Gallery Wall Surrounding the TV

Look who was unable to unearth the camera from the many boxes still piled up in our house!!
Woot woot!
It really is the small victories in life – right??  
Well, I found the camera last night, and snapped a few pictures of the gallery wall in our bedroom this morning before getting ready for work (so ignore my reflection in the TV where I’m in my robe… love that robe btw).
As you can see, I’ve made huge progress since the last updates I’d posted in my “how to hang a gallery wall” post but while the frames are in place, the gallery wall is far from finished…
Want to know why???
Look closer… 
See it now??  Some of the art is hanging the wrong way… upside down, sideways… and some of it is seasonal from Christmas!  Yep, there is one reading “Deck the Halls” hung upside down.  It drives me absolutely nuts. Sadly, Kris didn’t even notice it.  Men!
I’m in the process of pulling together new pieces to hang, that will be more cohesive together.  I want pieces that bring out the pretty blue of the dresser (which by the way photographed REALLY blue, but is more deep teal in real life).  I also want some more color, and lots of bright white.
Some of the prints and paintings will stay… specifically the black and white surf photograph, and a few of the Clare Elsaesser pieces that I still adore.

Originally, I’d been considering spraying all the frames either all gold, all black, or all white, but I’m kind of liking the mix of black and gold…

What do you think?

The two stacked frames in the middle (top) seem a little too thick to me, but perhaps with a wider white matte, and more simple art they won’t look so clunky… the pieces that are in there right now are really dark, and next to each other look like too much.
Overall, I’m really happy with how this wall (and this room) is coming together.  It’s so light and bright, and the gallery wall takes away from the big looming TV that was the lone ranger on that huge empty wall for so long.
The woven hampers flanking the TV and dresser are also new to the room, fill out the wall, and help us (aka help me) keep all the clothes off the floor.
The hampers are from Target. They are amazing.  A little pricey (roughly $50 each) but worth every penny.  They are out in the room, and the woven texture keeps them from being an eyesore.  I actually think they are really pretty! And not to go on and on about the hampers, but they have these super handy detachable liners, so when it’s time to do laundry, you just un-snap them and carry the whole sack to the washing machine.  Genius!

Aside from swapping out the art, and a few of the mattes, I was also thinking that I may also tweak the layout a bit more.

That’s the thing about building a gallery wall… you REALLY have to be flexible as you hang up pieces.  You’ll find that frames you thought you liked in a certain spot don’t look right once they are hung, and that certain spots need something larger, smaller, or nothing at all.  Blank space is as important in a gallery wall as coverage, and slight asymmetry feels purposeful as opposed to aiming for perfect symmetry and having a frame hanging slightly off.  Living with it for a while has really helped me see what I want to move, but it’s really minimal.  Remember the original layout plan?

I don’t want to say our gallery wall has a completely different layout, but it’s definitely different from the original.  There are a few more frames (the mock up didn’t take into account scale accurately… both the scale of the frames and the scale of that enormous wall.

To put it in perspective, some of the large frames that look relatively small here are 27″x20″… not small at all!

More pictures to come once we have hung all our new pieces, but I felt I owed you all a little taste of what’s been happening in there…

Happy Thursday!

How to Hang a Gallery Wall

Unfortunately, 2014 is the year of neglecting this blog a bit… sorry guys!  While I sort of checked out after posting the upholstered headboard tutorial, and the grout makeover, here’s the Readers Digest version of what’s been going on in our world…
We spent the weekend down in Santa Barbara, braving the stormy weather and looking at potential wedding venues.  All I’ll say is we are REALLY excited about what we saw, and it’s all feeling so real now.  Very VERY exciting for us…
In other news, I started hanging art in our bedroom.  The beginnings of a gallery wall are starting to take shape…

I had been holding off on hanging things up, wanting to get the walls repainted first, but I’ve amended that plan.  I just don’t feel like it’s realistic to paint every room at once. It’s a HUGE time commitment (which I don’t have right now), and a lot of work, so this room won’t be getting painted in the next few months (at least!)

