Hi! My name is Robin and I have gallery wall obsession.
Whew, I said it.
I've been reading that gallery walls may be heading the same way as the accent wall, as in becoming outdated, but I swear that I will never give in to such nonsense and plan on becoming an old lady surrounded by my gallery walls. I say walls as a plural because yes, I have more than one, and yes, I want more than I currently have.
Here's the thing about the gallery wall. I have kids, I have a past, and I like pretty things. I'm not alone in this and I find that if you want to display your personal and beloved objects, art, and photos you have two options. The first is buy a bunch of little frames and display them on every flat surface in your home. The second is to put them up on the wall and create a gallery display out of them. One can make your adult home look like your dorm room, and the second can make such a beautiful impact that you can't believe how empty your walls looked before. Trust me on this. I spent the first 33 years of my life with option one, and the last three with option two... I'm not going back!
I think my main hesitation in creating a gallery wall was that I just had no idea where to start. We had a bunch of random frames (most of which were white) and not that much small art. Sure, we had more photographs of the kids than we knew what to do with, but could I really make a bunch of pictures of my kids look aesthetically pleasing? I wasn't so sure.
One day I just went for it. I starting hanging frames, spray painting ones that looked too similar in color, and soon a pattern emerged (or actually a lack of a pattern) and before I knew it I had floor to ceiling walls in our upstairs bathroom covered in frames. Once the frames were up I was able to see what size photograph was needed in each and I mixed in some pictures of the kids with some inexpensive artwork from etsy. For some of the 8 x 10's I cut out pictures from surf magazines we have laying around, and I even incorporated some of the kids artwork. The end result was a fun and dramatic change, and besides my time there was very little cost involved.
I feel like there are two schools of thought when it comes to the beginning of the gallery wall. Some people start with the art they want to display first, and others start with the frames. I definitely fall in the second camp, and you can see below two walls I'm working on now. The first is for my sister, and the second for my best friend.
For each I basically wrote down the dimensions of the space that was needed and went to West Elm as soon as it opened (to avoid crowds) and really just started to play around. Depending on the sales staff, most will allow you to gently open the frames so long as you don't unwrap them, and I just find an open floor and mess around a little. For each, once I was satisfied I photographed them from above so they would have a road map when hanging at home, and both reported that it was incredibly easy to just copy my plan on the wall from the photograph. I recommended hanging the frames first and then finding photographs and art to fill the frames once you see the general scheme on the wall.
As a rule of thumb I say you either do ALL photographs OR mix photographs with art and some graphic text. The key is to not to have one type of media next to another, so it gives the wall a little more visual interest and again to just play with it. Same goes for the frames. As you can see in the above pic I really wanted to mix the frame colors, but in the bottom the wall is going up in a room that already has a lot going on, so I wanted to make it more neutral. The gold in the middle was just to add a little whimsy so it wasn't all one note.
I'm sure you can find advice that says the opposite of how I do it, but this formula has been working for me, and as they say if it isn't broke... don't fix it!
When starting a gallery wall having a little inspiration certainly doesn't hurt the process. I find myself often looking at the same walls over and over for guidance and I've created a roundup of my all time favorites. Each is completely different from the next which is exactly the point. A gallery wall should be a place that holds your memories and each one is unique as each person.
For those of you looking for a weekend project, the gallery wall is a great place to start!