Gallery Wall Extravaganzaaahhhh

I am sort of terrified of gallery walls. Not because I don’t find them gorgeous – they really are lovely – but because I know that someday I’ll look back and be like, “That was SO 2010s of me.” Tens? Tweens? What are we going to call this decade?

But since moving into our new place, with its eleven-foot ceilings, I’ve had the blessing-slash-head-scratcher dilemma of having to fill huge wall spaces without having to sell a kidney in order to do it. So now I’m the proud owner of not one, but two gallery walls. I know. First I say I’m scared of them and then I go and put two in my house. I’m only showing you one today because I was too lazy to fix the light settings on my camera and the second wall is in a dark hallway.

So here she is, as seen from my bed (that’s what the weird branches in the foreground are).

Bedroom Collage

My Canadian and I thought it would be nice to have the wall in our bedroom covered by pictures and images having to do with our relationship. Nothing you see here cost a ton of money. The wedding prints were actually the most expensive thing up there, but taken as a whole, this wall is priceless to me. I just ordered a canvas print of Baxter to mix in there, too.

Wiggs's Modern Life

You’ll have to excuse my new watermarking skillz. In the age of Pinterest, a girl can never be too careful.

So, clockwise from the far left, in case you’re interested (if not, skip the list):

  • A canvas painting we picked up at a market in France last summer on our post-grad-school trip
  • A wedding photo by the lovely Yvonne Wong
  • A photo of the Seattle waterfront taken by my dad (all three photos in that column there are Seattle images he took and framed for us)
  • A small image of us in an innertube at a family wedding
  • Another canvas painting from France by the same artist
  • Two small photos of us high-fiving the day after we got engaged
  • A larger photo of us being ADORABLE the day after we got engaged…le sigh
  • Wait…I’m confusing myself with this clockwise thing. Okay. I think we’re heading back to the left now.
  • A HUGE, amazing painting we found in a vintage store here in Chicago (Salvage One). We have its partner in our living room. You don’t even want to know how much we paid for it, framed and everything…okay, I’ll tell you. 75 bucks!
  • A pair of photos Yvonne Wong took of us on our wedding day
  • Um…I already told you about the column of Seattle photos
  • A gorgeous painting my uncle did for us for our wedding – seriously, you guys, hit up the artsy people in your family if you’re starved for some original work in your home
  • My grandfather’s handwritten speech that he read at our wedding. Sniff. I read it every day. He’s so awesome.


I was all anal at first about the wall, thinking the frames needed to match and everything, but honestly, it was too much work. I kind of like the assortment. Be sure to tell me in the comments if (a) you have a gallery wall of your own, and/or (b) you think my gallery wall is disgusting/awesome.

Here is my Pinterest with more amazing gallery walls (and other homely inspiration) (yes, I know what homely means but I love using it when talking about my home).

Happy New Year, friends!


8 Comments to “Gallery Wall Extravaganzaaahhhh”

  1. I’m glad to see you back, Elizabeth! I’ve missed your posts. Happy New Year! (Sharyn, friend of SusanWG)

  2. LOVE this wall! I am going to attempt something similar!

  3. We just moved into our new house so our gallery is currently on the floor in our living room waiting to go up on the wall. It is stressful. Its a lot of pressure making sure it all looks right and spacing is good and stuff. Our frames are all black. I’m contemplating adding some variety when I put it back up but I’m not sure. I love your wall. Can’t wait to see the other one!

    • I strongly recommend checking out Emily Henderson or Young House Love’s blogs for tips on hanging a gallery wall. You basically make newspaper cut-outs of each piece you’re going to hang, and you mark on the cut-out where the nail hole should be. Then you hang them on the wall with tape and make sure the arrangement looks good, and then you just nail through the spot you marked and – wah-lah! – you have all of your nails in the exact right place and you can hang everything without too much hassle. We also laid our stuff out on the floor and took cell phone pics so we could decide roughly where we wanted stuff to go.

      • I did the lay it out on the floor and take cell phone pics the first time around. It worked pretty well. I’ll have to use the newspaper method, too, this time around. Much bigger wall. I just can’t wait to get everything DONE. I’m tired of living in a half decorated house. Are you finished with yours? How long did it take you?

      • The newspaper method takes a little bit of time but ultimately it will probably save you a couple of hours and a TON of stress. I’m mostly finished. We’ve lived here for a year and a half but I spent about four months prior to moving in, planning and sourcing everything I was going to put in the house. I’d say we’ve been “finished” (in the sense that you couldn’t tell we had just moved in) for about 9 months or so, but the big pieces got put into place fairly quickly. I’m just a crazy planner and spent all of me free time mapping things out. The stuff left to do now is more cosmetic, like putting in a back splash or hanging a chandelier above the dining table (we have track lighting now…shudder). And I’m always tweaking. But don’t bum yourself out about it. I literally dreamed about decorating our house when we were getting ready to move.

  4. We’ve been in our house about two months now. So I shouldn’t feel too behind, huh? LOL. I feel ya on the planning. I’m always searching websites like One Kings Lane and Pier1 and West Elm and Crate and Barrel looking for the perfect piece to finish a room. And then throwing them all into Polyvore to make sure they look good together! I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself once I don’t have anything left to plan, actually!

  5. When I lived in Chicago, I had all my framing done by a guy in Hinsdale who owned Frame Makers. I don’t know if he or the shop is still around, but he’s a genius without equal. My own gallery wall is a blend of photos, original art by Chagall and Buffet, antique clocks and weather vanes, needlepoint, and cheap prints from the Art Institute in ridiculously expensive custom frames. I have moved at least a dozen times and have discovered that the art can be hung in a myriad of combinations. None of the frames match, but it works because each piece is framed exquisitely to enhance the art.

    Now, I buy my frames off the shelf at art supply stores and Michael’s. The secret is in the mats. One of Norm’s signature touches was to defty line the beveled edge of an ivory or white mat with color to make a double mat pop. His wife was a master of covering mats for needlework with a complimentary fabric ~ stay away from silk if you want to remain sane. I lay the art out on the floor and give myself permission to put three holes/piece in the wall in my quest to get it right ~ saves a whole lot of time and frustration.

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