl feather cut with my Silhouette
- 10- IKEA frame I already owned, added swatch of fabric
- 11- Frame from thrift store, painted gold
When I’m gathering pieces, I’m looking to keep a consistent color scheme. The piece of art (#4 above) served as my lead piece for this grouping, and all of the other pieces were chosen/painted to match it.
(I opted to use the darker pink rather than lighter pink in some of the accents because I thought my boys might throw a hissy fit if I made light pink a staple in our house. So far, Donnie and Connor have both referred to the dark pink as red. Shhh… don’t tell them it’s actually pink!)
I was also looking for a mix of large and small frames in different shapes and sizes, as I mentioned previously.
3. Set up a mock gallery.
Once I have gathered a bunch of pieces I love, it’s time to do the arranging. I lay everything out on the floor in my office and move things around over and over until I like it.
Both with the mirror gallery wall in my living room and this one, I gravitated toward using a large piece in the middle as my focal point and then using smaller pieces toward the edges of the grouping. Just to show that things get rearranged and changed over and over, this was the original setup I had decided upon:
As you can see, it looks a little different. I ended up not using the “L” or the larger wooden frame on the left. The art changed sides and I ended up bringing in the gold thrift store frame I already had. That’s because before I set it in stone…
4. Ask for feedback.
I always like to put it in front of another set of eyes. Other people might see something I have missed or have ideas I may not have thought of. Donnie actually has a pretty good eye for things like this, so I always run it past him.
This time I also texted back and forth about it with my friend Chelsea from Making Home Base (who also recently did an adorable gallery wall in her daughter’s room— be sure to check it out!), and she gave me some great suggestions too.
After I was set on my final arrangement, it was finally time to…
5. Hang the gallery wall!
Donnie was in charge of the actual hanging of the pieces, but I did the all-important job of supervising. 🙂 Honestly, we usually just wing it, but this time we traced all the pieces on paper and arranged them on the wall first to make sure they looked just right.
There were a lot less holes in the wall using this method.
Tip for hanging
When you are tracing, make sure you mark where the frame’s holes/hooks are on your paper template so you can just tap your nails into the template, pull the template away, and they’re in the perfect spot for hanging the pieces. It’s kind of like magic.
When all the pieces were hung in place, we finally had…
our beautiful gallery wall!
And it’s definitely an improvement over what we had before…
Sigh… so much better! Yes, decorating can sometimes seem overwhelming, but it can also be so much fun! Following the steps above has definitely helped me to enjoy the process and make our home a little more “us” in the process.
Easy Gallery Walls: Frequently Asked Questions
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What are your favorite tips for hanging gallery walls?
Thanks so much for following along! Have a wonderful day!