Our Simple, Free Gallery Wall

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Ever since we moved into our new place, we’ve been spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to place all of our old stuff. For example, I was absolutely in love with the design of my daughter’s room in the old apartment. However, the design was very specific to that space. Now, her room is quite a bit smaller and the available wall and floor space is completely different.

We faced a similar challenge with our art. We’d found the perfect spot for most of our photos and wall art in the old place, but we were struggling to decide what to do with our huge collection in the new place. The ceilings in this apartment are also really high, so small pieces of art floating in the middle of the wall weren’t really going to work. Since we had no intention of acquiring a bunch of new art (though we have bought one or 2 pieces for new spaces), we had to figure out how to work with what we already have.

My solution? A gallery wall!

You’ve seen the beautiful photos in magazines: Eclectic collections of art and photographs that work well together all on one wall. Even my favorite husband/wife blogging team, John & Sherry over at Young House Love, created a whole gallery hall (click to see theirs). Once I realized that we have a LOT of black frames, I knew we could pull something together.

I sat one afternoon with the Pinterest app on my iPhone (for visual inspiration), a stack of art, and lots of floor space to lay out my frames. Not all the art made the cut, but we wound up with a pretty great collection. This is what it looked like laid out on the floor. I did edit a couple of placements before I put them on the wall though. Sorry I didn’t take a pic of the final “before.” But here’s the After:

In my opinion gallery walls work best with frames of varying sizes and shapes. We sprinkled in a couple of silver frames for variety (and because they worked best in those spaces), but overall, the look is very purposeful. And we’re thinking about covering the whole wall area with more frames over time. And best of all, this project cost us Nothing. Zip. Nada. We already had tons of picture hooks and all the art on hand.

We were able to use a variety of beloved family photos, art and posters. But if I had to pick a true favorite, it would have to be a drawing my niece gave my husband and I for Christmas. She recreated a photograph of our daughter taking a picture with my Nikon using pastels. She took the photo last Fourth of July and gave us the framed, matted artwork for Christmas. My heart melted when I saw it, and I’m so happy we finally have a place for it ­čÖé

What home projects have you done lately with stuff you already have?

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8 comments… add one
  • Avatar Ulani July 8, 2011, 7:56 am

    Jennae, this idea is GREAT. I have similar sized empty wall in my house, and I have been drawing blanks with ideas for it. You are so talented, I will definitely consider this for my wall! Thanks again and keep it up, you are truly talented.

    • Avatar jennae July 11, 2011, 1:27 pm

      Thanks Ulani! Huge, empty walls are the bane of my existence…lol. I always need to hang something up, or I feel like they’re staring at me every time I walk in the room. This was a quick, free fix. Gotta love that!

  • Avatar Monique July 8, 2011, 5:12 pm

    Beautiful arrangement. Love the way you’ve designed the wall and that couch is a beauty too!

    • Avatar jennae July 11, 2011, 1:28 pm

      Thanks Monique! But we are SO ready to get rid of this sofa! Designing around the huge red elephant in every home drives me crazy…lol.

  • Avatar Amy July 8, 2011, 10:19 pm

    I had a friend who thought she might try this but never followed through. I need to send her here! Yours turned out beautiful!

  • Avatar Kathleen W. July 10, 2011, 1:15 pm

    Love it! I’ve always wanted to do a wall like this and incorporate kids art work too.

    • Avatar jennae July 11, 2011, 1:29 pm

      Go for it! We’re probably going to switch out the art every so often just to keep things fresh, and my daughter has made a few masterpieces I know she’d like to see up there ­čÖé

  • Avatar W. J. St. Christopher August 8, 2011, 6:22 am

    Your wall is gorgeous! I especially like the addition of the filigreed (wrought iron?) pieces and the family photos. I’m an artist who can’t tolerate empty wall space. All my wall space has become gallery walls — some huge displays and some smallish vignettes.

    Congratulations on a job well done. ­čÖé

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