Yesterday I shared a look at my updated gallery wall with Simply Framed, a wall that definitely doesn’t shy from the bold or colorful. And while gallery walls tend feel very “one-and-done,” I touched upon the process of continually...
Yesterday I shared a look at my updated gallery wall with Simply Framed, a wall that definitely doesn’t shy from the bold or colorful. And while gallery walls tend feel very “one-and-done,” I touched upon the process of continually adding to your collection and making room as I’ve always been a believer that a spectacular gallery wall should feel truly collected, and evolve over time.
I know the process of actually laying out and hanging a great gallery wall can be quite intimidating. So if you’re feeling hesitant in the time it will take, and putting a bunch of holes in the wall, I’m here to tell you that there are several steps to consider even before that hammer is in your hand.
Below, I’ve broken down a few easy steps, tricks and tips to keep in mind as you’re beginning with your wall. Yes, it involves some planning and the right tools (I’d recommend this easy, ready-to-use tool kit), and will take some time to get it just right. But the beauty of an amazing gallery wall, is that it’s ever-changing alongside you. So don’t be afraid to mix-and-match because there really aren’t any rules. That’s the beauty of art; you like what you like, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, you’re the one that has to live with it. So here’s to great gallery walls that reflect your personality, and to ones that never take themselves too seriously! Good luck! Truly, MKR
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Always start with a large hero, or anchor piece where your eye will go first. While yes, you want your wall to house all different shaped and sized pieces of art if you have a ton of smaller pieces with no large “wow” piece your wall won’t make the impact you want a gallery wall to always make.
The best way to do this is by laying the pieces on the floor. This way, you’ll be able to visualize different setups, making easy adjustments and tweaks as you decide. You can then reproduce the layout with blue painter’s tape on the wall; it will accurately reflect the sizes of your pieces and how they’ll look placed together. Try not to hang everything too closely together, you want about 2-3 inches at least between pieces. Mix up the levels at which you hang, you don’t want it too look like perfect rows, instead try to hang pieces just above or below the other pieces. And one last tip, once you have everything on the floor the way you’d like take a picture of it with your phone in case you forget exactly what piece went where as you begin to dissect it.
You want the gallery wall to have a personality and feel that it’s been collected over time. By mixing and matching frames, as well as incorporating illustrations, paintings, prints and 3-D objects (like a juju feather hat, skateboard or sconce), you create an eclectic, lived-in feel.
Save yourself some sanity and gather all of the tools you’ll need to see the project from start to finish. That includes: a hammer, nails, level, tape measurer, pencil & eraser, blue painter’s tape, a small notebook (which is helpful for writing down the measurements of the art) and a screwdriver.
Simply Framed is genius and sells a ready-to-use tool kit (only $39), which contains everything you’ll need to do the job right, all in a durable carryall that won’t take up too much room in, if you’re anything like me, is an already overstuffed garage or closet.
You may remember my colorful and quirky loft space from a 2015 One Room Challenge; it had a MAJOR mix of playful colors, patterns and textures galore with its centerpiece being my gallery wall of collected art. With a whopping 24 pieces on the wall itself, I feel like I defined a whole new level of “gallery wall.”
When I initially created the gallery, I purposely left some room on the wall for the collection to evolve and grow. It wasn’t until recently, right before Christmas, when I walked into my guest room (rather storage room) and saw over a dozen pieces just leaning against the wall, unframed and collecting dust, did I realize that I better get them on the wall before it becomes too daunting to do so. And if I’m being honest, a dozen plus pieces was already becoming to feel daunting.
I had used a few framers in the past, but with each frame ringing anywhere from $200 to upwards of a $1,000 for my largest piece, the idea of framing everything was even more daunting than getting them hung on the wall. Fortunately, I had recently met the founder of Simply Framed at a conference here in the A. I was beyond inspired by her story and bootstrap mentality of starting her business. I knew next time I needed a framer, Simply Framed would be where I turned.
And man, am I happy I did. I cannot tell you how simple and seamless the entire process was. Simply Framed‘s approach to all of this framing business is beyond refreshing. I went online, picked out my mattes and frames then Simply Framed sent me the shipping tubes and pre-paid labels to send in all of my art safely. Once everything arrived, I worked closely with their customer service team to make sure all of the art was perfectly matched up to it’s corresponding frame because I was nervous with so many pieces and different frames things would get mixed up. In less than two weeks, I received my pieces back at home, along with an easy framing kit that, again, made it ridiculously simple to finish the project.
