Making a Gallery Wall in 3 Easy Steps

10 Jun

I’d like to take you through a tour of our living room gallery wall. It’s been a work in progress for over a year and I’m sure it will continue to morph with every crazy whim that I have. For the purposes of this experiment, please avert your eyes away from the ginormous television. It will be there only until it craps out and I get a more reasonably sized TV. Don’t get me wrong – Mama loves her TV. How can I not?  It brings me such beautiful gifts – like Mad Men and Happy Endings. But this size was more suited to the long living room in our old house and right now, it’s just messing with my gallery wall.

How I made my gallery wall in 3 easy steps

Step 1: Research.

I went on to my beloved Pinterest and searched “gallery wall” to check out what I liked and didn’t like. I compared every option: matching frames vs random ones, symmetry vs asymmetry, small pics vs large pics, color vs black and white, taking up a small section of the wall vs spanning the majority of the wall, small spaces between frames vs larger spaces between frames. I also spent a lot of time just sitting on the couch starring at the wall. (Hard work, I know, but I swear my gears were turning). Pinterest was a great way to figure out the look I wanted before I commited to anything.

Step 2: Determine a layout

I cut up sheets of newspapers in the size of my frames and moved them around the wall until I found a layout that worked. I didn’t take a lot of pictures of this process so I’ll just refer you to my favorite DIY home bloggers on the planet, Young House Love, because they’ve already written the best gallery wall tutorial ever.
I made the mistake of hanging empty frames and then trying to find the art for them. Big mistake. It’s like “Gallery Wall Murphy’s Law”: When you need 3 large vertical pieces of art, you’ll only find small horizontal ones that you like. In time I gave up and started moving things around to get them to fit.

Step 3: Be patient 

If you throw things on their quickly, you won’t love it.  Let it come together over time and it will feel totally personal. Mine is still a work in progress.

So, what’s on the wall? Let’s take a closer look.

Canvas of Aruba water – I took about 50 pictures of the water in Aruba to try and get the perfect shot of the perfect water but I don’t like how it came out on canvas. (Note: Printing on canvas makes your pictures kind of washed out.) It’s ok against the teal wall but I don’t love it.

Isn’t the original so much better?

Swatch of fabric – I absolutely LOVE this fabric and I only have a couple small swatches of it. It’s from Raoul, it’s a fortune, and it’s divine.

New York metro area map by Aaron Straup Cope via 20×200 – If you like cheap art (and who doesn’t?) I highly recommend this site. I particularly love this one because 1) it has all my favorite bright colors in it, 2) it doesn’t necessarily look like a map so it’s kind of like a little surprise, and 3) it extends beyond Manhattan to include our current home area out in Jersey. It reminds me that even though we’re not in our beloved NYC anymore, we’re not that far away either.

Lily’s painting  – Lily brought this home from Preschool and it immediately filled an empty frame. I absolutely love it. (And not just because she made it.) I think it needs a bright pink mat, though. I’ll have to buy some neon poster board and DIY that.

Sophia’s canvas – This is Sophia’s abstract take on Aruba. I love the colors and the way she made orange by putting neon pink over yellow.

Canvas of Lily and Sophia – I absolutely love this picture. I call it Thelma and Louise. Funny thing: all the other kids were just riding the ride like normal human beings and only my crazy kids were screaming and waving. They sure do know how to have fun!

Manhattan neighborhood map from These Are Things – Yes, this is a recurring theme. We love NYC. We miss NYC. Even though we’re happy to have a house with a yard and great public schools, we dream of our years in Manhattan and hope that one day we can have a little pied a terre in the city. (It’s a pipe dream but not one I’m going to forget very easily.) I kind of hate that it’s the only one in a black frame. I went with the “cheapo use-what-you’ve-got plan” on this one but I really do think I need to get a white frame. (Or maybe I should save my money and put it in a “Manhattan pied a terre” fund!)

Panorama of Aruba beach – Aruba is a place that means a lot to us. We go every year with my parents – we even got engaged there. I took these pictures over 10 years ago and had them hanging in our apartment in the city. It’s 7 pictures literally taped together. I still love the blue mat.

Mom’s painting – (I mentioned this one back in this post.) My mom has taken some watercolor classes and though she’ll go on for an hour about all the mistakes she made, I think it’s perfect. Sidenote: my dad calls me ladybug so that’s why she gave me this one instead one of the many snow scenes she’s done. (They’re not really my taste but they kick that Kinkade guy’s ass. Too soon?)

Pablo and baby Sophia – One of my favorite pictures ever. I had just fed her in bed and l laid her toward him and stood over them to take the shot when she gave that big post-breakfast yawn. Other than placing her there, it wasn’t styled or tweaked at all. The wrinkles of the duvet were so perfect, I couldn’t have ever staged it that well if I had tried. And I shot this on my old point and shoot Olympus. Not bad for a pocket camera.

That’s it. So what do you think? Do you have a gallery wall? If you could put anything on one (and you can! There are no rules!) what would it be?

XO

Sue at Home

P.S. In case you’re wondering, the TV console is the Chill Media Console from CB2 (we have 2 of them). The paint is Benjamin Moore Teal. The chair is the Reese Chair from Pottery Barn Teen but sadly they don’t sell it any more. But they do have this beauty. I’m kinda loving it. Chair? Pied a terre? Chair? Pied a terre?


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9 Responses to “Making a Gallery Wall in 3 Easy Steps”

  1. Emily Clark September 14, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    Such a happy spot. Looks great against that navy wall.

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