Making a Gallery Wall

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Life is full of compromises.  You want to get more sleep but don’t have the time. So you allow yourself to nod off whenever possible; during a movie, standing in line at the grocery store, in the middle of anyone talking about their kids.  See?  You compromised.

In order to get one thing done, chances are, if your life is full, you have to deal with the fact that some other thing is NOT going to get done.  You take the kids to hockey practice knowing that means the laundry won’t get done.  You do the laundry, knowing that means the homemade meal is not going to get done. You make the homemade meal knowing that means you won’t get to sit down for 3 hours to binge watch The Mindy Project.

Life is compromise after compromise and that’s why you can’t get everything done.  That and the thought of doing certain things sends you into such an upset you develop eye warts and spectacular stomach distress.

Such is the case with The Gallery Wall.  I know you want one.  So did I.  I know you’re putting it off.  So did I.

I could say I haven’t done the gallery wall I’ve wanted to do for the past 5 years because I haven’t had time. I could say I had to take the kids to hockey practice.  But those would be boldfaced lies.  I watched 4 seasons of American Horror Story in a day and a half just last month.  I had time.  Plus my kids aren’t enrolled in hockey.  Plus I don’t have kids.

So ….

A gallery wall is one of those things that you don’t know where to start.  You don’t WANT to start.

Want to know the trick to starting a gallery wall?

Imagine someone has a gun to your  head.  Simple as that.

Then start by dragging all your art into one room and confront it.  Look at it, take it all in, then boss it around.  YOU are going to make a gallery wall.

 

GALLERY WALL RULES (to ignore)

#1.  Use photos that all have the same coloured frame.

Yes, using frames that look the same either in shape, size or colour makes the job a bit easier but it also makes for a less interesting gallery wall.

 

GALLERY WALL RULES (to ignore)

#2.  Use all black and white pictures.

Sure if black and white is your thing, go nuts, but this is definitely a rule that can be ignored.  In fact I think an entirely black and white photo wall would be pretty boring.

 

GALLERY WALL RULES (to ignore)

#3 Trace your frames onto paper and then tape the paper to the wall so you can arrange your art without having to hang it.  Once you find a configuration you like, you can hang your actual art therefore eliminating the dreaded “Wall of a thousand holes”.

This tip is worth looking at for some people. It just didn’t work for me.  I tried to use this tip but gave up on it.  The paper kept falling off the wall, I didn’t have the patience to cut out patterns of all of my art (I just wanted to get going on hanging real art) and this method doesn’t take the actual images or even the look/colour of the frame into account.  Just the size of the frame.

 

So if I ignored the rules, how did I do it?  How did I finally make a gallery wall?

 

Like so.

 

I dragged up every single picture that’s been sitting in my basement and around my house.  Stuff that wasn’t remarkable enough to look good all on its own, or didn’t fit the space or whatever.

 

If I had a recent photo of my walls before doing the gallery wall here is where I would put it.  But I do not.  Don’t ask me how I don’t but I don’t.  I do  have a photo of the left corner of the room.  Here it is.

 

bertelson-sectional

photo by Donna Griffith for Style at Home Magazine

 

That picture, even though it’s many years old, gives you a sense of what the room was like before I made the gallery wall.  Mainly because it was exactly the same for many years.  In addition to adding the gallery wall I changed up a few tables, accessories and lights.

The rattan table at the end of the couch is actually a basket from Target that I was using as a log holder.  Since it was replaced by my Ikea laundry hamper hack, I put a piece of glass on it and it now acts as a table.  The reading light over it is a vintage piece I found at my local Bible/thrift store for $9.

 

gallery-wall-mixed-framesb

O.K., back to picking out your art.

It’s entirely possible you don’t have this much hidden art in your basement or on walls around your house.  That’s fine.  You’ll build your gallery wall over time.

KAREN’S GALLERY WALL RULE (feel free to ignore)

Pick your statement piece  (usually the largest frame) and work out from it.  

 

I had a lot of big pieces so this was hard for me and it might be for you too.

