Once upon a time, I dreamed of filling our entryway with large canvas prints of all our professional photo shoots and family sessions. I had started the project and we had six canvases hanging in the foyer for a few months. My husband hated it. He said it was too showy. Too pretentious. Too perfect. Like we were showing off how perfectly styled and posed our family is at all times. Which couldn’t be farther from the truth. After a while, I agreed with him. And I grew to hate it, too.
So I took the canvases down and had a vision of something greater. I’d put together a gallery wall on our huge, massive, enormous foyer wall. I’d never done this before but I knew where to start: Pinterest, duh! Unfortunately, the pins I found weren’t quite what I had in mind. Most gallery walls had a lot of pictures in frames (which is what I was trying to get away from), or a smorgasbord of decor that didn’t really coordinate or have a theme.
I love bright, white decor and I wanted the gallery wall to flow with the rest of our house. I’m also loving the mixed metals trend right now (wait till you see our dining room!) so I envisioned a mix of gold, silver, and white. I found gold and white mirrors at Marshall’s, along with a few gold and white picture frames. Then Nate and I spent a portion of my birthday date browsing the aisles of Hobby Lobby for over an hour. Without the kids. It was heaven. But, surprisingly, we didn’t find much silver decor at all! Gold is reeaaaally in trend right now — and I LOVE it! We ended up purchasing a few silver-ish frames and I spray painted the tiny letter H silver as well.
So we had to think of a plan B and we noticed that brownish-gray toned wood items were everywhere. Nate has always loved rustic decor but our house just isn’t rustic at all. I like to think of
our my decorating style as “Cozy Elegance” — we’re not fancy or formal people, we like to be comfortable and for our guests to make themselves at home, but I also like our home to have style and prettiness.
Anyway, we found a few wooden rustic pieces that we loved, and they coordinated with our new dining room table (see a sneak peek here). So our color scheme was done: white, gold, silver, and wood. (Budget tip: I ended up visiting Hobby Lobby three weeks in a row so I could save 50% off everything I purchased. Different items go on sale at different times, so I wanted to make sure I saved as much money as I could.) Knowing I could return anything that didn’t end up working out, I didn’t remove any tags until I was sure that it was going up on the wall. Here are the steps I took to make my vision come to life:
1. Trace all of your items on paper, then write the description of each item on the paper cutouts. You can use butcher paper, gift wrap, paper bags, etc. I didn’t want to buy paper, so I simply used the big craft paper roll from IKEA that we already had.
2. Find an area in your home comparable to the size of the wall you’re going fill. Lay out your actual items, not the paper cutouts, on the floor and rearrange until you’re in love with your design. I started in the middle, with the cross inside the oval frame, then worked my way to the outside. With six mirrors, I needed to make sure they were spread out evenly. I also needed to balance the large items with the smaller ones. Notice how I placed the large “welcome” sign and ampersand opposite each other. I did the same for the large, white picture frames, as well as the gold pyramid and 3D heart.
3. Once you have your layout figured out, take some photos from above before moving everything. It’ll be a lot easier to look at the pictures as your guide once things start moving around and getting nailed to the wall.
4. Use your paper stencils, starting with the center item, and tape them to the wall with painter’s tape. This gives you another chance to rearrange your decorations before affixing them to the wall. (Apparently I failed to take a photo with all the stencils taped up. That’s probably because the paper was curling and the stencils kept falling down.)
5. As soon as you have all your stencils taped up, then you can start hanging your gallery wall! I started with the center again, but you can essentially work in any order you like. You don’t even have to take the stencils down–just mark your nail holes with a pencil and hammer your nails right through the paper! Then pull the paper off when you’re ready to hang your items on the nails. It’s so easy!
6. I chose to hang the picture frames without photos first. That way, I could see the entire wall when it was done then decide which photos I wanted to print. I had seven picture frames to fill, but didn’t want to fill them all with family photos. So I ordered an Arizona state print in silver and a gold music note print from Etsy to help incorporate a few personal items about our family.
And that’s it! I absolutely love the way it turned out! We get compliments on our gallery wall whenever someone new comes to visit. It was a really fun and easy project that I did on my own, for the most part. I needed Nate’s help to place the anchors in the wall for the heavier items.
I hope you enjoyed this gallery wall tutorial. As always, please post any questions you have in the comments below. If you use this guide to hang your gallery wall, I’d love to see the end result!