In the big house, we had a gallery wall. We actually had two - one in the front room and one in the great room.
I really love these for one big reason -
It is a great way to show off lots of smaller pieces of art. Or in our case, family photos and documents.
Instead of having little frames all over, using them on one wall creates a great composition and looks like art when all together.
And it is usually lots less expensive - but don't quote me on that.
Here is how we got ours up.
First, we had to edit some pictures out. In the big house, we had lots of wall space, especially with the cathedral ceilings. It was actually a challenge to hang art so that it didn't look too little. Hence the large collection of stuff on the walls. And hence the editing.
Once we kept only the ones we loved, we arranged them all on the floor in the amount of space we wanted to use on the wall. After playing around with the arrangement for a while, we had a pretty good idea of what we wanted.
Then we made a template for each item that was going on the wall. We choose a window frame, a large replica painting of Christ, some family documents, some family photos and a few "m"s for a little variety. Then we got out the trusty sticky tack and slapped them up on the wall.
After we got the templates up we took a step back and made sure things looked balanced. I prefer balance, but not symmetrical. But that is totally an option though, for sure. We just have a hodge podge of stuff, that symmetry would not really work.
We did have to do a little shimmy to the left, but that is the great thing about the paper templates and sticky tack - there is no commitment at that point. Feel free to move them all over town!
Hanging the pictures is a piece of cake - really. Just measure where the hanger is on the back of what you are hanging, measure it on the template and mark. Then without even taking the paper down, pop the nail or hook RIGHT THROUGH THE PAPER into the wall. Tear off the paper, hang your artwork and done!
We are getting there!
And all are up.
But we did have a little issue. It was kind of heavy - as in "there are a lot of dark frames in our very light living room. And although we like that contrast, it is a bit too much."
So, I got out the paint.
Shocker, I know.
A few of the frames got a wash of white or cream (for that variety again). I left some detail dark so the cool pattern can be seen.
I know some people panic at this kind of look. The worst that can happen is you put more paint on to cover the whole thing.
Give it a try some time!
See, up on the wall with old documents, it totally works!
And it lightens up the wall a little.
Here is the final product!
I don't think there is a wrong way to do a gallery wall. Some people prefer a more symmetrical look, or want all the same frames or even the same kind of artwork (all black and white photos for example). Those are all great options. I prefer a more "collected over time" look and not a ton of matching, but that's me.
Check out the two photos below - Can you spot the differences on the gallery wall?
The upper photo was taken just after we finished hanging everything up. The lower photo was taken after tweaking a few frames and doing a little switcheroo of one or two.
All of our favorites (especially after the edit - these are the keepers) and not any extra expense.
We love it.