 

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I knew I wanted my Ikea purchased, Matisse line drawing print (black and white with boobs) adjacent to my antique gold frame because of the dichotomy and how well they complimented each other.  So those were the two pieces I hung first.

 

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Then I hopped over to the righthand side of the window and hung the anchoring piece for that side.  The blue period Picasso print in the gold frame  ( It’s kind of just propped in the gold frame right now but I hope to have it actually framed in the next decade or so.    Give or take a hockey practice or two.)

Technically (and if I were to follow the rules) this piece should either be centred on the wall or immediately to the right of the curtain panel.  But if I did that then my favourite piece of art in the whole room would be partially blocked most of the time.  So I broke the rule and hung it where you’d see it the best.  See?  The rules don’t always work for everyone and if you can think of a good reason to break one, I highly recommend you do so. You’ll thank me for it later.  Unless you’re Jewish and you’re eyeing a bacon double cheeseburger.  In that case, you’re on your own.

 

At this point I had my 3 major pieces hung and it was time to get the rest of them up.  I laid the remaining art on the floor of the living room according to size and/or colour.

Then I matched up frames to fit the spaces available.  By just laying everything on the floor side by side I could basically see how they’d fit together on the wall.  What you’re doing is making an art jigsaw puzzle really.

It may seem all willy nilly when you look at this sort of gallery wall, but if you really look at it you’ll notice something holding everything together. If you look at my wall below you’ll notice that the top of all the frames line up straight.  O.K. the gold frame is a little slanty but that’s just where a  wombat landed on it before I took the picture.  I was also able to make them line up on the bottom of their frames, but this isn’t necessary.  It was just luck.

 

You can also see that all the pictures have a similar sized space in between them.  This helps calm the riot of art down a bit.  It makes it easier to look at.
Gallery-Wall-2b

 

KAREN’S GALLERY WALL RULE (try not to ignore)

#2.  If you want this sort of classic, collected over time, gallery wall feel, use a mix of paintings, prints, drawings and photos.

 

Gallery-Wall-4

 

The point is you just have to sit down and do it.  Making a gallery wall is one of those things that’s way more intimidating to think about than to actually do. Once I got rolling it was way easier than I imagined it was going to be.  Like, way easier.  For one thing I kind of imagined it was going to be like drowning puppies or showing your boobs to your neighbours.  An absolute nightmare.

But it wasn’t.

To recap:

1.  Pull out all the art in your house and put it on the floor in one room.

2.  Hang the biggest, most dynamic piece first then just start working out from there.

3.  Working with similar shaped or coloured frames is easier but won’t have quite as much impact.

4.  Lay pieces out on the floor and move them around seeing which ones will fit best together.

4.  Mix prints, photos, drawings and paintings.

5.  Tame the wall a bit by making sure some of the edges line up or there’s a relatively equal space between the hangings.

 

But really my most important piece of advice is just start the stupid project.  Just start it.  If you can bring yourself to do that you’ll have done the hardest part.  And understand you’ll have to make a compromise.  So the day the gallery wall gets done, shovelling up the dog crap from the yard might not get done.

Gallery wall’s not lookin’ so bad anymore is it?

 

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77 Comments

  1. Tracy says:

    Thanks for this! Ironically, I pulled all of our art out on Friday night and organized what I thought I wanted (on three different walls), then also cut out paper to hang up where I thought the grouping should then go. I have also been putting this off – and it took some time, but now all I have to do is actually put the nails in the walls. The hubs is opposed to nail holes, so it may take a few hockey practices before I gain his commitment! 🙂 Feels good having a plan though! 😉 Your walls look GREAT!!

  2. Nur Costa says:

    This looks awesome, Karen!
    Nice job! I know it must have been hard to pull this one. But the writing of this post and the pictures are GOLDEN.
    Congrats, and enjoy your new wall! 😀

  3. Grammy says:

    Nice job on the gallery wall. It’s nice to get your artwork up where you (and we) can enjoy it.

    But where did your log table go?

    • Karen says:

      It’s just over in the foyer under a painting on a very, very narrow wall between a window and door. It’s moved over about 8 feet, lol. ~ karen!

