Hanging a Gallery Wall & Enjoying your Space Over Time

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Gallery walls are beautiful. Each one is always unique to the family that put it up. I love scouring Pinterest and Instagram to see what other people have done.

My personality is very eclectic and I like a lot of different styles and ways to do things.  This can be a good and bad thing in my opinion. Sometimes it keeps me from completing a task because I just can’t settle [#toomanyoptions].

I follow a wide array of design people on instagram.  I love to look at the neutral, whites of the farmhouse trend and I admire every feed I come across in that style. It just doesn’t typically fit my personality or design style. My favorite feeds mix textures and colors, and always have pops of color! I lean more toward a love of mid-century modern, with vintage flare, and some must haves: pops of color and that homey, cozy cottage feel!

Can I tell you…I do not land in one design style. I have taken 1,000 quizzes and can never, ever settle on one.  And can I also tell you that if you feel the same way…that’s OK! Phew. Just had to get that off my chest. Haha! Mix styles and colors. Textures and patterns. Create a home you love and enjoy! And just be OK with that! Is your style changing because you jumped on a trend you now hate….cool, go with it!  Slowly change out things over time and if you can paint it to get your desired effect then do that!

That’s the way I often approach “designing” my home and it makes me happy!  This leads me to choosing and setting up my own gallery walls in my home.

Sometimes I look at my gallery wall and think…Oh I love it just as is. Other times, I see the way someone else put up theirs and think…Man, why didn’t I do it that way?

At the end of the day I choose things I love, and sometimes get inspiration from others too.  Mixing and blending styles and keeping my own likes in mind is important to me.

There are a few “rules” when starting a gallery wall. Just kidding, I am not going to give you any rules.  Because you need to put up what you love – things that inspire you or have significant meaning.

  • My biggest suggestion….measure out the space on the wall where you want it to sit, tape those measurements down on the floor and lay out your pieces to see how it comes together naturally. This might mean shifting things around multiple times until you like the layout. Square, off-centered, eclectic, tight, loose etc. Take a picture each time you change it up and look back at them. This helps A LOT!
  • My other piece of advice…decide beforehand whether or not you want to leave dead space to add items over time (new children’s pictures, new items you find on your travels, etc.) OR fit your pieces tightly together without any dead space.
  • You can, after you have your layout set, cut the size of the frames/objects out of tissue or kraft paper (even cut up paper bags, thanks Trader Joes!) and tape them to the walls with painter’s tape or masking tape. This will help you visualize the layout you’re going for on the wall.  I always get too excited and just forgo this step altogether. 🙂

We accumulated the items for our gallery wall over 5 years. A house well loved doesn’t just happen over night. It’s important to remember that good things take time. And the same goes for loving on your home.

Enjoy the process! It can be fun and therapeutic if you allow it to be.

If you’re first moving into a home….please don’t fret about the simple, or even big, things you can do over time!

We have lived in our current house for just about two years and are only now getting around to doing small changes that we hadn’t even thought about originally.  Granted we moved into a flipped house – which surprisingly has its cons as well! “Flips” are not our favorite choice and we would have definitely gone with a house that had more character and space, but we were so thankful to get into our home right before the birth of our son. We also appreciated that it was move in ready!!

As you live in a space you start to realize what doesn’t work for you, what really bothers you and what you need to add to the list of things to ‘get done ASAP’ or the other list of “get done down the road”.

This is life, and it’s normal for everyone. I would suggest not going into debt or racking up your bills just to get your house to look ‘Pinterest Perfect’.  If you’re like me, you probably have parents who lived in conditions they hated so they could still live and not be tied down to the bills of their home.  It took my parents years to re-do their kitchen the way they wanted it. They made upgrades to their home little by little. And my mom got to stay home with us. Those trade-offs are priceless.

I would highly suggest to go thrifting or search sites like Facebook marketplace (I am on here almost every day scouring just for fun)!  My saved list has a ton of great finds! It’s a thrill and a lot of times you can find beautiful pieces for your home at a fraction of the price. It’s also fun to imagine a new way to update an old piece.

You know what they say…one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  This has been true for me! Sometimes you just need fresh eyes to see the potential in a piece, even a worn-out, dirty one. And if you have the time to tackle an older piece that just needs some TLC…do it!

I typically avoid expensive stores at all cost.  It just doesn’t fit our budget right now and I’d rather my space serve me than the other way around. Places like Pier 1, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware and Anthropologie are stores I have always enjoyed browsing on the internet. But if I look for too long I start to want #allthethings that we just can’t afford.  So, I let it be, close down the browser and find another way to get excited about a space I’m trying to finish.

Feeling overwhelmed about completing or loving on a space and wanting #allthethings?

Make a list! Especially if you feel scatterbrained! What’s most important at the moment and what are “filler items”? Do you need a new table to sit at for dinner…purchase that before you go for fancy wall art, cute throws or even a rug.  Do you desperately need new bedding? Then scour sites for sales. Do you want to redo your floors but don’t have the money right now? Get a large throw rug to cover the spot!

There are solutions for everything. And everyone can be successful at loving on their home while staying in budget!

Do what you can, when you can! Most of the time people have enough items to make even a small gallery wall.  Pool all of your stuff together, look at it and lay it down so that you can see what works and what doesn’t.  Your eye will help you. If something looks off it probably is.  You might need to balance out the color with another object of similar hue, paint it or take it out altogether.  If you have a thought like, “Oh, I know the perfect thing that would work in that empty spot” (an arrow, animal head or odd piece), write it down on a central list in your house.

Here are three of our gallery walls with more tips:

  1. This gallery wall was tricky to put up because I wanted to start with a perfect square and then I filled in the dead space with smaller items.

Gallery Wall Blog

  • I measured out exactly the space I wanted the large square to sit (how high and how wide) based off of my eye.  To center it, I measured the distance in between the window to the right and the hutch to the left. I used a tape measure to do that and my hubby helped.
  • I then put clear tape where I wanted the permitter corners to be on the wall.
  • Then I measured it all up again and made sure the tape on the ground was the same distances (I believe this was about 72 inches all the way around)
  • I moved the frames around on the floor until I found my desired layout, then I took a picture so I could reference back.
  • We started with the right column first, top corner down. I eyed the smaller pieces in the middle and made sure those corner frames were where I wanted them.
  • We then moved across to the left column to anchor the large square.  This was the tricky part.
  • We then put the top row up. Again, eyeing the middle pieces.
  • To make sure each piece was level I taped the leveler to them.
  • To make sure the outside frames were inside my “imaginary square lines” we did use a laser level similar to this one. It suctions to the wall and you can easily line up your stuff to the red laser. I will say it did help a ton!

2. This gallery wall in our basement is much more forgiving because it’s off center to the TV [which is to the left on a white, distressed stand].  I also left dead space down here to add to as time goes on. And I noticed that I have a pinwheel decoration missing too…hey, where did that go? LOL

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  • Each piece has significant meaning to our family.  I’m a big proponent to use what you love.  The large silver frame has mine & my husband’s wedding song lyrics that I typed up. I added our initials and a heart with our wedding date on the left side of the white insert.
  • The ‘Our Family’ sign my mom purchased for us as a gift.
  • I created the large white shiplap sign you see. I purchased it from Michael’s and painted in gold the lyrics to one of my favorite hymns. I then glued the ombre mint flowers down the side.
  • The gold D was SO simple.  I used a gold frame I already had from my baby shower, put in a piece of flower card stock and stuck the large gold D sticker on top. **The large packs of card stock I use for everything. They make great banners, card details, decorations and fillers! 
  • The ‘Families are Forever’ plaque I also hand wrote using chalk markers (these can start to fray on wood so use carefully). I also have used the Elmer’s Paint Markers successfully and really like them on a wood sign. I then hot glued some cute clothespins I had in my craft stash to use as picture holders.  To get a long cascading picture look I taped 4 pictures onto metal wire sticks.


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Gallery Wall Sign
Created by me: Writing on the Wall Custom Designs! Click this picture to connect with me on FB & message me for something similar!

3. This is the main gallery wall in my son’s room. He also has two more beautiful framed pieces up on other walls and another picture of him as a newborn.

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  • This one is set up more horizontally than the others.  It’s simple, but sweet and can also be added to or changed over time.
  • The key is to enhance the main colors of the room.  I have brought in that mint color, as well as the navy into key elements of his room to draw the eye to certain spots and make it all cohesive.
  • The large B I bought at Hobby Lobby and painted navy. It’s cardboard and hollow and was super cheap but looks so great in the space.
  • The sign with the song from ‘Love Your Forever’ I handwrote myself on a blank, thin canvas.  These are great to have lying around because you can always use them for different ideas around the house.
    • A good idea: Having your toddler color/paint their own picture on a canvas or thick card stock paper, using colors that match their room or a different room of the house, and hanging it up as art to display ❤
  • The sonograms I taped to cardstock and inserted into a frame.

4. I wanted to show you this part of my son’s room because it showcases how you can use shelves to also create a gallery effect. This is popular for people who don’t want too many holes in the wall and who also enjoy changing out pieces.

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  • Depending on the weight that your shelves can hold, you can add as much as you’d like!
  • I like to mix colors, objects and textures to create a landscape.
  • Again, sticking with similar colors that are already in the room to maintain cohesiveness.
  • I also turned another blank, white canvas into a piece of art I saw online and loved.  The quote comes from ‘Where the Wild Things Are’.

To Hang Pictures Up & Leave Minimal Damage:

  1. We like to use Monkey Hooks, also called Hercules Hooks
    • These are great for heavy items and also keep holes tiny!
  2. A huge favorite of ours: Command strips
    • These come off really well (when removed properly) and the cool thing is you can move items, that are similar in size, around because they are attached via velcro!
  3. Another great option to always have on hand: Picture hanging kit
    • I love having something like this on hand at all times because I am always looking to move things around or hang stuff up and my kit like this has everything I could possibly need!

All three of these leave behind minimal damage to the wall and are easy to use.  The hercules hooks and nails will obviously leave small holes if you decide not to use that spot anymore.  You can fill in the space with soap by rubbing it over the spot, or even toothpaste works.  It should disappear to the eye. If you have a dark colored wall you will want to tap the soap with a colored marker to match. You could just do the old spackle and paint touch up too! : )

Thanks for reading my post! I’m no expert by any means but I do enjoy giving out tips that have helped us!  I hope you get to hanging your pictures up and cozying up your home even further! Personal touches really add to the welcome factor of a home.

**If you’re having trouble with your layout, feel free to send me a a picture of it to my email: lovinthesimplelife1@gmail.com. I will gladly give you any insights I can!

Be well,