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How to Design an Easy Canvas Gallery Wall

A blank family room wall gets a makeover with the addition of an easy-to-install canvas gallery wall with farmhouse-style swing arm sconces.

Do you have a blank wall in your home that you aren’t sure what to do with?

I could answer that with a big heck yeah for me!

Can you believe we’ve been living in our house for 11 years now and this blank wall in our family room finally got a makeover?

This post is sponsored by Canvas on Demand. We received products in exchange for our review. All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are based on our personal experience.

If you don’t know this about me already, I’ll let you in on a little secret…I just love decorating with photos!

Seriously, there’s nothing I enjoy more than looking back at the memories and times we’ve created together as a family.

Our staircase gallery wall is filled with pictures of our kids when they were little.

And I smile every time I walk past our farmhouse-style gallery wall that spans not one but two walls in our living room.

I even added a grid-style gallery wall in Emma’s room makeover.

Oh and there’s another gallery wall in my son Gavin’s room too!

So if you give me a blank wall a gallery wall may just appear there!

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How to Create a Canvas Gallery Wall

canvas gallery wall with swing arm sconces hung on wall above leather chair and side table

I’m honestly not sure what took me so long in the family room.

I think I was hesitant because it’s open to both the staircase & front room so we can see the other gallery walls from the family room and I didn’t want it to be too much.

But can one have too many family pictures displayed in your home?



Ok good, now I feel better.

Thanks! 🙂

view of canvas gallery wall in family room next to window by fireplace

But seriously in all these years, I hadn’t found anything to fill this blank space.

I was considering adding picture ledges to this wall but hesitated since that may have been too much with so many frames on the ledges.

So when Canvas on Demand contacted us I knew this would be the perfect wall to add a simple but large-scale canvas gallery wall.

We were thrilled that they offered both Anne and me custom canvas prints to complete our projects.

Anne’s front entry gallery wall is the perfect blend of black picture frames and canvases.

What Type of Photos Can you Use for a Wall Decor?

woman adjusting canvas print on wall

Since we’ve established that I like to decorate with family photos there wasn’t a question about the type of pictures I was going to use to create my new gallery wall.

The first step was to schedule a quick mini-photo session with my favorite photographer and blog partner.

It sure is great to have a friend who’s such an amazing photographer!

I planned our outfits to match the style of our family room which is fairly neutral.

S2M Tip: When selecting your clothes for your next family photo session keep in mind the room you may want to display your photos in.

You don’t want to wear a color that will clash with the room you plan to display your photos.

How to Plan a Gallery Wall

kraft paper templates hung on blank wall

Since the wall is so tall I planned to hang four large custom canvas prints of the same size in a grid pattern with a single farmhouse-style barn light above.

I knew I wanted to order prints in a 20×24 size, so Anne took all our photos in a horizontal format.

S2M Tip: It’s helpful to know ahead of time the layout of your gallery wall so you can have photos taken in the correct orientation.

I used rolls of kraft paper to cut the 20×24 templates and then taped them on the wall so I could visualize the layout I wanted.

Ordering the canvases was such an easy process on the Canvas on Demand website…just follow the steps to upload your photo and choose your options for each canvas.

There are several edge options available to match your design style and I decided to do a blur wrap on the edges of each of my canvases.

How to Hang Large Canvas Prints

back of canvas with command strips attached

I’ve used command strips to hang all of my gallery walls and it secures pictures so much better than nails and prevents the frames from moving around when they accidentally get knocked.

Check out this post for instructions on how to use command strips to hang frames.

grid of four canvas prints hung on wall

After hanging the four large custom canvas prints I stepped back as I always do to confirm I loved the layout.

And I did love them…they were perfect…well almost…but there was something that wasn’t quite right.

Then I figured out what was bugging me…even though the canvases were really large, they looked a bit lost on that tall wall.

But that’s ok because I thought once I hang the farmhouse-style light above the grid it would look just fine.

Umm…not so much…after holding the light up there it still looked…well…too small.

So I called in reinforcements…my photographer and my design consultant (a.k.a my sister) for a 2nd and 3rd opinion.

Both of them told me I needed two more canvases to finish the wall.

What to Do if Your Photo Display is Too Small

close up of 6 canvas prints hung on wall with 3 swing arm light sconces hung above

Anne had actually suggested ordering a larger size canvas when I first started planning this gallery wall.

But I didn’t really want photos of us any bigger…maybe if they were prints of a landscape or something structural.

Since they were photos of people, I didn’t want our faces that large hanging on our family room wall. Haha!

My sister had suggested hanging a grid of six rather than four from the start of this project.

Hmm, maybe I should have listened to her.


Oh well…live and learn!

six canvas prints hung in 2 rows of three below 3 light sconces

It all worked out just fine because the wonderful people at Canvas on Demand sent me two more 20×24 canvases to finish up my gallery wall project.

They were just so gracious and amazing to work with.

And the grid of six custom canvas prints filled the wall so much better.

Don’t you think so?

How to Add Lighting Above a Gallery Wall

close up of swing arm light sconces

After adding two more canvas prints for a total of six, I decided to hang three light fixtures rather than just one as I originally planned.

I found these swing arm light sconces that had a bit more height than the first one I wanted.

Hanging one light above each row really helps fills the space now.

man installing hardware to hang light sconce

Chris helped me hang the lights and since they aren’t hardwired they were fairly easy to install.

We decided to use the magic light trick that I first learned about from one of my favorite bloggers Brooke over at Nesting with Grace.

It’s really a genius idea to add light without hardwiring or plug-in cords.

Get all the details of how to install wireless sconces in this post.

close up of man adjusting swing arm light sconces

The hardest part of installing these sconces was adjusting the arms so that they all lined up perfectly.

Poor Chris was up on that ladder for so long while I was on the floor instructing him of which adjustments to make.

Simply2Moms Reviews Canvas On Demand Custom Canvas Prints

full view of family room with fireplace and gallery wall of canvas prints

I have a couple of canvases from another online company and the quality doesn’t compare to the Canvas on Demand custom canvas prints I received.

The back of the canvas is closed which I really liked because my other canvas prints are open in the back.

And the Canvas on Demand website is so easy to use.

Just upload your photo and make any adjustments needed.

Delivery was quick and I was super excited to see the photos Anne took of our family on those large custom canvas prints.

I’m just so happy with how this canvas gallery wall project turned out.

We finally have this wall space filled with more memories.

Where will you add a canvas or two to your home?

We’d love for you to share the canvas choices you purchase from Canvas on Demand with us…show us your creative gallery walls!

If you have any questions or suggestions, contact me or leave a comment!

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