Wednesday, February 10, 2021

DIY: Five simple steps to make the ultimate gallery wall.

 I recently pinned an older post to my Pinterest account which prompted one of my followers to ask me a question.  They asked "How do you make a gallery wall?".  While I thought my original post was clear, I got REALLY excited to get a note from a reader!  It made me realize two things.  One, my original post didn't really say how to make a gallery wall.  Instead, it was a detailed account of how we created our own gallery wall.  Going forward, I'll do a better job of generalizing my posts.  The second thing I realized is that while my Pinterest views continue to plummet wahhh, certain pins still continue to get high amounts of interaction.  The gallery wall pin is one of them.  That leads me to assume that home decorating or, specifically, gallery walls are trendy topics!  Since we're trying hard to be trendy at R&W, here are the five simple steps to create the ultimate gallery wall.

how to make a gallery wall photo collage

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

Five simple steps to make a gallery wall.

What is a gallery wall?

A gallery wall is a collection of pictures, photographs, and/or decor tastefully displayed on a wall of a home.

Now that we got the basics out of the way, let's begin the five very simple steps to making a gallery wall that everyone will want to copy!

Step one:  Pick a wall.

Yes, seriously.  You can't do much of anything until you know where you want your gallery wall to go.  The wall will determine the size, shape, colors, textures, and even theme of your future gallery wall.  When picking your space, try to envision a large display in that spot.  Then decide if the space needs some decorating or if there's too much going on there already.  If not, move on ahead to step #2.

Step two:  Design a rough draft.

Now that you know where your gallery wall is going, the next step is getting an idea of what you want.  Measure the space to determine a good range (max & min size) of how large your gallery wall should be.  Then loosely decide the shape for your gallery wall.  On a sheet of paper as in NOT on the wall, literally draw out a rough draft.  You'll get an idea of how many frames, shelves, artwork, etc. you'll need to make the desired shape.  This is the step where you'll want to determine your personal non-negotiable items.  As an example, here were my five non-negotiable items.

1.  I wanted a gallery wall with mismatched picture frames.
2.  I wanted a variety of sizes, shapes, and textures.
3.  I didn't want a photograph to be the focal point.
4.  I wanted it to match my decor.  That meant neutral colors with pops of teal and gold.
5.  It absolutely, 100% had to be symmetrical.

Listing non-negotiables on your rough draft is important because it will keep you focused when shopping and leave you with the perfect end result.  The rough draft is also a great time to list your wish list.  For example, did you want an all matching frame set with at least two 8x10s?  Or did you want mismatched frames with at least once piece of artwork and a mirror?  Once you're comfortable with your meticulous plan rough draft, you're clear to move on to step #3!

Step three:  Go shopping.

Congratulations, you made it to the best step!  This where you get to go shopping.

If you opted for the easy route, you're probably shopping for a gallery wall frame set with all matching frames like this fabulous gold set.  If your opting for the route that's so easy it feels like cheating, you can hang a giant collage picture frame like this one.  If you opted for the more fun route according to me, you're probably looking for mismatched frames and other fabulous items to fill your gallery wall.  You could either shop for individual frames to get a nice mix of texture, shape, and color or you could shop for gallery wall sets with mismatched frames like this fun set.

Whatever steams your beans, remember your rough draft, non-negotiable items, and wish list.  Once you think you found the perfect pieces for your gallery wall then it's time to move on ahead to the next step!

Step four:  Hang it up.

Since I believe in being honest, I'm going to be blunt and say that this step really sucks.  It takes patience and a really good level.  Start by laying out your pieces in the desired design.  Then mark where each piece should go on the wall.  Use a ruler because the last thing you want in a gallery wall that's hung "by eye".  A gallery wall is something that has to be precise.  After you measure, level, and hang, you can graduate to the final step of the process!

Step five:  Add your photos.

The final step is to dig through your prints and pick your absolute favorite photographs.  Once you made your choices, add them to the frames and pat yourself on the back for a job well done!

The best part of a gallery wall, is that it can be a living space.  It can grow or evolve as you want it to.  For example, we made ours as a family of three.  It has since evolved to represent our family of four.  While I didn't grow the gallery wall in size or shape, I have swapped out pictures to include my extremely handsome and stylish baby boy!  When done right, this can become your favorite space in your home.

How do you display photos at home?


  1. We've never had family photos around the house for the simple reason that momy and daddy never bothered with taking our photos much LOL I have huge amounts of my childhood undocumented with photos and after we started school they never did any photos. We don't have a single family photo either with all of us together. Even in my wallet I don't carry family photos but a clover with four leaves which I found once as a kid.

    1. I'm sorry to hear that! I wonder if your parents had/have guilt about it? My daughter has about 3 baby photos and they are all grainy. It was during my "I hate pictures" phase and I have such guilt about it. My son had newborn photo shoot and a million baby pictures which just adds to the guilt.

    2. I don't think Luciana will be angry about it, you do a lot of photos of her, all of her moments will be documented. My parents just did not give an eff about it, but they were always like that, haven't even celebrated my graduation nor anything else. We're just not a functional family, yours is, so don't feel the guilt.

    3. I'm sorry to hear that, Dez! At least you have memories and hopefully as you grew older you took some of your own. To graduate is such a big accomplishment.

  2. At our old house, we had a wall going up the stairs where we hung pictures. It became ghastly over two decades because the frames were mismatched, etc. Here, I have one wall in our family room with black collage frames and I really like how it turned out.

    1. After I wrote this post a couple months back, I ended up buying the gold gallery wall set that I linked above. We hung it over the desk in our office. While I love my mismatched gallery wall in the hallway, this matching one really suits the room. I can see the appeal of your matching black set in the family room. Right now our gold set is filled with black and white pictures of flowers. I wanted to fill them with my bird pictures, but my husband said NO. hahahaha

  3. I need to redo my gallery wall. I hate how I did the layout. I need to mix up the frames better too. Maybe you should come design mine for me LOL!

    1. LMAO! Just don't ask the woman on Pinterest. I mean, I really thought my other post was pretty clear. Although, this post did inspire me to create a second one in our office. It's all matching frames with black and white photos of flowers in them, but it definitely changed the space. I took down the bulletin board and string art that was hanging their prior. Looks more "grown up".

    2. I love a wall of all black and white, especially of nature shots. I am sure your grown up wall really draws the eye in when you walk into the room.

  4. Now there is your money maker. Make some Gallery walls for people. I first need a wall of my own before I can make one lol.


Spread a smile with a comment!