Regardless of new paint, I didn’t want to put off adding some character to this space.  In our last apartment, our bedroom got neglected for a long time, but with our pretty bed, and that gorgeous blue dresser I made last year, this room deserves to shine!

Luckily, the bedroom walls actually aren’t in terrible shape (compared with the dining room, living room and hallways) so these will likely be the last to get painted.  I invested in a huge package of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers… those things are certainly magical.  I was able to get almost all the black scuffs off the walls, so it’s already looking a million times better.

After a little minor scrubbing, I grabbed the boxes where I’d packed all our picture frames and art (there are about 5 boxes FULL) and just started eyeballing and hanging.

After hanging a few gallery walls in the past, I have a few helpful tips.

Do not map it out exactly – I’ve found that it’s unlikely that you’re going to stick with the original plan once frames start going up on the wall (remember this post when I attempted my first gallery wall??).  Instead, decide how high you want the art to go (how close to the ceiling, and how far our on the wall) and hold up the frames to get a feel for how much space they will take up.  Simply holding a few of the large “anchor” frames up will give you a good idea of space.

I also like to start with the largest prints first – I call these the “anchor” pieces, because they are naturally where the eye goes on a gallery wall, and their placement affects the placement of everything else.  In this case, I started with the largest “New York” frame, and built next to it.
Once the first frame is hung, decide how far apart you want the other frames to be. The larger the frame, the wider the space between frames… the smaller the frames, the smaller the space between them.  If it’s a small cluster of small frames, 1-2″ should be fine, but if its a large wall with lots of larger frames, I’d go with 3-4″ between.  You’ll see what looks right.
Another thing I’m learning as I hang these frames – since this is going to end up being a largeish gallery wall built around our TV, it’s been easier to start by hanging an “inner layer” of frames around the TV, and finish the gallery wall out with the “outer layer” so you’re building from the center.
No idea what I’m talking about?
Here’s a little diagram to help you envision what I mean…
Once you get the larger, main frames in place, finish the wall out with smaller filler frames where it feels a bit sparse
If you look at the progress I’ve made, the gallery wall is looking a bit triangular… this is because I just started the inner layer, and haven’t done any filling out.  Based on the frames I have, this is how I see the rest of the gallery wall playing out…
The dark frames in the above photo illustrate my “anchor” pieces, and the light blue are the filler that will come later.
Of course this diagram is subject to change, but it will most likely look pretty close to this based on the scale of the wall, and the size and number of frames I’m working with.
A few other tips – if you’re mixing frames (sizes, frames, colors) try to find balance there too – I’m trying to have an even mix of dark frames with gold and white.  There will probably only be two white frames, with the emphasis on gold and black.
Same rule applies for size – don’t pile up all the large frames on one side or in one area.  It will end up feeling super unbalanced.
Along the same lines, vary the frame direction as well – hang some as a portrait, and some as landscape, and I like to have a few square frames mixed in for good measure.
I also want to point out – don’t wait until every frame is filled with art you want to display – I’ve hung frames up that still had the stock photo in them, or framed prints I wasn’t in love with anymore.  Waiting to fill the frames holds the project up, and once the frames have found their home, it’s pretty easy to decide what kinds of prints, photographs, or paintings will look good next to one another – abstract next to a photograph… bright colors near a muted piece… you get the idea.  Let the frames’ size and shape and color determine where they are hung – not the actual art.  Art can be changed.
And finally… don’t be afraid to make a few holes in the wall.  Keep putty, a putty knife and a small sample pot of paint nearby if you think you’ll really mess things up, but so far, I’ve been tapping nails in, hanging the picture, standing back to see it all together, and if it doesn’t look right, moving it around a bit.  Overall, the frames will cover any holes you make, so its small tweaks here and there.  Don’t be afraid to mess up a few times.  It’s just sheet-rock!
As a bad blogger, I forgot to take a “before” picture, so the other half of the empty wall will have to do.
As you can see, its a very bare wall… tall ceilings (11-12′ tall) so the TV was very alone and awkward there.  I think the gallery wall will help fill things in, without crowding the room, and the TV won’t stick out like a sore thumb quite so much.

So that’s that – after messing up a few gallery walls, and learning the ropes, I hope these tips help you attack that big blank wall that’s staring you in the face at home!

More updates, and better photos are coming your way soon once I finish this up!  In the meantime, feel free to message me if you have more specific questions!

Revamped Gallery Wall

It’s a subtle change to those that don’t spend a lot of time in our house, but our gallery wall got some revamping a few weekends ago…

I had been thinking of changing out the layout of our gallery wall recently, and then began toying with the idea of swapping out the art we had framed.

I know… the gallery wall had only been up a few months, but there was something about it that never felt 100% right to me. I LOVED the La Baule print that had been there before, and the punches of yellow and blue brightened things up in here over the summer months, but it seemed too bright for fall.

Here’s how it stood a few weeks ago…

The bright yellow and blue demanded other bold bright prints to help balance it, but the abstract prints to the left always felt too matchy-matchy.  I also felt that there were too few frames, and the frames were too homogeneous.  We needed more variety – in both the art and frames, and with fall on it’s way, I wanted more muted colors.

Originally, I’d been imagining a clean white gallery wall.  Here were a few inspirations I was looking at…

Gorgeous, right??
Well once I started collecting new pieces to frame, I kind of fell in love with the gold all over again.
Also, after thinking about it more, I realized that since the walls and curtains are so light, and a lot of our accessories and furniture are dark (dark rug, dark love seat – STILL NO NEW SOFA, UGH – dark coffee table, etc.) the room would end up feeling bottom heavy if the frames went white… too many dark colors near the floor, and too many light colors near the ceiling would make the ceilings feel shorter.  Not a good thing.
Long story short, we stuck with the gold.

This wall started with the Martini & Rossi Vintage poster… 
I actually had this hanging in my last apartment, and it’s one that I never tire of. The minimal color palate of black and white is simple, and the blocks of color keep it from feeling too busy.  Plus she is so pretty, and we DO love our cocktails around here… it was an easy decision to bring her back.

I then found an Etsy artist that I kind of fell head over heels for…

I admittedly went to town with her pieces, and it was a challenge to choose a few instead of adding all of them to my cart.  I am not kidding, limiting myself to just three was the hard part – there were so many that I absolutely LOVED.

One of my favorites is the framed print at the top of this group (pictured below) – the colors aren’t accurately captured in this photograph, but her paintings have such saturated color.

The peachy color of the girls skin against the deep navy and dark peacock blue is so pretty in person… I also think that the dark background helps balance out the black background on the Martini & Rossi poster.

This is perhaps my favorite piece – she’s also from the Clare Elsaesser collection and the colors are so pretty…

It is actually called, Married to the Sea.  Isn’t that just the best name??

Check our her Etsy Shop… there are SO many gems in there, and totally affordable!

A few more that I love… this one is similar to the one I have framed, but with more of the grey blue tones… And this one is so fun – perfect for warmer months, but with the weather cooling down, the more moody colors and intense images were speaking to me. SO GOOD!

Speaking of moody… check out that owl!

I’ve been hoarding that print for over a year now, and he is so creepy and weird… he actually looks kind of evil, but I’m obsessed with him.  He’s so beautiful.  How could you not love him?!

And then there’s the vintage surf print… front and center, just for my honey. I found this at the antique shop near our house before it moved locations, and knew that Kris would not only love it, but really appreciate that I was incorporating one of his passions into our decor.

Love you babe!

In the spirit of muted colors, I also swapped out the pillows and accessories from the bright blues to a black and white palate.

The faux fur pillows are still alive and well, and down below are two new additions from West Elm…

I am trying to be more careful with my patterns, especially when our rug makes SUCH a statement, but with all the blacks and grays and whites, it’s not nearly so busy…

And here’s a peek at the entire room from the entryway.

The light is definitely changing with fall – the mornings in here are flooded with that sunshine-y yellow light, and it is the best way to start the day.

While we’re on the subject of our living room, don’t you think a natural wood coffee table will really look great in here??  I do… maybe I’ll add that to my Christmas wishlist 🙂

Happy Thursday!!