  4. Jenny W says:

    I recently added a gallery wall to a narrow staircase leading up to my two teenager’s bedrooms,
    Like you, I just winged it 🙂 Had a “kind-a-sort-a plan”, and just made it pleasing to my eye.
    May I just add, for all those worrying about nail holes, to use command hooks, and command sticky spots for the corners. Soooo worth it!

  5. judy says:

    I love everything you do and the humor is icing on the Cake but I have to say the guitarist gives me the Willies. I would have to invite him to put down his guitar and come have a couple of double bacon cheeseburgers and maybe a nice new outfit……….. and shoes? and try playing a tune that brings a nice smile to that face.

    • Karen says:

      Ha! That’s The Old Guitarist by Picasso. It used to hang in my grandparents attic and it scared the CRAP out of me! It just creeped me out. But it was their house I also secretly went through medical textbooks of malformed babies etc., so it was the lesser of two frightening things. It always terrified me but I grew to love the scary guitar player. 🙂 ~ karen!

  6. Jody says:

    Very eclectic mix of art. I love it. What the story of the upside down guy?

  7. Kat says:

    Beautiful job Karen. I once did a gallery wall of all mirrors, I loved that wall. Did you order those black and whites to make your name? I would like to do one of my own so will be on the look out of for ones to do my own name with my own photos, such a unique piece!

    • Karen says:

      The fella got me that for Christmas a few years ago. It was really popular around here at the craft markets for about one summer. I’m actually going to replace my name with black and white photos of my chickens when I get around to it, lol. ~ karen!

  8. Shirley says:

    Love your “KAREN” picture! Took me a while. 🙂

  9. Tigersmom says:

    Your wall looks awesome! The room looked great before, but the artwork really warms it up. Now I want to know where the gold mirror is living and did you put a glass top on your log table and is that what I am glimpsing in the bottom right corner of the third picture?

    My trick for settling on a layout without putting a zillion holes in the wall is to lay out a cheap roll of white (or if it’s not white, just use the backside of it) wrapping paper on the floor and then arrange the pictures on top of it. Once you like the arrangement, trace around the frames and then you only have to get one piece of paper to stick to the wall and you have a pattern of your arrangement in case you get interrupted and can’t complete the hanging job all at once. If you have multiple frames of the same size, you can just write the title of the work or a brief description inside your traced outline of the piece. I figured this out when I was hanging a wall of crosses years ago. It saved my sanity.

    Also, I have been known to use duct tape (on the backside) to hold a picture into a frame instead of actually shelling out to have it affixed into the frame by a pro. I’m strangely fearless when it comes to opening up the backside of a picture and repurposing frames. I’ve done it countless times.

    • Karen says:

      Gold mirror is now over a bookcase made of butter boxes in my office and the other log table you see is an unfinished one without legs. 🙂 ~ karen!

  10. magali says:

    I had a gallery wall in the apartment we just moved out of and now will have to start over. My problem wasn’t getting the art on the wall, my problem is with getting prints framed! Every time I buy a new print it just gets taped to the wall in it’s protective plastic and I picture the frame I want. And every time a Michaels frame sale comes along I put the coupon/ad on the fridge and my husband and I promise each other we will go together. And every single time that coupon ends up going in the recycling weeks later. Our compromise is binge watching Suits. The vicious cycle needs to stop!!

  11. Tigersmom says:

    Oh, and my trick for keeping frames from tilting is to use museum putty underneath the two bottom corners. It doesn’t harm the walls or the frames and keeps the pictures level and aligned until my son pulls it out to make creatures out of it.

  12. Linda Weber says:

    I think your gallery wall makes the room seem larger (or as designers would say – it expands the space lol)

    • Karen says:

      LOL. And it really makes the couch “pop”, ;). Thanks Linda. It just makes the room feel more complete and more like it’s been there forever. Less decorated, more lived in. Which it is. I’ve barely left the room since redoing it. ~ karen!

