5 Steps to creating a Gallery Wall you are going to LOVE

I had this ginormous blank wall in my living room walkway and it was starting to annoy me with how bare and how boring it was.  I thought a project to decorate the entire wall would cost me thousands of dollars so I was reluctant to start it.  Also, I had no idea how I wanted to decorate the wall.  After months of researching, planning, and executing, my gallery wall is now complete and I couldn’t be happier.  Below I share my 5 easy steps to creating a gallery wall you are going to LOVE:

1 – Inspiration/Idea: You need to first figure out what you want to do with whatever wall you are planning on decorating.  I searched high and low over the course of a couple weeks.  I used everything from Pinterest to home magazines to model homes to random google searches.  After all that work, I successfully found a gallery wall that stood out and I knew it was what I wanted to do.  As always – thank you Pinterest!

2 – Purchase everything at a huge discount: Now that I found my inspiration, I needed to buy supplies.  I truly believe this is the absolute hardest part of the entire process.  I only say this because my inspiration image was probably valued around $2,000 and the personal budget I set for myself was $200!  I needed a large gold framed mirror and 6-8 smaller gold picture frames with large white matting.  I decided to go to Hobby Lobby where I found the perfect mirror.  The gold framed mirror was $189 but I had a 40% off one regular price coupon from my RetailMeNot App.  Out the door, the mirror was $100.  Woo hoo!  Next, I had to find the smaller picture frames.  This is where my biggest challenge came in.  It is shocking how expensive small picture frames can be…. especially gold metal framed ones.  I had no idea!  I’m talking $150+ for each frame and I needed 6-8 of them.  No way Jose!  After a couple weeks of searching, I decided to make my own.  I went to Michael’s while they were having a 50% off all frames sale and purchased very basic white wood square frames for $8 each.  I then went to Home Depot and bought 2 cans of Rust-Oleum’s Hammered Gold spray paint.  I was a little nervous how they would turn out but they turned out pretty damn good if you ask me!  The “hammered” effect gave the frames texture and made them look almost like metal vs. wood.  Lastly, I had to purchase pictures to fill the frames.  I decided to do a themed gallery wall and include pictures of our travels in black and white.  I found a great and cheap photo printing website called Persnickety Prints who charges only $0.99 for 8×8 beautiful prints!

3 – Lay it all out: The next step entails laying it out on the floor to get a visual of what the final product will look like.  To start, I didn’t know if I wanted 3 or 4 picture frames on each side of the mirror.  After laying it all out on the floor, I knew I only wanted 3 on each side as 4 made the mirror look too small and the sides too busy.  I would suggest to move items around to get a visual of your favorite look before creating your mock up template in the next step!  “Get it looking good on the floor before you can get it looking good on the wall” – that’s what my mother always said (HAHAHA – not really – but sounds like good advice in this instance)!

4 – Make Templates and Mock It Up on the Wall: Once you are happy with the layout on the floor, take wrapping paper, packing paper, newspaper, etc… and create a template for each item going on the wall.  The most important part here is to make sure the template is an exact replica of each item.  Try to get it as close to the actual size as possible.  Next, tape each template to the wall with blue painter’s tape.  Move the templates around to figure out the exact spot they should be in.

5 – Measure, Re-Measure, then Measure again and Hang:  The last step (and my least favorite but hey – we are almost finished – suck it up) is to measure, re-measure,  and measure again… and then hang.  First, measure out the hanging hooks on the back of each item and draw a dot on each template with the exact location.  This is where you will be putting the screw or nail.  Next, measure the distance between items to make sure it is consistent (if needed).  For my gallery wall, I needed to make sure each picture frame was 2 inches apart.  Finally, I highly recommend with all my heart to invest in a laser level (My favorite is a square laser level like this one).  This will help if your wall hangings need to line up, as did mine.  Once all the templates are in their perfect position, install a nail or screw in the previously marked spots on each template.  Finally, rip off the templates from the wall and hang your items and step back and admire.  See – I told you that you were going to LOVE it!

Gallery Wall

Before

Gallery Wall Inspiration

My gallery wall inspiration found on Pinterest (duh!)

Gallery Wall

Mirror purchased from Hobby Lobby

Gallery Wall - Spray Paint

Spray paint for the 6 picture frames

Gallery Wall

Close up of the “hammered” effect on the wood picture frames from the spray paint

Gallery Wall

Templates are up on the wall and ready for nails and screws placement

Gallery Wall

The final product!

Gallery Wall - Before and After

Before and After

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