Our Gallery Wall is up – TA-DAAAA!

I finally installed a gallery wall in our living room after 6 months of talking about it.  
I had agonized over every little detail for way too long… the layout of our future gallery wall, frame size, frame color, and about what would go in the frames… finally I’d had enough of talking about it.  It was time for action.  
And so one evening about a month ago, I picked up my hammer and some nails, and went to town… about 15 minutes later, we had a gallery wall.

Almost none of the original frames I’d bought for this project even made it up on the wall.  I’d been thinking black frames across the board, but after buying a few non-black frames, decided to flip this gallery wall on it’s head, and spray them all gold.  Rustoleum spray paint to the rescue!

Once the frames were all sprayed and dry, I hung the large vintage print of the sailboat first.  With the largest piece of the puzzle complete it was easy to see where the other frames needed to go, and so I just started nailing up frames around it…

The gallery wall actually needs a few tweaks – in my preview post (the grainy cell phone shot of this wall after I finished it) I mentioned that the left side needed to be evened out.  I’ve started on that process slowly – replacing the illustrated Paris and London prints with brighter abstract prints that coordinate eerily well with the La Baule sailboat piece.  The left side still needs something else, to make it feel “even” but we’re getting there slowly.  Maybe a few more smaller frames will do the trick…

This was how it started…

Not bad by any means, but you can really see how the abstract prints bring some much needed life to the space, and help tie things together…

Kris’ least favorite game in the world is the “do you notice anything different” game when he comes home.  His first response is usually… your hair looks really good… is that it?  Did you get your hair done??

A well trained man… but this time, he noticed the gallery wall first.

This wall was VERY blah for a long time with three undersized black and white prints from Ikea – one in a broken frame.  Classy.  Remember how it looked before?

Don’t be fooled… this is actually a REALLY good picture of how it looked before.

Here’s a better “before”:

This makes me realize and really appreciate how far this room has come since we first moved in…

I like that this space has a lot more character, and that there is a lot of color going on.  As much as I admire Restoration Hardware’s style, I could never live in a room devoid of color and pattern that way.  I love pieces from their collections, but all tan and white and grey and greige (grey / beige) is not my jam.

Color makes me happy, and so this gallery wall is making me REAL happy.

Another thing I really want to point out here… the blue pillows with the white stitching.  These were a little DIY I did a few months ago.

Do you know where I got the fabric?

Target – the happiest place on earth (next to Disneyland)  The fabric was actually a shower curtain in another life.  That $19.99 shower curtain is now two throw pillow covers in our living room.  And I made them!  Holla!

A little stitch witchery (iron on bonding), and presto-chango.  We’ve got a pair of inexpensive, vibrant pillow cases, that are summery and fun… and match PERFECTLY with the water in the print (that was totally unintentional since the pillows happened way before the print was hung).

And so that’s that… slow changes over time, mean big changes in the end.  I am really happy about my little gallery wall!

Gallery Wall

Remember how I’d been agonizing over putting up a gallery wall in our living room??  Well it’s happened!  In between my back to back weeks of travel between San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, I managed to get the gallery wall started , and here’s a little sneak peek…


Sorry for the extremely blurry photo, but I was excited, and wanted to share.  The wall isn’t quite finished, but it’s getting there… we’re still waiting on a few pieces to round out the left side, but I am loving the change and the addition of some much needed color.

I’m also thinking that we need some more solid prints, and less white mattes with the large La Baule vintage poster… just something a bit more solid to balance out the left side.  I’m thinking a dark grey/blue matte on that abstract piece, and a few other colorful prints?  What do you think?

It took me a long time to pull the trigger on the gallery wall.  I’m not entirely sure why… I guess the thought of putting all those haphazard holes in the wall scared me, but I just started eyeing it, and it ended up working out.  I’d put together tons of layouts (remember this post from back in October??) but ironically none of the layouts, and nearly none of those frames made it up on this wall.

I’m so happy with how things are coming together… better quality photos to follow soon – I promise!