  13. OkieGirl says:

    HELP KAREN!!
    I love this and have been putting it off for three years. Karen, I love that you chuck the rules and come out on the creative end. But!! What about the large wall a large a## TV is hung on? I’ve seen stuff hung around the TV in Pottery Barn catalogs…but the rules followed and it looks a bit on the boring side. But how do you, or do you, introduce the variety of photos and art that you have so done so well without interfering with watching the boob tube? My fear, or really, my husband’s fear, is that the things hung around the TV will distract from watching Scandal. Any tips?

    • Karen says:

      Hi OkieGirl – The things hanging around the television won’t interfere with watching it unless you’re watching something really boring. I also strugle with my television. I hate it! At the moment it is on the wall opposite the corner of the couch with the brass, 3 legged lamp. It’s on an articulating arm and sits across the corner, not flat on the wall. To the right of it I have another print on canvas hung. It’s my least favourite corner of the room but my most necessary. 🙁 I think that in the case of the flatscreen television, either placing it on a *black* wall, or surrounded by black framed photos/art helps to integrate it. ~ karen!

    • Allison says:

      My recommendation is to treat the TV as your anchoring piece that Karen mentions above. If you use a variety of frames and art, it won’t be boring. It shouldn’t distract when the TV is on, but will make the TV less noticeable when it’s off. 🙂

      We are planning on doing this soon once we do some rearranging of the furniture in our living room.

  14. Traci says:

    We are filling up the 2 story wall in our stairwell like this and did a gallery wall in the living room as well. For the living room, it was easy to lay things out on the floor to arrange and just hang. For the stairs we did find the paper trick to be essential for the first round, but now we just add to it piece by piece. I found arranging items by color tones helped calm things down and each color family blends to the next. It doesn’t scream color coordinated (no rainbow effect), but it does allow for some visual flow.

  15. kathleen says:

    loved this so much i felt compelled to comment!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Kathleen. I appreciate it. I’m really, really happy with how it turned out and I wish I’d done it sooner! ~ karen

  16. Diane Amick says:

    OkieGirl I can help!!

    I have the same situation, plus (!) I have a very open floorplan which means I have virtually NO walls in my LR (a 11′ opening into the DR, a wall of frenchdoor/fireplace/frenchdoor/ a 10′ opening into the kitchen). The ONLY wall is where the 47″ flatscreen TV lives. It looked like a large black hole into which the world got sucked. I started at the vaulted ceiling top directly above and centered on the TV with my largest piece and worked my way out to both corners from there. I guess what helped was that this wall has chair molding and grasscloth wallpaper below it, so really I was working with about half the wall space. It has very eclectic artwork – everything from a framed oriental fan, not one but two feather wreaths (different sizes and colors), crossstitch, glass mosaics and line drawing nudes, three oil paintings of fruit, a bird print, roosters (three – one in oil, one crossstitch and one mosiac), and two family crests framed alike but hung at a distance from one another. I don’t think it causes any problems with watching the TV – the TV actually gives your eye a place to rest on the wall. It did take awhile, but I LOVE IT.

  17. Melanie says:

    The girl in the clouds (tiny on my screen, but looks almost Edward Gorey-ish — her legs and hair, I think) has Talking Heads’ And She Was stuck in my head. Think I’ll go listen to that right now!

  18. Jennie Lee says:

    I, too, miss your log table. I want one myself. I noticed recently that Ellen has one on her show, where she sits down to interview guests. Please tell us you found an even nicer place for it.

  19. Deb J. says:

    I designed a gallery wall for my daughter. She wanted one to fill the space over her couch in her bachelor apartment. She only had a couple of items and virtually no money so I was working with a blank slate. Very liberating! And a bit of a challenge. In the end, I created a rectangle above her couch and defined the four outside corners. Then I filled in the space with pleasing shapes. She took my drawing and raided my supplies, haunted thrift stores, etc and filled in the space. It contains art she made, thrifted mirrors, antlers, feathers, etc. Even an old wrapper from some seam binding. It looks great. I want one in my house but cannot make it happen. I keep getting stuck on two groups if three that I own. I know I should just break them up but …. It is a lot easier to do things when you don’t have to live with them:)

  20. Bols says:

    I planned to do a gallery wall for a long time. Last year in the spring I felt I was finally ready (all the frames were spray-painted the same colour). I put to together a huge piece of paper (representing the space on the wall where the frames would go) and as I was played around with the placement of the individual frames I came to the sad conclusion that the frames I have don’t go together as nicely as I had hoped. I simply could not arrive at an arrangement that was truly pleasing to [my] eye. So I abandoned the project, for an indefinite period of time, and now I have decided to repaint the wall so there will be, most likely, no gallery. (The frames were supposed to go to an accented area of the wall that was painted a different colour than the rest).

