Gallery Walls are a great addition to your home decor. Creating art from your greatest masterpiece, your family, is invaluable and incredibly meaningful. They become daily reminders of who are, where we came from and allow us to share our stories. Gallery Walls surround us in authenticity, ground us and connect us.
Step 1: Planning
To create a gallery wall, first find the perfect spot. Over a couch, above a desk or going up the stairs are great high-traffic places to consider. Next you want to evaluate the decor style in this space and the scale of the gallery wall. These factors will determine the frame style, sizes and arrangement. Mix and match sizes and frames for a collected feel or use the same size and cleanline frame with grid spacing for a more modern feel. Things to consider:
• What story are you telling? A story of family (Is everyone represented? Can you see different relationships, like mom&dad vs. siblings vs. a special bond?). A celebration of this chapter in your lives, like a new baby. (Ensure images are scaled properly. If you want to portray how little baby is, print so baby is to scale or smaller. If you want to highlight little details like eyelashes and baby fuzz, don’t be afraid to go big.) A story of life. (Mix old with new. Dig up old polaroids and mix with new digital prints. Choose portraying the story over perfection.)
• Will your gallery wall grow over time? A great option for stairs or accent walls.
• How’s the lighting? If it’s in direct sunlight, use protective glass. If it’s dark, consider adding lighting like picture lights.
• Do your photographs compete with each other or do they look cohesive? If you’re using pictures from different times, photographers, places, etc., you can also have them all converted to Black & White so the focus stays on the story and not the different styles.
Next you’ll want to measure out the gallery wall space with paper and place your frames on the paper template. Play around with arrangements on the floor until you find the best fit. Trace each frame making sure they are evenly spaced and level. I typically use a 2 inch spacing, but it depends on the frames used and the look you want to achieve. Remove one frame at a time. Using a ruler, measure the brackets on the back of each frame, transfer to the template and label the template so you know where each frame goes. The design I used also includes a shelf so I pre-measured the items I planned to display to ensure I’d have enough room between the shelf and frame.
Step 2: Installing your Gallery Wall
Using painter’s tape, adhere the template to the wall. Using a level, make sure your frames will be straight. This is where you want to measure twice and hammer once! Step back, look over the design before you start hammering away. I often have an assistant hold up larger frames in position so I can get a sense for the final product in case I need to make any changes before installation.
Using the marks you’ve made from the frame’s brackets, start hammering the appropriate picture hangers. Consider weight, size and the frames bracket type when choosing hangers.
Once all the hangers are in, carefully rip the paper off (you can leave the hangers right in the wall and the paper will simply rip around them). Hang each frame, decorate your shelf if you used one and enjoy your creation!
On tough days, a gallery wall helps you focus on what’s most important. Simply walking by can remind us of how far we’ve come and how much we’ve grown. Children love seeing their pictures on the wall; it helps them build their identity, feel connected to their family and increases their confidence. I think it does the same for parents too, in my experience. I just really love coming home after a long day and walking through a house full of memories and happy moments. It slows me down and keeps me grounded. A house becomes a home when your walls tell your love stories.
Note: If you’re not a DIYer, no worries. Every art creation at MLP includes installation! True story. I’ll do all the work so you can relax and enjoy your gallery wall for years to come.