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Jkath Design Build + Reinvent / Other  / Gallery Walls (How To)

Gallery Walls (How To)

Is summer really almost over? We’re wrapping up 5 projects, the 6th one was completed several weeks ago. (Nokomis Ave). When we look back at the year, these are the projects that will define us, our work and our testament to client work. But, this can’t be it .. is it? Haha, no. We managed to renovate a few rooms in our own house. We moved our 2 girls bedrooms and renovated our master bathroom. All in an effort to hang onto our city home. As long as I keep winning this battle, we keep making improvements.


Gallery walls were our jam in the girls 2 rooms. The best way to make a space your own is to personalize it. Truthfully, I hate clutter, keepsakes, trinkets, all the art projects .. it’s ok my kids are used to it and we can manage to laugh about it too. A gallery wall was the solution to this, how can we personalize without adding clutter to dust? We spent weeks, even months sourcing the perfect wall decor, purchasing frames, laying it out and trusting Jesse to hang it perfectly. So here are my tips + tricks that can make this a super easy DIY project anyone can take on.


(image by Chelsie Lopez Photography)


Selecting Artwork


Don’t overthink it, you can always switch a print out later on, heck, you probably will anyway, so just know that. Find things that are unique to you. Where do you live, city map? Where have you or where will you travel? Pull out the vintage images of your family/grandparents just sitting in a drawer?


Keep in mind texture and add dimension to your wall to make it interesting. A painted piece of wood with a pineapple (from Target) and a dream catcher that our daughter was gifted as a small girl are perfect examples of this.


My girl Jen at  Paisley + Sparrow shares her personal inspiration including a few family pics, vintage vibes and boho weaves. ????


 (gallery wall by my girl Jen at Paisley + Sparrow) Image by Emily John Photography


Finding Frames


Admittedly this can be the time consuming piece to this entire project. But don’t let the pre matted frames trick you. It’s easier to shop these in person so you can understand the dimension of the actual frame versus the actual opening. I almost always shop the frame size and remove the matte. For example and 8×10 frame may have a matte and can frame a 5×7 image. You can use this in either scenario, which helps for flexibility.


I also like to mix my frames up. 1) Source what you can from around your house, any unused frames. 2) Mix finishes, paint color, stains, metals. It adds to the overall texture of the gallery wall. And 3) This is where your true creativity comes in. Blending the old and the new.


In some cases a perfect grid gallery wall makes sense, if this is the case I would do all the same frame and keep it consistent and uniform. This is also the easiest type of gallery wall to create, a great place for first timers.


Don’t be fooled, the below image I used 10 x 10 frames from West Elm, added scrap booking paper and taped on a 5″ square image to the center of each piece of paper. (don’t judge my pillows, they’re dated).



These images were printed to fit pre matted frames from Pottery Barn.


(images by Chelsie Lopez Photography)


Hanging Your Gallery Wall


The best way to do this is to lay it out on the floor, spaced exactly how you want to see it on the wall, take a few pics with your phone and start in one place working your way through until all the images are hung. Often referring to the image on your phone for placement, frequent measuring one frame at a time.


I also recommend using a level to be sure the frames are straight. 


In many cases I create a line and lay the frames out just above and below that line. One solid straight line through the middle is a great place to start and allow your frames of all sizes to grow from there. I will occasionally hang a frame inside that line to balance out one side or the other.


There are so many tutorials online on how to lay out your gallery wall, some suggest taping paper the size of your frames on the wall, or taping an outline of each frame using blue tape on the wall. If you have this kind of patience, go for it. I don’t so I prefer to just lay it on the floor and work up from there.

(image by Chelsie Lopez Photography)

In The End …


Keep it personal, mix in prints and text. Anything that speaks to you, Pinterest and Etsy are great resources for occasional prints. I’ve also had great success with Minted if you’re willing to make more of an investment. Good luck, and have fun with it! You’ll be so proud of your work when you’re done and already planning your next wall.





  (images by Chelsie Lopez Photography)


We also sourced all new bedding from Linens and Hutch, a new online retailer for the world’s softest and budget friendly sheets. We fell in love after we ordered 2 sets for Lyla’s room, we now have 6 sets for the various rooms in our home. They arrive in the cutest packaging as well, so perfect for gifting. It’s not strange, I’m a huge fan of practical gifts, this fits the bill!