  21. Bols says:

    By the way, for the ladies who didn’t want to punch holes – lots of people use the 3M Command strips but personally, I had rather mixed experience with them. Some pieces fell off my wall (and there was minor damage) even though I religiously followed the instructions and I even doubled the strips even though I was not exceeding the weight allowance per a single pair. Lots of people swear on the 3M strips and I wish I could, but I can’t.

    Surprisingly, the pieces that never fell off (I hope I am not jinxing myself) are two canvases on a frame (what is the word for a triptych that has only 2 pieces? A twintych? 🙂 ) that are hung above the toilet. Which is good because if they fall, you know where they will land.

    • Karen says:

      I think with real, framed, art that’s quite heavy (like the very ornate antique plaster frame around the girl in the blue dress) the only way to go is with an anchor in the wall. The value of that piece (and many older pieces) is in the frame and if it ever fell it would be heart breaking. Personally I wouldn’t use command hooks for a gallery wall because of the fact that they do occasionally give away. I’d only use them very very lightweight things on a wall. ~ karen!

    • Tigersmom says:

      A diptych is defined as “any object with two flat plates attached at a hinge,” but it is also used to describe a single piece artwork that is divided into two separate pieces of equal size.

  22. Mary Werner says:

    The difference between the cooler first living room picture and the warmed up very welcoming second living room picture is striking! You really “nailed it”. I think the little splashes of turquoise and pop of red brought excitement into the arrangement – kind of like the little tiny white sparkle of life in an eye does. This room change is amazing!

  23. Bonnie says:

    I love it. I have been wanting to do something like this in my boring hall, but I decided to put up a magnetic sheet there an put up a moving gallery of things there.
    I just moved into a new office at work, and there were already lots of hangers on the walls from the previous tenant, so I have tried to hang my things from those–not that aesthetically pleasing, but I get some small pleasure from the asymmetry. I may fix it…

    Now, a very serious question: Which food saver would you recommend? I was convinced by your blog about the freezer to get one, but I am stymied by the many kinds there are. Can you help with what are necessary properties and what are bonuses.

    Bonnie

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bonnie! I have the oldest, smallest version of the Foodsaver around. It’s around 15 years old and is just starting to show signs of revolt. If it gets to the point I have to get a new one I would just buy the smallest one they have because it’s easier to store and easier to pull out of a cupboard. For a while there they only had “new, improved, HUGE ones”, but they seem to have come out with a very small black one recently. So that’s the one I’d recommend. ~ karen!

  24. Allison says:

    Also: Not all art on a gallery wall needs to be framed. We have a gallery wall in our kitchen, and I have paintings, drawings, framed sheet music, as well as sculptures and even antlers hanging. (It also helps cover up where you haven’t bothered to fix the wall after pulling down wallpaper in a pregnant hormonal decorating rampage.)

    Let me see if I can link up a picture here somehow. . .

    Here’s our photo hall in the hallway:
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152175845251086&set=pb.565421085.-2207520000.1421679075.&type=3&theater

    And here’s the gallery wall in our kitchen:
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152511644426086&set=pb.565421085.-2207520000.1421679324.&type=3&theater

    and

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152511644796086&set=pb.565421085.-2207520000.1421679324.&type=3&theater

    Karen,
    I hope you don’t mind me linking!

    • Karen says:

      I’d only mind if it was hideous or filled with bad advice. 😉 And it’s not, so … I really like the kitchen wall! ~ karen!

      • Allison says:

        Wow, thanks! That means a lot to me! I have to rearrange things a bit now because I’ve got another piece to add to it, so we’ll see how that goes!

        • Vanessa says:

          I love the paint Brushes!!! I was just at an antique store and they wanted $50 – $80 for them. I happen to have some in my shed, they used to belong to my Grandfather. I was trying to figure out a way to hang them and they look so good among the paintings! Well done!

          • Allison says:

            Thanks! The brushes on my wall are actually sculptures of paintbrushes, believe it or not. I do love the idea of hanging your granddad’s brushes though!

            • Allison says:

              My husband finds it odd that I would buy sculptures of paintbrushes when I am an artist and have plenty laying around. He doesn’t seem to understand that I actually USE the other ones. 🙂

            • Vanessa says:

              Ha! I stole some of my husbands old ones to put in a display with an old French easel and some crusty tubes of paint. Either way, the look great up with the paintings. Are any of those pieces yours?

            • Allison says:

              Vanessa,
              Yes, most of them are. The only painting that isn’t mine is the one in the top left. One of my sons did that one. 🙂 There is also one of his handprints, but I’m not sure that it’s clearly visible.

              The rest are my paintings. I found the paintbrush sculptures in a gallery in Round Top, Texas, but the artist’s name escapes me. There is a little elf house and gun made out of wood that my husband made also.

              You can get a better view of some of my artwork at my website http://www.foxfiregalleries.com or at my fineartamerica site here:

              http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/1-allison-fox.html?tab=artwork

              I’m still at a loss as to what color I want to refinish the dresser in the pic. I’m leaning towards a pretty teal color since my house is full of turquoise and spring green. . .

  25. ~JackieVB says:

    I received an empty picture frame from a friend for Christmas this year with a note saying that I could come over to her house and pick a picture from her gallery wall(s). I’ve always admired her art collection and how it made her home feel warm and interesting and now have the tools to get me started – no excuses! Oh, and I absolutely love David Sedaris, I make sure to get his books in audiobook format because listening to him read his work makes it 10 times funnier 🙂

  26. Wendy says:

    Very nice indeed.
    I think the brass lamp is my old lamp, circa 1988, from Pier One Imports. It was in my life for many years. I know brass and warm metals are coming back, but I just can’t go there. Exception: picture/mirror frames.
    I really like your house, Ms. Karen.
    But I’m too busy going to my own hockey lessons these days!

  27. Melissa in North Carolina says:

    Your gallery wall looks great! I love the eclectic mix. I just so happens that I’m building a kitchen gallery wall. I don’t have much to hang so mine is a work in progresss…so far so good. The only rule I’m following is to hang my art the same distance apart from one another and to keep the edges lined up. I’ve got some framed art, a metal signs and a decorative cross, it’s my focal piece. It isn’t my largest piece, it just means the most to me. One of my framed pieces is print of seasonal chalkboard art. I love being able to change it out . I can always find free chalkboard prints on Pinterest! I download it and take it to a Staples, for less than a buck I have a professional print of seasonal art! Right now Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow is featured. A NC girl can dream!

  28. Lynn says:

    Love your wall Karen . I am going to have to get hubby to read your article as we just painted our open living room dinning room.
    We painted navy blue on 3 walls and sky blue on the long wall , I admitt I was scared when he picked the colors this time. We have our 50″ flat screen in the corner at a angle. To cut the glare on the one wall we are hanging things that do not reflect light. His problem with our gallery wall is it has to be middle of picture at eye level . It is why he needs to read your article

  29. Sera says:

    I love it Karen! I have two gallery walls, or actually a gallery corner above out 47″ tv. I’ve been itching to paint the wall a deep dark blue to make the art stand out and the tv disappear. I hesitated starting the process for a long time and then one day my husband just started hammering. The spaces between the art aren’t as neat as I’d like and I’ve made some adjustments, but I love having the art up. And when I get a little bored, I switch out the art with other pieces of similar size. I actually have four large season prints that I swap out according to the season. If I didn’t have a newborn, I might get inspired again, but right now I’m more inspired to take a nap.

