DIY Gallery Wall

We've made a lot of headway on the house since we moved in a few months ago, and things are really starting to come together thanks to some wall paint and knocking out the honey-do list (thanks babe!).  When we started planning decor for the house, I wanted more photos of our family on the walls.  Originally, I thought we could do a big b&w gallery wall of candid and posed photos in the office, which is also right off the entryway.  Unfortunately, after we got all the photos printed and framed, it just wasn't going to be big enough to work on any of the walls in that room.  The living room, however, had a perfect space right next to the fireplace.  It took some time to find the right piece of furniture for underneath the gallery wall, but once we got that in, we wasted no time in hanging the pictures.  It was a lot of work, but so so worth it once it was done.  


Here are some tips I put together in case you'd like to plan and hang your own gallery wall similar to ours:

  1. Go black and white. Be warned - some photos have a lot of white space or a heavy amount of darker tones in them, and it's hard to know until you convert them to black and white.  I started with about 15 images and worked my way down from there to 9.  Some of the photos were just too flat when converted to black and white (lighting, composition, etc. can all have an effect on this).  Even if you don't have Photoshop, you can use free apps to tweak your photos.  My favorite is VSCO for the iPhone, and I've heard great things about A Color Story app as well. The key here is that because the photos are in black and white, it looks more intentional, even if not every photo was professionally taken.
  2. Try a mix of photos.  I tried to have at least one picture of Jordan with B, one of me with B, one wedding picture, one picture of Mali and B, etc.  Some of these would obviously be formal (wedding) and some would be candid, but the idea was to showcase a little of everything.  Some of my happiest moments are just normal days, so it's fun to have iPhone shots next to photos from our wedding trip to Sonoma.  
  3. Embrace the mat.  I purchased pre-cut mats that came with my frames, and that saved me a step.  If you really want a feeling of balance on your wall, you'll need some whitespace between the frame and the picture.  Mats make everything a little more professional looking, so I highly recommend them here.
  4. Use sawtooth hangers.  If you go cheap like I did, you'll probably have to install these hangers yourself on the back of every frame.  Amazon sent me little wire hanging kits for each frame, but wire is just not exact enough for a gallery wall.  
  5. Measure with math.  This is where my math-brain husband stepped in.  We laid out the frames on the floor exactly as they would be hung, and then flipped them over and measured the distances between the center of each hanger (and then added the distance of the gap between each frame).  You will need a pencil, a level, and a calculator to lay everything out on the wall before lifting any hammers.  

Below are some links to resources we used for frames, printing photos, etc.  If you're on the fence about it, don't be!  This is a really fun way to display photos without having to just pick one massive image (and let's be real, some of the best photos just won't print large enough because they're candid iPhone shots!)  A word to the wise, I wouldn't print iPhone images any larger than 8x10" because your quality will suffer.

Photo editing: VSCO app

Photo printing: Mpix (They even have a true black/white color option - it's perfect for this)

11x14" Mats & Frames: Amazon

Sawtooth Hangers: Amazon

Acid-free mat tape: Amazon