How to Plan a Photo Gallery Wall

We all have that one wall….you know, the big blank one that stares at us every time we pass it. A blank wall is a lot like a blank piece of paper…the hardest part is usually getting started.  One of my favorite ways to fill an empty wall is with a photo gallery. So today I’m going to walk you through my process for how to plan a cohesive and balanced photo gallery wall.

And would you know it, I walked into my clients’ home just this weekend and saw this gorgeous gallery wall (below), so of course I had to ask if I could take a picture to share with you. **Emily & Nick’s tip: Use Command strips instead of nails to make it even easier.

How to Plan a Photo Gallery Wall:

1-Decide the theme of your wall. Will you include photos from just one family photo session or will you mix it up? Maybe you want a wall of old, heirloom photos or all pictures from different beach trips. Perhaps you want to show your kids growing through the years or showcase your wedding day. I suggest choosing a theme to help you get started in choosing your photos.

2-Cut Kraft Paper into Frame Sizes. Once you have your theme, pick up a couple of rolls of Kraft paper (wrapping paper will work too), and cut out the different frame sizes that you have (or will buy). For instance, you might cut out (2) 16×20 rectangles, (4) 5x7s, (2) 8x10s, and (1) 11×14. Be sure to include a mixture of different sizes. 

3-Test it out. Use painter’s tape to hang the paper on the wall to test out different arrangements. Step back and look…then look again. Move this frame there and that frame here. Nudge them up or down or take one down altogether. Using paper instead of real frames allows you to make quick adjustments and get it just right before putting any nails in the wall. (Trust me on this one…my husband had to fill lots of nail holes when we first moved into our home and I got a little carried away with the picture frames.)

4-Check for balance. When putting together a gallery wall, you want it to feel balanced. This doesn’t mean that it has to be symmetrical, but you want to make sure that one side doesn’t feel “heavier” than the other. For instance if you have a couple of larger frames on one side, you may balance it out with several smaller frames on the other. 

5-Give it time. Leave the Kraft paper hanging for at least 24 hours. This will give you time to think it over and walk past the wall many times before making any commitments. Chances are, you’ll want to make a change here or there. 

6-When you’re good with your placement, take a look at where the hooks on the back of the frames are placed, measure the same distance on your Kraft paper, and mark the the nail holes on the paper with a pencil. 

7-Hammer your nails directly through the paper using the dots you marked, tear the paper off of the nail, and hang your frames. (Or skip the nails altogether & use Command strips.) 

8-Step back and marvel at your gallery wall. It’s pretty beautiful, huh? And that wall doesn’t even stare at you when you walk past any more. 

*BONUS STEP: Send me a picture of your gallery wall! I want to see it!

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