  30. Laura Bee says:

    Yes! Thanks for the kick in the ass. I have my daughter’s cat collection up (with room for more)in her room. And a few pieces in the upstairs hall. I have been putting off the rest of the house. Gathering it all together will be a good start.

  31. brenda says:

    I was hoping the gold mirror was packed up and on it’s way to my living room…darn!!!!!

  32. JeannieB says:

    Your wall looks very nice Karen and it adds so much interest to your room. I, too, had one of those brass “clam” reading lights in the early ’80’s. Unfortunately it broke and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. Mine, I believe, came from Consumer’s Distributing.

  33. jainegayer says:

    This was a very timely post for me today. We moved on Jan. 8, boxes are unpacked and it was time to do the artwork. I have a lot, we have a lot. I was trying to convince my husband that all the frames didn’t need to match to make a gallery wall. So while he was deciding that he really needed all the New York pictures in the office, I occupied myself reading your post. And wow, Karen! I could actually show him that we could break the rules. I love to do this anyway cause he’s a lawyer. Thank you for being a rebel! Your walls (and ours) look great!

  34. Vanessa says:

    My husband is an illustrator, and my daughter has inheirited his skill. I have more art than I know what to do with!! Big and Small. We moved from a house with high ceillings and no windows to a home with big windows and low ceillings. I have been struggling on how to put up even a fraction of the artwork that I have. Maybe I should just get started??

  35. Janelle says:

    Looks great – so much more interesting to look at than ones with matching types of pictures or identical frames. A tip for the flat screen: I took a cool photograph my brother took and had it mounted on canvas (I used Canvas Pop, I think) to the size of the flat screen with an extra deep (wooden) frame part and I just hang it right over the t.v. It just looks like art sitting there. Granted, my kids constantly take it down and neglect to put it back, so the cool photograph spends more time on the floor than over the t.v. but you get the idea. Restoration Hardware has these t.v. easels but in my opinion, they are total bulls*t.

    • Karen says:

      I love the TV easels, lol! I just think the need to be in the right setting. Pretty much with no other clutter around. ~ karen!

      • Janelle says:

        Perhaps. It’s actually not so much the look of it that bothers me as the “t.v. as art” concept, but maybe I’m reading too much in 🙂

  36. Debbie says:

    I didn’t know a wall of pictures had a name. I did this in my living room in my old house and was sad we didn’t have a good wall for this in the new house. I didn’t tape up paper or lay out the pictures. We just started hanging and the wall made itself. We loved it. I miss that wall.

  37. Diane says:

    I use the paper method too. But only AFTER I have layed it out on the floor. Then I cut each out and make a mark on the paper where the nail will go. When I tape them to the wall I can measure more accurately and locate the nail exactly where I want. I have used cheap wrapping paper, paper bags, parchment paper, and even my mega roll of aluminum foil (that lasts three lifetimes from Costco)! All great ideas here! Thanks Karen for tackling this topic in a pleaseant way. It can be very frustrating sometimes.

    Another suggestion…make sure one or two frames are standard sizes so you can change out kid art and mix it up a bit when you get bored. For some reason we never want to change the wall after the headache we went through to put it together. So…30 years later…same wall, same art. Yup, just like Mom!

  38. Jack Ledger says:

    It was a sadistic thing you did, inserting that photo with one picture frame slightly ajar to the right!! It will take me all day photoshopping that picture to straighten it out!!! So much for the laundry and emptying the dishwasher…….

  39. Sabina says:

    THANK YOU!!! I have been staring at a rather large and nearly blank living room wall for over a year thinking “this wall needs something, those two pictures just don’t cut it anymore”. I have purged excess furniture and ‘stuff’ and moved the surviving pieces around to make the room larger and take advantage of all the space in the room and though the two pictures worked with the previous layout they now look like they were literally just stuck there. I now have a new winter project! And as I’ve been changing over all my picture frames around the house to 1″ black frames, I will surely break that rule with this wall!

  40. Donna says:

    Did my gallery wall a few months ago. The gun to my head was my neighbor. Wish I could embed a picture, it turned out great. Used my black and white pics, with black frames, and a silver clock.

