Thursday, January 10, 2013

Seven Ideas to Create a Gallery Wall.....

Gallery Wall Ideas

I was recently asked to share a tour of my home at another bloggers site and I said "yes, absolutely"!!! However, besides for the Christmas-y pictures I shared here, I have no other pictures of the main living spaces of our home! 

One thing I needed to add quickly and cheaply to certain rooms - to get ready for sharing my home tour - was wall art.  Tomorrow, I will share a few ideas that I came up with to quickly and cheaply add some life to our walls.  However, today I will focus in on one of those ideas: creating a gallery wall using your own images.

I'm not going to tell you what color and size frames to use or how you should arrange them.  I want to talk about what you will put inside them. 

I love the idea of using your own photos because it is personal and an easy conversation starter. It's also relatively inexpensive when considering the alternative fee of paying for the rights to someone else's image.   I use Costco for printing my photos and an 11" x 14" only costs $3.12.   Furthermore, Hobby Lobby sells a very large selection of frames and mattes and often offers these at 50% off.

You don't have to be a professional to take good pictures.   I am by no means a photographer.   I've never taken a photography class and I have never read the manual of my own camera. I do not own a DSLR camera, either, so I'm working with the basics here.

What I do have access to is Google's free Picasa photo editor. This allows you to easily edit and crop photos to make them more interesting. If I gave you only two tips it would be:
  • Turn off your flash! It is unflattering to EVERYTHING. This means you need to have a steady hand and access to good light. So just go outside!
  • Frame your shot! Consider the objects in the background / foreground and depending on your subject, get up close, up high, or down low....just make it interesting! You have another shot at making it interesting once you edit your photos, so don't be overly concerned yet.
Here are a few photo grouping ideas I came up with after browsing pictures I've snapped over the past several years:

1.  Bold Colorful Photo Wall.  Do you feel like you want to inject color into an otherwise bland room? Get up close and personal with...a fruit stand...or bouquet of flowers:

2.  Architectural DetailsWe have a large blank wall which is in our back family room/entryway. I've known for awhile that I would like to do a grouping of photos back there in the same size and color frame and after grouping the following photos together, I'm considering doing an architectural detail photo wall:

Ok, so most of the above photos were taken in Italy, but you don't have to pay the big bucks to take a few interesting pictures. This picture I took downtown one day while walking to the subway:

3.  Weekend Getaway WallThese photos I took this past fall for a short get away to Michigan:
These were taken in Door County, Wisconsin:

4. Portrait Wall. We have a photo wall in our playroom of the boys which are all shots taken close up. I love capturing their expressions at each age to remember for years to come:

5.  Photo Memory Wall. These are details of one of our stops in Positano, Italy:

6.  Black and White Family WallWant an artistic look? How about a black and white photo wall? I love the top photo of my son. This was taken at the park but I found the tunnel and circles to be really interesting. Try cropping your subject at an off center angle for a little more interest:

7.  Beauty in NatureI will let the pictures do the talking here:

Still not convinved it's that easy?  Ask a generous family member if you can copy a few of their photos from a shared vacation or outing....I actually think a few of the images above are photos my mom took!!!!

The following images are a few gallery walls from around our (existing and previous) home:

The above is from our current home. The following are from our old condo in the city:

(...look close at the top picture or you might just miss it.)

Do you have a photo gallery wall in your home?  Share it here!
If you like what you see I'd love to hear about it or have you follow along with me!


  1. I love this idea. It'a a great way to personalize your wall art and make your home a true celebration of your life.

  2. I keep meaning to do more of this in my house...finally ordered a few prints for a wall in the nursery, but I need to do more! thanks for the ideas!

  3. Dawn - an alternate to photographs is original fine art. Without too much trouble you and your readers could visit a student art show at a local university or community college and begin searching. Most students are approachable and really need cash to make more art work to further their career. Many times art can be found under $1000 (sometimes under $100).

    Opening receptions can serve as a family night out (much cheaper than museum visits). Twenty to 30 minutes max to look at the art - after about your 6th show together (all shows are free) you will all begin to know what kind of art you like.

    Then find the artists who made the work and begin the conversation. I have noticed that children are very good at NOT being intimidated - they will blurt out what they like and don't like. Great conversations can be had around asking them WHY they like an artwork.

    Yes, sometimes you will see work that is more raw than you may care to show your kids, but those conversations are valuable too. Good Luck!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Suzanne - I think this is a great idea! I know in my area, the Chicago Art Institute has student shows two times a year (before the holidays and in the spring). Information about these shows is available at the schools website.

      I never thought of taking the kids; I could absolutely hear my son being very candid about his likes and dislikes! I very much like any outing that encourages new experiences and conversation - at this age I think I will try to distract him from the raw art, though!

      Thanks for sharing this idea here.

  4. What great photos!! I especially love all the natural ones. Beautiful. Gallery walls are on those lists of things that I will do one day that I never actually get to. Maybe this will be the inspiration to actually get to it. :)

    1. It's a nice reminder of loved ones and past trips!! :)

  5. I love your gallery wall! I don't have one, but I really want to make one someday soon. All your tips were very helpful, so thank you for sharing! Also, congrats on sharing your home tour on another blog! How exciting :)

  6. great tips, dawn! still have to organize the paris pics in order to get hard copies!


  7. Hi Dawn! Your photos are fantastic and you've offered some very helpful tips. We have over 1,000 pictures from Europe last July .. I need to get on that.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  8. Great photo tips, I'll need them as I suck at this! Love your blog, cant wait to see how it grows.

  9. This is my first visit to your blog and I really love your gallery walls! very inspiring!

  10. Hi Dawn, this is my first time visiting your blog. I would love to subscribe to it but don't see the button to do so? Love your style for've done a beautiful job with your home!

  11. I want a gallery wall but cant quite get it together!! I just saw those big frames from Michaels and will give them a try!!

  12. Love the new ideas! I have several gallery walls in our new house. I am slightly addicted! Here are a couple of my favorites:

    We also have a "Visual guest book" in our guest room with photos of friends and family who have stayed with us. I'm working on heritage wall now. I love the idea of a travel wall with photos of our visits around the world...and a Build gallery with photos of our house as it was being constructed. Yep, definitely addicted.. :-)

    1. Jen! Thanks for sharing these gallery walls! They are all great, but I think my favorite is the we do wall! I love how you incorporated your initials onto the wall, but also the "we do" letters from your wedding. I love how sentimental this wall is. The growing up gallery is a close second, though!! How fun to have all his images on one wall to see how he will change as he grows!

  13. I have a gallery wall of our travel photos in our home. I absolutely love it. It gave the photos a much bigger impact than having them scattered throughout in smaller groupings around the house. You can see my gallery wall here...

  14. It looks like you are lucky enough to have travelled to some great places. What a great way to remember your travels. I too displayed pics from our trip to Rome.....I have such great memories from traveling there.