Happy Thursday!

Gallery Wall of White Ornate Frames

It’s done!!  Remember a week or so ago I  had posted about creating a gallery wall made up entirely of frames??  Well… for the first time, I jumped right on this project, and it’s finished!!

Remember this inspiration photo?

Well here is our hallway as of this morning!!

And just to refresh your memory… here are a few photos of what it looked like before:

And again after…

Even with all these frames and the ornate details, it doesn’t look busy, or overwhelming for the space.  Quite the opposite – all the white makes it really clean and simple.  I am thinking of selling this console table because I’m still not convinced it’s right for this space.  Moving it out would open things up even more, don’t you think?

Anyway – back to the project.  This could not have been more simple!!  I went to Aaron Brothers and hit up the one-cent sale (buy one, get one for a penny).  Of course, it was impossible to find white ornate frames, so I just picked up whatever ornate frames they had (many ended up being gold), and swung by the hardware store to grab a few cans of Rustoleum high gloss white spray paint.  I sprayed all the frames with a few coats, and it could not have been more simple!!

Once the paint was dry, I brought the frames inside, and then started laying out which frame would go where on the dining room table.  Even having them layed out on the table, it was still hard for me to envision how it wold look on the wall.  I am definitely a visual person, so I traced each frame onto a piece of paper, and started taping it all up on the wall.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take any photos of this process, but you can imagine how easy it was.  I found it was better to just play with the arrangement right on the wall until I was happy with the placement of each frame.  In that process I discovered that I still needed a few extra frames, and so I grabbed a few smaller frames we had around here – they aren’t anything special, but a few simple frames in the mix actually makes the ornate ones pop even more!  Once I was happy with the arrangement with the pieces of paper, I started hanging everything up, and ta-da!

Ultimately, I’d like to have mirrors cut to fit to each frame, but for now they are all just empty – it doesn’t bother me, but that’s the eventual plan…

And this guy is my favorite – it’s a hand carved wooden frame that has so much character!

What do you think??  I absolutely love it – it turned out just how I had hoped!!

Gallery Wall… without Art

Yesterday, I posted about my goals for decorating our house in 2013, and one of the items on the list was to replace the dwarfed sunburst mirror in the hallway.  If you remember, the sunburst mirror that is hanging there right now was a fun DIY I posted about last year – (original post here).  I am still absolutely loving it, but it’s too small for this space.  Don’t worry – it will likely relocate to our living room or bedroom.
With the sunburst mirror moving to another room, I’ve been brainstorming about what should go on that wall.  I think I am leaning towards a gallery wall of sorts.  I know, I know… I totally chickened out on the gallery wall idea in the living room, but I have a new take on it for the hallway. I am thinking of doing a gallery wall made up entirely of picture frames – no art.
I’ve seen several inspirations from around the web where multiple ornate frames – all in the same color – and it’s FABULOUS!
This white on white on white is very pretty.  I’m not sure we’ll end up with tone on tone in the hallway – especially since our walls are off-white right now, but it’s definitely a possibility…

I am loving this collection of ornate frames from Etsy – antique white!

This next one is a great inspiration – especially since I’ll likely go with white frames on a contrasting wall…  I love how they are staggered down the stairs.

No Source

I love the patina on these – I’d been imagining crisp white, but perhaps a little jolt of blue is what this wall needs…

This picture came from a Halloween feature from Better Homes and Gardens – spooky for sure with the faux cobwebs, but also really pretty.  I am thinking I’ll stay away from black, since there is a lot of that going on elsewhere in our house.

And another all white hallway – this looks the most gallery like, and I still really love the look.  I also love that they did this installation in a narrow hallway like ours.
Another idea I had was to go with a gallery wall made up of mirrors.  This would help reflect light, and open things up – or are plain frames the way to go??

