Gallery walls, apparently they are going out of style and I couldn't disagree more. I love a meaningful gallery wall. One that is built over time, has photos and memories that tell the story of family.
I absolutely love walking into someone's home for the first time and looking at the photos they have chosen to place on their walls. Time never stops but if we can capture just a second of it, we can hold onto it forever.
What is the purpose of a gallery wall?
A gallery wall is documentation on one's life. Just months after moving hours across the province to a new city we had professional photos taken, those photographs are what inspired us to start documenting our lives with a gallery wall.
We have since continued to add more memories to our wall as time passed, doing our best to soak up every minute of the time we have here on earth.
How do I choose art for my gallery wall?
When choosing art for our gallery wall I like to mix it up between professional photos and candid photos taken with our phones.
Choose the photos what hold the fondest memories. Print the photos in black and white for a cohesive look. This way the moments stand out.
The moments we catch candid on our phones, these are the ones I cherish most. I love it when I can remember the exact moment a photo was captured, then when I look at it all the other memories flood back.
One other idea that I just love about gallery walls is when you see something other than a photograph. For us, it's a shell.
We took a family trip last summer for our tenth wedding anniversary. While away Greg found a shell on the beach that was shaped like a heart. That shell is now framed on our wall documenting ten years of marriage.
How to build a good gallery wall
Collect frames, decide on a theme for your gallery wall
I am all about black, white and wood tones. So naturally, I was drawn to a black, white and wood colour theme for my gallery wall. I love the look of mismatch frames that all carry the same colour tones.
I chose frames with different matting sizes, different photo sizes, and different frame thicknesses. This way it will be easier to add to my wall over time and I won't have to be concerned about my frames going out of stock.
Other themes could include frames of all the same colour and size with colour photographs and artwork displayed.
Trace Out Frames on Paper
When starting a gallery wall from scratch, trace the frames out on scrap paper or newspaper and cut them out.
Label the paper by describing the frame, or if the frame has already been filled, write down or sketch out the photograph.
How do you layout a gallery wall?
Using painters tape, add the paper template frames onto the wall.
Play around with these faux frames for a few minutes and then let them sit there for a while. I like to walk by the space a few times at different angles just to make sure nothing looks out of place.
Start Adding Picture Frames to the Wall
Now for the fun part! Get those pictures up on the wall!
In the past, I used a simple finishing nail to put my frames on the wall. Holes in the wall don't scare me, nothing a little mud and paint can't fix, or another picture frame can't cover.
This time though, I chose a different route. I decided to use command strips because not all of my frames had proper hooks for hanging.
This was my first time using command strips. They are quite a bit more expensive than just using a nail, but on the plus side, they do make for a sturdy gallery wall. I also haven't had to straighten any frames, and nothing has fallen down from kids bumping into the walls.
Add To Your Gallery Wall Over Time
We started off with a simple five framed gallery wall and have now progressed into a much larger wall. The plan is to add to it, one frame at a time over the years we live in this house. I am all for it reaching the ceiling and going down to the baseboards!
What size frames should I use for a gallery wall?
The most common frames used for a gallery wall are 12x14 which can hold a 5x7 photograph with a matte of a 8x10 without matting.
All things considered, if you are decorating a very large wall with high ceilings, a larger frame would work well. Other decisions to considered are how far away you want to be able to see the photographs.
Typically displaying 8x10 and 5x7 photographs or art work is perfect for a home environment.
Where should a gallery wall be placed?
A gallery wall can be placed anywhere in a home, that's what makes them so fun. Place a gallery wall in an empty hallway, above a couch in the family room, in a bedroom, or office, I've even seen them in the bathroom.
I would suggest placing a gallery wall in a space that might be a little more difficult to decorate like a stairwell, front hall or dining room.
Are gallery walls out of style?
Gallery walls have been around for decades. I believe that gallery walls will always be in-style. It's not the idea of a gallery wall that dates it but the type of frames used and the layout chosen.
For a modern gallery wall think straight, proportionate lines paired with thin, modern, matching frames.
For something a little more collective and cozy try ill-regular spacing with a mix of frame styles.
If this post encouraged you to start your own wall and you need a little more help please feel free to leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram.