Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Making of a Gallery Wall

Gallery walls are all the rage right now (maybe they always have been?), and I love them! So I knew that I wanted to create one when putting our living room together, especially since we have the most perfect blank wall in there that is visible from the entire other end of the house. Here's how I made my gallery wall, so hopefully you can be inspired to try one of your own!

But before we get started, a little gallery wall Pinspiration!

Personally, I prefer gallery walls that display photographs, but I DO love this wall with square frames, large mats, and white color scheme. Especially the square frames!!

I'm not sure what it is about it, but I'm in kind of in love with the white deer head and touch of yellow on this one.  It just looks so bold and cool.

I love how they incorporated aqua into the pictures and accessories surrounding this gallery wall. I also love how their framed wall thermostat becomes almost invisible. Another great reason to make a gallery wall--to disguise an unsightly or poorly placed thermostat.

This one is so gorgeous. The mixture of black and white mats keeps your eye moving and makes for a really interesting display.

What a fabulous idea to use picture ledges! This allows you to layer the frames and incorporate other objects into your gallery wall.

And finally, for my favorite gallery wall OF THEM ALL....

(Lovestruck sigh). The black and white photography. The frameless canvas prints. The sheer size of those pictures! I have huge plans for something like this....some day, once we have kids. Because to blow up pictures of anyone else to that size would just be creepy.

How to Create a Gallery Wall
1. Develop YOUR Vision

Browsing all of the inspiration photos really helped me develop a vision of what I was looking for in our gallery wall:
-Black and white photography
-Mix between hanging frames and frames/objects perched on shelves
-A unifying color for all of the frames (although wouldn't an ombre gallery wall be AMAZING?!)
-Asymmetrical pattern on the wall, yet one that keeps the eye moving
-Fill the space without looking cluttered

2. Search For Materials

Once I had an idea of what I wanted, I began the search for frames.  Ultimately I decided that I wanted all of our frames to have a consistent shape, but I think a gallery wall created with mismatched frames painted one unifying color could be great!  I think I just wanted some consistency in the shape of our frames, because I didn't necessarily want consistency or symmetry in the way we hung them (if that makes any sense?)  It made sense to me!

I ended up buying all of our frames and floating shelves at Kohl's.  I bought a set of seven black frame/white mat frames in assorted sizes (no longer available), two black 8x8 frames that were also matted in white (available here), and a set of three floating shelves in assorted sizes (available here).  While I can't remember exactly what I paid for my materials, I CAN assure you that I took advantage of Kohl's amazing sales to get them for heavily reduced prices.  I'm pretty sure there was also some Kohl's Cash involved, so my supplies were super affordable!

3. Design an Arrangement

Once I had my materials, I was FINALLY ready to get started.  Similar to my plate wall, the first thing I did was use some paper to cut out templates of all of my frames and shelves.  Butcher paper would have been an excellent choice of material, however I didn't have any, so I ended up taping together several pieces of printer paper to achieve exact-sized templates of my frames and shelves (I wouldn't recommend this method, it took forever and used every last piece of printer paper we owned). I also made sure to label each template, so I knew what it was once it was up on the wall.

See how I had to tape pieces together in order to make them long enough?  It sucked.
Next, I used painter's tape to secure my templates to the wall, and began to play with the arrangement of items on the wall.  Since I was going for an asymmetrical display, I opted not to measure the space between frames or shelves.  If you were looking for a symmetrical arrangement, I would certainly recommend doing so.  For me, though, eyeballing it just worked out better.
I don't mean to brag, but this is the first and last arrangement I came up with. I couldn't believe it.  I loved it right away, and aside from some small spacing tweaks, it was perfect from the get-go.  Don't get used to it, that never happens to me.  Normally I need to arrange, rearrange, and rearrange again before I'm able to artfully display anything. 

But of course we had to 'live with it' for a few weeks, just to make sure that the arrangement was what we wanted before we started drilling screws in the walls.

4. Select Photographs, Art, or Objects to Display

While we were 'living with it', I got to work selecting pictures for the frames.  This was actually the most difficult part of the process for me.  It took me days to go through our pictures to find ones that were meaningful, sufficient quality to be blown up, and were the appropriate size and orientation for the frames I had purchased.  Once I had narrowed down my choices, I edited and ordered black and white prints from Shutterfly. They were delivered within a few days, and I was very pleased with the quality of the prints.

5. Hang Frames, Art, Objects

Hanging the frames and shelves actually turned out to be really easy.  Mr. M. just left the paper templates on the wall to help guide him when placing the screw, and then drilled right through the template, removing it after the screw was in place. We also used a level to ensure that the shelves were hanging parallel to the floor. It worked like a charm for us, but if you are looking for a little more guidance, here is a brilliant idea that uses sheets of transparent wax paper to mark the exact places to drill the holes. 

6. Arrange, Edit, Repeat

From there it was a matter of selecting objects to add to the shelves, and finding the right places for them within the gallery wall.  For now, I have used the items that were the inspiration for the living room: a trio of black, silver, and eggplant bud vases and a single ceramic ball in colors of purple, green, and blue.  These were items that I purchased long before the living room was painted or furnished and both really influenced my color and design choices in the room.  To be perfectly honest, I'm not completely satisfied with these items on the gallery wall shelves, but this is a good resting point for now.  Over time, I'm confident that I will eventually find items to replace these or be added to the gallery wall.  But as I've found time and time again, I'm unable to find those 'perfect pieces' when I'm looking for them, and have much more luck if I collect them over time as I stumble upon them. 

So that's where the gallery wall stands for now.  One last, beautiful look.

Would you try a gallery wall in your home?  What would be 'must haves' in YOUR vision of a great gallery wall?

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for nice comment on my post! I love this post...especially how your wall turned out and all the pinterest examples! -aimee