not your grandma’s gallery wall

how to build an artful gallery wall from family moments // sarah sherman samuel Last holiday season, I was very pregnant and very late to the decorating game (I shared our Christmas decor on December 30th, whoops). We were also just coming off all the major renovations, so empty walls were pretty much a thing. This year, I am trying to put all the finishing touches I have left hanging, BEFORE all the friends and family come. The sorely neglected family room was this weekend’s project.

You may remember our DIY Built-ins in the living room, but the other side of the space has remained empty, aside from a sofa, for way too long. So, when I heard about Framebridge and had the chance to partner with them to FINALLY get some art on the walls, I jumped at the chance.

printing and framing for an artful gallery wall // sarah sherman samuel how to: printing and framing for an artful gallery wall // sarah sherman samuel I knew I wanted to create a gallery wall in the space to offset the odd window placement as well as display family photos and memories we hold close. However, being such a main wall in a central location of the house, I didn’t want to use traditional family portraits or photos. I wanted it to look more art than family tree. So, I combed through my own instagram feed to find more creative images of personal moments that make me go awwww, but ones that a total stranger could still appreciate.

how to: build an artful gallery wall from family moments // sarah sherman samuel building an artful gallery wall from family moments // sarah sherman samuel I got started by first selecting about 10-20 of my favorite images and pulled them into a folder on my desktop. Then I went to the wall and just started taping off shapes, rather willy nilly. I didn’t worry about having the exact proportions of a 8×10″ or 20×30″ photo (for example) because with Framebridge everything is completely custom. You can have a 10.25″ x 32.4″ frame if you really wanted.

Once I got my masking tape shapes to a place that I felt was balanced, I measured them and went back to the art narrowed down my images to the amount of tape frames I had and selected which images worked best in the sizes I had created on the wall.  I then started plugging them into the frames on their website. This is most likely a backwards way from what most people do, but since it is all my own art (Framebridge does the printing too) and I had more than enough to fill 10 houses with gallery walls, I was more flexible with the images than the layout of the frames (which ended up taking priority) and made it a heck of a lot easier. To each their own of course, but for me, it took all the guesswork out of it.

When you upload the art to Framebridge, they make it incredibly easy on you by giving you not only a rendering of how the art will look in the frame, but they do all the math of how big the finished product will be, with or without a mat and with whichever frame you choose. What I did was, upload an image, select the mat (or not), choose the frame, and if it didn’t come out to the size I was looking for I just hit the back button, adjusted a little slider to make the original image larger or smaller and then went back to the frame selection page to see what the new measurement is. Then I simply went back and forth until the final measurement is how I wanted it.

It felt like Christmas day when all the boxes showed up at my doorstep! Now I am one step closer to having the house holiday entertaining ready.

Get all the sources, a peek at the process and my top tips for creating an artful and balanced gallery wall, after the jump…

galler-wall-how-to

  1. Tape it up! Some people cut paper out and tape that to the wall, which works great as well, but I’ve found using washy or masking tape is the quickest way to plan out those boxes and help decide on art sizing and placement. Often it is good to shoot for an odd number of pieces, 3, 5, or 7, but don’t get too hung up on that either. If it looks balanced with 6 then great. Sometimes it is just easier to strike a balance with an odd number of objects.
  2. Pick a color palette: For my wall I wanted it fairly neutral, so I chose mostly black and white images, with a couple prints in muted colors. When you go this route, just make sure the colored images aren’t clumped all together. Same goes got the black and white images… you want to create a balance with color and by having the colored images on opposing sides of the group. It carries the eye through the entire composition.
  3. Choose a variety of images: Even though my pieces are all photography prints, I like to mix up the subject matter. Some landscapes, some with people, some still life. Having the variety keeps the wall from looking too flat.
  4. To Mat or not to Mat: I chose to keep the gallery wall unified and clean (and extra easy) by choosing all the same frame (slim) but to give it a little dimension I used a mat on some and not on others. I typically like a lot of white space, so I like how a matted image looks finished and gallery worthy. However, an image without a mat can look more modern and I like a BIG print with no mat. When choosing which images to mat, I looked at the gallery wall as a whole and dispersed the matted images and non-matted images around the composition, being careful not to clump all the matted images on one side or the other.

Creating a gallery wall is a bit like a puzzle that Framebridge has figured out a way to make you feel like a genius at and they are offering SSS readers 20% off their first order! Just use the promo code: SARAH20 at checkout valid through 1/31/16.

SHOP THE POST: Sofa by West Elm // Side Table is Vintage, find similar here // Floor Lamp from West Elm // Vase by Dwell Studio // Coasters from Lawson Fenning // Incense Burner by Tania Enriquez // Pillows by Loomgoods // Paint color on wall is Snow Fall by Behr

See the room’s before photos here.
See all of our home renovation progress here.

This post was created in partnership with Framebridge

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