    My big story this week is your “Get rid of 50 things”. I have stuck to that for 2 weeks now. All the closets in my house, my attic, and today I finished my garage storage room. I have donated twice to the homeless shelter, twice to Dress for Success, given away to friends, and thrown away so much stuff I had to sneak some in my neighbor’s trash can. Feels good to get rid of all that excess stuff I’ve been hauling around or storing for way too long. Good way to start the year!

  41. Safetydog says:

    Finally made a gallery wall a few years ago. The gun to my head was an impending graduation party. The collection includes the most recent annual school photos, a family portrait, a rope covered letter M, and a cross-stitch sampler done by a great-great-aunt. Love it.

    We did our “get rid of 50 things” a few months ago, after a house flood. Our daughter insisted we continue by going through our closets and dresser drawers.

  42. CZ says:

    Could I PLEASE hire you to come to my house & kick-my-butt into gear??? I’ve been thinking about this project (and many of the 100 or so more that you have completed), for YEARS! For 15+ years to be exact! My ex-husband hated the idea of a gallery wall, so being the good little wife that I was, I never did one – even though I LOVED the idea of it! But when I got my own place 15 years ago, I promised myself I would do it. And there they sit; cold & lonely in the corner of the basement. Until next weekend (it would be this weekend, but I’ve got a rare opportunity to go away with my sister). By the grace of God, and your boot kicking my butt, I WILL have my gallery wall(s) by February 1st!

  43. Liz says:

    You should. I think I find your blog so addictive because you are such a DOER! and I am not-er. You motivate me big time.

  44. TucsonPatty says:

    Within the last year (6months?) I finally, finally got my “Plate Wall” up. It is probably out of style now, but,oh well, I love it anyway. I did the cutting out the shapes thing and (and then used up all of my binge watching time forever by using colored pencils to approximate the plate color and design, very roughly!) then stuck the paper on the wall and marked where the nail needed to go, as the hanger was in a different spot on each plate. It was a pretty big pain in my a** and I have since added to it, simply by the seat of my pants. It wraps around an inside corner and heads on over to the wall clock that has been there for almost twenty years and looks awesome. I wish I had just done it like that in the first place – it wouldn’t have taken over my life for days and days. I love your wall, it is a thing of beauty! Thanks, as always, for your inspiration!

  45. Love this post Karen! A gallery wall can seem so daunting, and who has the patience to cut out paper stand-ins and do everything by the book? Not I! I’d go at it exactly like you have, and look at the fabulous results 🙂 Nice job and thanks for the inspiration and permission to break the rules.

  46. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Great job girl..now maybe I will be brave and start mine..also..I want those lamps..you have my address..lol..

  47. Barbie says:

    I JUST did one of these FINALLY after wanting to for so long. It wasn’t easy. I DO have a million holes in my wall…(but that has never bothered me EVER) LOL However it does bother my husband….no worries theres always spackle! Came out pretty good….but I do need to change some of the photos in the pictures. Some of them hold pictures of people that I don’t like anymore! LOL OH….it’s not an ART gallery wall….but a people gallery wall. 🙂

  48. Mindy says:

    I want a giant mixed one on the wall my bed is on. Have for years. All my “art” is under my bed. Waiting. I do have an enormous one behind my couch. All black frames. All black and white photos of somebody’s kids. Oh, that’s right, they’re mine. I have another over my fake fireplace and I’ve started one in the master bath that I see any time I pee and LOVE. So REALLY, I’m not quite sure what’s taking so long in the bedroom. Maybe the fact that I think it would look better with white walls. Like yours. And yours looks awesome. So yeah, clearly I need to paint. Crap.

  49. Dana says:

    Way too funny, I had been wrestling with this same gallery task at my house for a few years. I kept accumulating coordinating pieces and then I received one if those same monogram name art pieces you have as a Christmas gift, it forced me to pull it all together and I’m so glad I did, it’s my fav wall in our house! I used that piece as my start and built it out on the floor, hung it as I went and adjusted a little at the end.

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