1 personalized print; 12 favorite family photos; 13 frames; and a dining room wall, soon to be populated with our best memories.
For the longest time, I wanted to build a gallery wall in my home. But looking at images of stunning gallery walls on Pinterest can be quite intimidating! It was… all inspiration and no action... for months!
Finally, an upcoming family get-together spurred me into getting the project underway. But if I had any chance of completing this, I needed to break this seemingly enormous project down into smaller tasks.
In this post, I want to share the process and the steps I took to build my own gallery wall using:
- My favorite family photos
- Ribba frames from Ikea: 1 – 61 x 91 cm; 6 – 31 x 41 cm; 6 – 20 x 25 cm
- Family Is Everything Personalized Print from Jibe Prints – 24” x 36”
Find The Perfect Location For Your Gallery Wall
I wanted to use the dining room wall for many reasons. First, it’s big enough to have a big gallery wall that could truly make a statement! It is where my family gathers quite often and it is also the wall that you see immediately as you start walking into our home.
This type of gallery wall would also be perfect in a family room, even a hallway or a foyer, and the location might also depend on your existing home décor.
Have A Look In Mind For Your Gallery Wall
My vision for this project was clear…. Umm… in the middle anyway. I knew I wanted to place the "Family Is Everything" print as a centerpiece of my gallery wall but I had no idea how to lay out all the family photos around it. At this point, I still needed to go shopping for frames so instead of stressing over the arrangement, I decided to focus on the overall look of my wall first… I chose a symmetrical, structured look. And by that, I mean clean, square or rectangular grid shape using matching frames.
One step closer now, but should I use black and white or color photos? TIP: Look at the rest of your home décor. I have a bit of a coastal theme going on in my home and I knew that a few of the photos in my gallery wall would end up having water in them. Blue, at least, had to stay. Which meant - color photos it would be!
Find The Perfect Photo Frames
I already had my personalized "Family Is Everything" print and a frame for it. And I knew that it was going in the middle of my wall. TIP: It is easier to build a gallery wall from the center out! I love how clean and modern the frame looks against the rustic, farmhouse feel of my print. I headed back to Ikea to see what other frames I could get, that would match the one I already had. I ended up getting the same exact style in a couple of smaller sizes! TIP: Bring a notepad with you when you go shopping. Some simple math will help you figure out how many frames and in what sizes you will need to achieve a look you’re after. I love white décor so the majority of my frames are white but to add a bit of interest, I purchased a few of the frames in gray and black. Attention: all these frames cost the total of $120.88 CAD!!!
Selecting Family Photos For Your Gallery Wall
This was definitely the hardest step. You may have an awesome set of pictures from a recent family photo shoot or, like me, you want to show your family through the years. But sifting through years of photos, you realize it is no small feat to narrow them down to 12 most favorite! Art is supposed to evoke feelings in the audience, and so I thought my gallery wall photos needed to bring back the most significant memories from our most favorite moments. And don’t limit yourself to thinking that all of these photos need to be the milestone moments for your family. One, seemingly unimportant, candid shot from a trip can bring a flood of memories from the entire vacation.
Editing Your Gallery Wall Photos
When I was done selecting my photos, I had a dilemma… They didn’t really match! Then I thought of something… some of the most amazing Instagram feeds I follow, take tons of photos in all kinds of places but yet the overall feeds still look very flattering and well put together. Why is that? Because most likely, all of the photos have the same filter applied to them. Again - consistency! So to bring consistency to all my photos, I decided to apply a filter effect to them as well. I went with one that would add a bit of an overexposed/blue tint to each photo. This would give all my photos a sun-faded look, as if the original photographs were outside for a few sunny weeks. Once I thought of it, I immediately loved the idea! It went perfectly with my coastal theme!
TIP: Your phone most likely already has a picture editing app on it, or consider using Instagram filters or online tools to achieve your own look. Here’s a good free online editor, if you’re looking for something more advanced: https://pixlr.com/editor/
Putting It All Together
Unless you are using some gallery template that came with your frames, this is when you need to roll up your sleeves, grab a measuring tape, pencil, paper and a level. First, place all of your frames on the floor and arrange them the way you would like to hang them on the wall. Do this in front of the actual wall if possible. This is a great way to figure out the correct spacing between your frames. Especially if like me, you are using different colors of frames, you can quickly re-arrange them and find the best look that suits you. TIP: If you find it hard to decide between several arrangements, take a picture of each with your phone and flip through pictures instead of rearranging everything back and forth.
Note, there are tutorials out there that show you how to hang a photo wall by using crafting paper as a guide for where the pictures and nails go. It’s worth having a look at the process to see if that would be an easier way for you. I only had one free afternoon to hang my wall and no crafting paper in sight, so I decided on the old-school way: measure twice, nail once ;)
You do need a level if you want to be precise, and I did leave some pencil marks on the wall which came off easily with a household cleaner. I was so happy to see the frames finally on the wall that I left them empty for another week or so, while I was still revisiting my photo selections and having them printed.
My Finished Gallery Wall
I wanted this gallery wall to brighten up my dining room and with so many frames, I still wanted to keep a clean look that would not visually clutter the space. Using white frames mostly and having a grid look was definitely the right choice for me!
A perfect home décor project
I absolutely LOVE my gallery wall! Everyone comments on it, they ask questions and tell me they will copy my wall. Go for it! And I love spending the time to explain each picture and what it means to us. I even catch myself sometimes... stopping to have another look and reflecting on those special moments that made the wall!
With beautiful home décor, you can bring out the vibes of your home. But a family photo gallery wall, complete with your names and a core value at the heart of it, emphasizes the vibes and the spirit of your family!
If you have any questions or comments, please use the comment area below or share your gallery wall experience with me!