I have wanted to create a gallery wall in my home for quite some time. I love modern gallery collections as they include more than photos and you can create something personal to showcase the style of your family. It may take some time to collect all you wish to add, but you can always start small and add more frames as you need to. This approach often results in an eclectic look you can build upon for years to come.
When designing your gallery wall there are a few things to consider. You don’t have to have a large blank wall for a gallery. You can create mini galleries in areas like the foyer, a bathroom or a hallway. Gallery placement is another thing you need to address. Will your gallery reside strictly at eye-level or will you hang your pieces from ceiling to floor?
Photo: Timothy Kolk
Check out Elle Decor’s Hang Art Like a Pro seen above. For darker walls, white frames might look best, while light walls can take on any colour of frame, depending on the look you want to achieve. Survey the area intended for the gallery to determine a plan that will work with the existing space and your ideas of what the end product will look like, and then…begin collecting!
Family photos are an essential building block of a gallery wall. Veer away from stuffy portrait shots and choose pics that offer a true glimpse of your family as a whole, and each individual member. If existing photos don’t feel quite right, stage a candid photo shoot to capture the images. Have each member of the family take turns standing against the same backdrop and take close-ups of each face. You can drape graphic fabrics on a fence for a backdrop to unify the collection of pictures.
Choose a few key pieces that will add something to the overall appeal of the gallery wall. Your kid’s art, reprinted pages from your favourite books, handwritten messages, love letters and other keepsakes can all be framed as art and hung as part of the gallery.
Monograms, question marks and ampersands like the one pictured above from sERINas Custom Shop, are a modern addition to quirky gallery walls. Choose a letter from your family name or choose a few depending on available space. Typography pieces can be found in many materials ranging from wood to metal, but you can also make your own. Paint a blank canvas in a colour to complement the room and add your own monogram. Either create your own font or make a template from a font found online.
Include an old family portrait in your gallery design to imbue a sense of history. Tone down a technicolour portrait from the sixties or seventies by scanning the photo and reprinting it in black and white. Create a family tree theme for the gallery by hanging the photos in a chronological order from top to bottom or left to right.
Personalize the gallery further and include an oddity that is relevant to your family alone. A guitar, a chalkboard, a quirky clock, a vacation themed shadowbox, an oar or any other visually appealing object can add to the design.
Create silhouettes like this one from Simply Silhouettes pictured below, of family members and frame them for the wall. Use a traditional black silhouette on a white background or play with the colour scheme to suit the room the gallery is intended for.
One idea is to use wallpaper remnants or scrapbook paper to create a backdrop for the silhouette. For a series of silhouettes, reverse the image and cut the silhouette from the wallpaper. Glue the wallpaper silhouette to a painted backdrop. Or head to Etsy for this silhouette at The Blackbird Sings.
Include a mirror or a couple of mirrors depending on the size and scope of your design. Paint the frames of small decorative mirrors the same colour as the picture frames. Rectangular mirrors can be used to create division between groups of photos.
If most of your chosen photographs are black and white try coloured frames or vice versa. Paint the frames with spray paint for a monochromatic look. Modern hues like oxblood red, kelly green, turquoise, or lemon will brighten up any room. One way to organize the collection is to pick a frame colour for each person represented. For instance, paint one child’s frames blue including art and photos, and another child’s white and another one’s silver.
Shapes, Sizes and Frame Styles
For the best visual impact, choose a combination of frames in different shapes and sizes. Long thin rectangular frames work well with circular and square frames. You can use them to liven up rows of rectangular frames with a band of small circles or squares. Pair decorative floral frames with traditional wood frames, and sleek modern designs. When shopping for frames keep the overall style of your home in mind. If you choose a few frames with a different style it will create an eclectic look. Browse home decor stores, flea markets and garage sales for a balanced mixture of old and new.
Planning and Plotting
Once you have collected your images and assembled them into painted frames you can start plotting out your design. One way to do this is to use a length of brown craft paper to act as a template. Trace each frame in its designated position. Once ready, hang the paper in place and affix each frame in place. Peel the brown paper of off the wall taking care not to dislodge any of the frames. Or you can do a mock layout on the floor in front of the wall you will be using.
Did I miss anything you have added to your gallery wall?