Gallery Wall Decorating Tips + Photo Gallery Decorating

This post was originally done for a guest series over Beth's blog,
but I thought I'd share it here as well, for any readers who missed out, the first time around :)

Today we're talkin' about:
A little while back Cason and I finished a large family photo gallery wall in our living room, and we couldn't be happier with the results!

I have to be honest.  I had seen lots of variations of Gallery Walls before, and never thought twice about their actual assembly, until WE had to put one together!  These bad boys are NO easy task.  If you think you can dive in head first, without thinking about placement, colors, and frame sizes... then you might be in for a bit of a surprise.

Remembering a few key things, will definitely help alleviate any "gallery wall stress" that may come your way, when you're contemplating using this awesome style of decorating in YOUR home...

Find out what style gallery wall speaks to you, through researching and spending time on the good ol' internet.  There are SO many creative people out there, who have lots of different ideas as to what a "perfect gallery wall" should be, so look around to see if any of their galleries strike your fancy :)
Are you going for an eclectic look, that consists of vintage frames and repurposed goods?  Or are you looking for a more organized streamline display?
You can always google the net for great ideas, but I've found that Pinterest.com has been the best way recently, for me to rally all of my ideas together in one place.

For our gallery style photo wall, we decided a few things.

* We wanted ALL the same style frames
* We wanted to fill the ENTIRE wall in our given space
* All the frames needed to be white
* And we wanted to stay within a certain budget

After a bit of researching, we decided on IKEA's basic white frames, in a bunch of different sizes.
Before we left to spend our $$$ we did a little research online, to find out what sizes the frames came in, and we also measured out our wall space, so that we could plan accordingly, when we arrived to "the big blue store" :)
...because let's admit... it's easy to get sidetracked in that place.  jeesh! lol.

I can't stress enough HOW important this step is.
Taking the time to make paper templates, that are the same sizes as your frames or other items that you will be using in your gallery wall, will not ONLY save you TONS of time... but I promise your display wall of choice, will thank you :)
Because "oops holes" in walls, are no fun for anyone. ha!

Using paper templates are an easy way to layout your gallery wall again and again, until you can come up with the PERFECT overall shape, style and layout that you're going for.  Once all your paper templates are in place, you can easily nail up your frames with virtually zero mistakes or guess work!

This has GOT to be the best part of the whole process :)
Whether it's personal photos, monograms, words, prints, small decor, mirrors, or more!  There are so many ways to go about personalizing and decorating your gallery space.  And once you have the basic layout down, you are free to play with lots of different options.
The first thing I did before I started adding things to my gallery, was to look around my home and figure out what direction I wanted to go, as far as color was concerned.

The small decor items that I wanted to work into my Gallery were the easy part for me.  But I knew that I wanted MOSTLY personal, family photos, so I had to plan accordingly for those as well.

A few things to think about when displaying personal PHOTOS on a Gallery Wall:

* Think about placement. Will your poses and camera angles fit into your frames well?
* Does the backdrop of your photos give you the "look" you are going for?
* Is your family's clothing cohesive with the rest of your homes decor?
* Do you plan on using individual shots of your family members, couple photos, candid photos?

I promise you, that if you think about these things BEFORE your shoot, and maybe even jot them down, then you will feel like you have some sort of purpose at your next family photo session.  I think that your photographer will also appreciate the fact that you have a vision of what you're trying to achieve with your soon-to-be printed photos, as well!  PLUS, it forces you to actually plan on how you're going to DISPLAY those beautiful photos, that you spent all that money on, and so much time preparing for!

 Gallery style displays are quickly becoming one of the best ways to fill those large, usually hard-to-decorate walls in your home.  They are also proving to be one of the easiest ways to add the MOST personality to your space as well, with endless possibilities when adding decor!
With a little imagination, a bit of planning, and a bunch of great frames that fit your style...
YOUR next Gallery Wall can and WILL turn into a beautiful, well laid out show stopper!


  1. This is such a nice post! I have a few gallery walls in my home, and I'm always looking for new ways to showcase pictures! Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Shelley you are amazing at all your creative ideas and I gotta say tonight ive been non stop searching for decor ideas and by far this is one of the best gallery walls. I love having gallery walls. Love your blog already and now I am your newest follower.
    xo. ani

  3. ooh before I forget you are definitely my kind of friend that i need in life after i read your About The Author...