Gallery Wall Layout

While we are on the topic of a gallery wall, I’m starting to collect the pieces I’d like to hang together, gather frames that work well with one another, and work on a layout that will look organized without being perfectly symmetrical.  Thank god I didnt’ decide to just start hanging things… I can just imagine trying to do a large gallery wall without at least a little planning…

This is what we are working with… a big empty wall.  Let’s get a good “before” here…

I cringe to even look at this picture, but this is what our living room looked like almost a year ago when we moved in – this was taken just after Christmas, so we’d been there for just about one month by this point.  The wall behind Kris’ sad little love-seat is big… REALLY big… and this picture does a good job of showing how much empty space there is.

If there were a title for my life, it would be called, Making Do With What You’ve Got – and I have gotten pretty good at it!  While I’d love two new sofas (instead of two old, mismatched, and very uncomfortable love-seats) it just is NOT going to happen right now.  Banishing the idea of a new sofa, my goal is to distract from what I don’t like with things I love.  Since these love-seats are smaller and lower to the ground, this means that I have even more wall to work with – if we were to replace the black love-seat with a sofa, this gallery wall might need a bit of adjusting, but since a new sofa is a very distant purchase on the “want” list, I think this gallery wall will be intact for some time.

Now that we’ve got a really good “before” pic (aka, a really awful photo that makes any improvements I’ve done look AMAZING) let’s take a look at what the wall looks like now.

We may or may not have one or two unpacked boxes shoved in the back of my closet, but I couldn’t stand looking at a huge blank wall, so a few months after moving in, I hung a few pictures on this sad, empty wall!  It currently looks like this…

This is the best photo I can find to illustrate how the wall looks now.  There is a trio of black and white photos hanging (even though this photo only captures two of them) and as you can see, the room is a far cry from last January.  The addition of curtains, coordinated throw pillows, and a new rug made a HUGE impact on what had been an empty shell of a room.  That said, you can still see that despite having a few frames on the wall, they are hung too high, and are just too small for the space (also, I realize after posting this that the frames are STILL crooked… I tried!!)

This photo shows the wall from another angle – excuse the horrid lighting.  The wall needs some love – it’s as simple as that.

Since it’s clear that I am not so great at hanging frames symmetrically, I am looking for a layout where I can have staggered frames of varying sizes while keeping a somewhat organized look and feel.  I searched online for some gallery wall layouts (why reinvent the wheel, right??) and I found none of them helpful.  Thanks for nothing Pinterest!

So, in an attempt to be resourceful, I started working on my own layout.  I have most of the frames I plan on using already, so taking their measurements, I began playing around on the floor of the living room.

This is what I ended up with after a few tries…

Eh… I wasn’t loving it.  I think I definitely need a couple more frames to round it out, so I turned to my computer to start mapping the wall out…

This is what we have right now…


I’m not going to continue to beat a dead horse… three frames = too small for large wall… moving on


I like that even though these frames are different sizes, having the four smaller frames on the bottom row still make this feel balanced and symmetrical.

I have one large piece that I’d like to hang as a portrait, but it’s large… in order for it to be hung vertically, the largest frame would need to move, so I played around and came up with this…


Again, I like it, but want to feel 100% confident before putting more holes in the wall.  Now for the fun part… choosing all the art!

Stay tuned for updates!!

Gallery Wall Inspiration

I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a gallery wall on the very blah wall behind our couch.  In the ideal world, the couch would get the heave ho, but that’s another story for another day.  Working with what I’ve got, I desperately want to draw the eye up, and replace the blah black and white photos (from Ikea, where else) that are currently there.

The question now is, how do I want this gallery wall to look??

I could go with large white mats, identical frames, and hang them in a symmetrical grid like this…

Gallery Wall


Or mix it up with photos, letters, frames, slats of wood, old keys, and whatever else just looks cool like these next two gallery walls…
Gallery Wall  Wall Color

gallery wall


I could go black and white all the way, but mix up the size and shapes of the frames a bit…
Gallery wall

I could go eclectic with varying frames of different colors…

gallery wall, rug


Or I could get all “beautiful mind” on the wall, and go nuts with a thousand small frames packed tightly together (very cool,  but something tells me we are definitely NOT going there)…
wall to wall gallery

What do you think?  Maybe I should snap some photos of the living room wall as it stands now…