I’m a huge fan of gallery walls! I mean who isn’t right? There are so many beautiful designs and I love absolutely love decorating with pictures. Being surrounded by images of those I love makes me happy. I’d rather look at the faces of my kids than a piece of art…call me crazy! Maybe the crazy picture lady! I have several gallery walls in my home and I’d love to add even more. We have one in our front “formal” living room, a staircase gallery wall, my daughter has one in her bedroom and we have a small one in our game room. And a few of those I’ve actually redone since I originally put them together.
Can you say perfectionist? Geez!
Today I’m going to share our staircase gallery wall with you. So let’s get started! First…how do you layout a design that you will be proud to show off? I want to show you some simple ideas to help you get it right the first time. Because let’s just say I’ve learned a lot since my first attempt.
Before Staircase Gallery Wall
Not horrible…but also not something I was super proud of. When we first moved into our house I had a few pictures in black frames from our old house. Being more than ready to get this house decorated I rushed to do this wall. I grabbed a few inexpensive (really cheap…like $2 from Wal-Mart cheap) frames to add to the ones I already had and painted a couple of other old natural wood frames black so that everything matched. Then I just hung everything up on the wall and that was it. Notice the scuffs on the walls and trim in the picture below? I’ll get back to that later…
In the past few years my decorating style has changed a bit and I’ve learned lot about size and scale. This layout doesn’t work well for the space. The frames are spaced a bit too far apart and there is too much wall space not being utilized. So when we repainted the downstairs of our house and I took the opportunity to redo this wall. Plus any chance I get to add some additional photos of my faves I will take!
First I had to hit up my favorite home stores for a few additional frames for some great photos that I had tucked away in a drawer. A couple of the older pictures were printed in uncommon sizes like 10×13 and 9×11. Hobby Lobby and Michaels to the rescue for those different sizes. To get the exact layout I wanted I decided to make templates of all my frames. I just laid each frame out on a roll of craft paper, traced the frame and cut out the template. I used painters tape to hang the template frames to create the layout.
It was a little time-consuming to make all those templates but was so worth it as I moved them around a few times….ok maybe like 25 times! But honestly it was a lot easier to move the paper templates around until I got the exact layout I wanted instead of after hanging them on the wall.
I also decided to use command strips to hang the frames this time around. Over the years those cheap frames started to sag from their cardboard backing that hung on the wall. Also with three kids and a mom caring a laundry basket on her hip going up and down those stairs everyday…the frames were knocked off the wall more than a few times. And if they didn’t completely fall off the wall they definitely moved around and marked up the walls. Since I was almost doubling the number frames I was doubling the chances of them being knocked down. And with a fresh paint job on the walls I wasn’t taking a chance of messing up the walls again.
I debated hanging the frames with nails and just using one command strip along the bottom to be sure it stayed in place. But in the end decided to only use command strips and no nails which equals no holes in the wall. If you haven’t used command strips before I highly suggest trying them on your gallery wall…they are so easy to use. I used two different size strips depending on the size of the frame. And some frames only needed 2 but others I added 3 to the frame. They come with 2 parts…one side attaches to your wall and the other to your frame. Just use rubbing alcohol to clean the area you will be attaching the strips to….then adhere the strip…wait an hour to let it cure…then attach the 2 velcro strips together by firmly pressing the frame to the wall.
I was a little hesitant about not using nails because I didn’t want the frames to stick out from the walls. But I was happy with the results…the frames sit flush with the wall and they don’t move at all…can’t even budge them!
So…do you want to see the end result???
Drum roll please…
After Staircase Gallery Wall
I’m thrilled with the outcome. I was able to add some pictures of my kids I hadn’t seen in years. Those pictures are now out for our family & friends to enjoy rather than sitting in a drawer. This gallery wall is dedicated to all the photos of their younger years…I want to remember when they were sweet! Just kidding even though they are teenagers they are still pretty cool kids!
I had several 5×7 prints that I wanted to use but didn’t want to hang frames smaller than 8×10. So I found those cute scalloped frames at hobby lobby that hold 3 – 5×7 pictures…a perfect solution. Just wait to buy them when they are 50% off!
I also kept frames that matched together in the layout. The very top row are three of the same frame and I like the look of grouping them together. I also did that in the middle row with the 3 identical frames with black & white prints. I like to use odd numbers when decorating…so having 3 kids helps me keep that rule with frames in my gallery walls.
And again for the full effect…and because I love a good before & after…