  4. Thank you for the inspiration and the nice ideas! We have pieces of A3 paper stuck to the wall since 5 weeks…I am so printing the photos and putting the frames on.

  5. Great post! I love this idea. We recently did it with empty shabby chic frames in our spare bedroom/computer room. I should really post that room transformation.

  6. I adore your gallery wall...my favorite by far!

  7. I heart gallery walls!! I actually JUST posted on mine on my blog yesterday! It's not nearly as impressive as yours... but would love to hear your feedback or advice!

  8. This is gorgeous. I can't get over how the background in your photos ties in with you color scheme. I would stare at it all day long!

  9. very well done. took me forever to get the placement of mine done.... then of course I moved and had to take it down, just about cried when I did that!

  10. Paper templates= brilliant. Thank-you!!

    xoxox bun

  11. That looks great!!! I have never known how to do that! Now I know. :) It seriously looks awesome!

  12. I really like the colors you have going on!

  13. I think the colors in your accent wall are what make it so awesome! You have a great eye for design! Will you come do my walls??? :)

  14. I have a super long mantle like this and I've been debating doing a gallery wall because of the cost of frames but I think I'm going to have to buckle down and do it. Thanks for the inspiration.

  15. Can you please tell me where you got the awesome mantel?? Thanks, and great post! P.S. Sorry if you mentioned in there where you got it and I missed it!!

  16. Just started following, and I absolutely ADORE your blog!!! I'm just starting to think about attempting a gallery "hall" in my house, so thank you for these great ideas. I especially like the address subway art piece you have - did you already post about how to make that elsewhere? I'd love the details!

    Betsey at b.bar

  17. Beautiful blog, beautiful family. I am also interested in the address subway art. Did you make it or did you have it made. We have moved around a lot and I love the idea!

  18. Thank you so much for your blog, and this beautiful gallery wall inspiration. Ever since finding your blog I have been SO inspired by you, and I'm even working on a very similar gallery wall of my own. Paper templates = GENIUS! I do have one question though, how did you hang your Ikea frames (in terms of hardware)?? Did you use the hardware it came with? Not all frame sizes come with any, so that's why I'm curious. Or did you use some picture hanging strips?

    Thanks so much for all you do!
    Shannon Searcy

  19. What size frames did you use?? If you don't mind me asking !

  20. Hi Shelley, I so admire your blog here from Europe and read it every day, it's huge pack of inspiration. I allowed myself to publish some of your ideas on my blog (with links to your blog for sure) so I hope you don't mind :-) PS hope your foot gets better soon!

  21. Do the frames come matted? What's your biggest and smallest size? Thank you. It looks awesome!!!

  22. Just found your blog from a pin. Such a beautiful space with so many wonderful ideas! I was wondering if you could share where you found that beautiful round accent table that is pictured in this gallery wall post?? I have been looking for something like it for our nursery and have been very unsuccessful. I am betting it was an antique store find you refurbished?? Thanks in advance!

  23. Just found your blog from a pin. What a beautiful space to browse with so many wonderful ideas!
    I was wondering if you would share where you found the lovely round accent table that is pictured here on the gallery wall post? I've been looking, unsuccessfully, for something exactly like this for our nursery. I am betting it was an antique store find refurbished??
    Thanks for your help!

  24. Love your photo ledge. Did you make it? how? OR did you purchase? where? thanks

  25. You said you got the frames from Ikea. I'm wondering what they are called so I can order them online. Love your wall!

  26. I know you said you got these frames from Ikea. Do you know what they are called online? Love your gallery wall!

  27. I'm dying to know where you got that magazine holder! I've been looking for a cute one to put my kids' homework folders in.


  28. If you keep the big things like furniture, walls and flooring in neutral tones, you'll be able to change out the theme of your living room interior decor by adding accessories like rugs, pillows and Decorative and Colorful Wall Art in whatever the colors that you want.

  29. Great article! Lots of helpful tips. I especially like the idea of planning a gallery wall BEFORE heading to the photo session so everything can come together perfectly.

  30. Great post! Lots of great tips. I especially like the one about planning your gallery wall BEFORE a photo session, so that everything comes together perfectly!

  31. I absolutely love this! My sister did something similar using wall stickers as her photo frames, the decals have totally become the main attraction of her bedroom lol.

    I love the subtly placed typography, and that bold white that you've used both just highlight the sophistication of your style!


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