When it came to actually laying out a gallery wall of this size and caliber, I can honestly say I was a tad on the uneasy side. When buying each piece, I wasn’t thinking “…oh this piece of artwork will look great next to this piece, and that piece”. I simply bought what I loved and had faith it would work itself out. I mean, I have plenty of walls, so if it didn’t incorporate well in the gallery, I knew there would be another wall or shelf where it would work. In the end, I was thrilled to find that even though the majority of the pieces were bold and bright, the overall tone worked well; with a warm, peachy neutral emphasis and clean, modern frames. It’s funny how even though you often don’t intentionally think about a color scheme or pattern, one always seems to naturally work its way out.
This time around that natural theme included a bold, colorful nude by Kate Waddell via Well + Wonder. Collective. Have you heard of Well + Wonder? It’s a beautiful website with a collection of southern-curated artists, and it’s quickly become my go-to when I’ve got the itch for a new addition at a price that doesn’t make me feel buyers remorse. This industry has me fortunate in meeting so many talented creatives and collectives like Well + Wonder, I always enjoy finding new additions; each one carrying a special feeling, memory, or moment.
You know, a lot of people don’t realize all of the love (and sweat and tears) that go into running a small business. Sure, by now everyone’s read about the nonexistent weekends and the many nights spent burning the midnight oil. But perhaps the biggest unsung heroes behind Team WOM are my parents.
Ever since WOM was in its early years, my parents have bent over backwards to help me. They’ve been at all of the big moves, all of the install-days, all of the true milestones. I knew I wanted to find a way to thank them this year by giving back this Christmas. They are after all the ones who instilled my deep, undying love for the holiday season and Christmas decorations. And in true MKR-fashion, I had my heart set on surprising them in a way that would take their breath away. So when Frontgate proposed a holiday collaboration, I jumped at the opportunity to make a little Christmas magic happen.
See, my parents have worked on a huge home remodeling project this past year and my favorite room has easily become the dining room in all of it’s emerald green gorgeousness. The dining room was also the perfect choice since it becomes the heart of the home this time of year as we all find ourselves gathered around the table in our best holiday attire.
First on my list, of course, was bringing in a Christmas tree. Since this would be Mom and Dad’s secondary tree, I decided to have a little fun with it. I opted for this Noble Slim Artificial Pre-Lit Christmas tree (the dining room has lovely tall ceilings). Let’s just say this is a far cry from your old artificial tree in the attic; all the cords come inside the inner pole, so you don’t have to do anything but turn on the switch when setting it up. Seriously, it took me five minutes versus the typical hour!
Since the dining room is the most formal room in the home, I had fun stepping outside my parents’ classic holiday decor of red and green, going instead with a blue and white chinoiserie theme. My love for ginger jars and all things blue and white has always been enthusiastically welcomed by my mother and father. And ever since they painted the dining room that gorgeous emerald green, I’ve been dreaming of adding the details that chinoiserie dreams are made of (read: ginger jar galore). And by going this route it allowed me the perfect opportunity to add special occasion-worthy items that can be used long after the holidays are through.
To be exact, that meant: lining the dining table with as many ginger jars I could find, new and old. Bringing in these stunning hand-beaded Chinoiserie Ming placemats and Chinoiserie Ming coasters. Chinoiserie Ming embroidered napkins and Chinoiserie Ming napkin rings. Exquisite gold and white place settings and wine glasses. A pre-lit Christmas wreath with extra adornments to hang on the mirror. This French Manor tree skirt, hand-beaded to perfection. And of course, all of the blue and white ornaments I could find with Faux Pearl Droplets (because more is always more).
One thing I came to realize during all of this is that Frontgate makes it a total dream to decorate. They sell 60-piece ornament collections with a variety of 8-10 different styles within a handful of themes (in addition to single ornaments, of course). I obviously beelined to this French Blue & Linen collection to go along with my blue and white chinoiserie, but the Natural Elements collection and Mixed Metals both create just as stunning of an effect.
I couldn’t be happier with the final product…my parents were over the moon to find such a beautiful, magical space awaiting them. With pieces I know will be treasured for years and years to come, the room celebrates the season in extraordinary detail in an elegance that can really be enjoyed all year ’round. Truly, MKR
P.S. I was incredibly impressed with the quality of everything upon arrival; my holiday haul landed on my parents’ doorstep in 25 boxes filled with fragile, breakable items and nothing…I repeat, NOTHING was broken. That was especially huge for me with this project a complete surprise for my parents and all. I had an extremely quick turnaround while they went away for the weekend, and I was able to pull it all off without a hitch thanks to some good packing. All of the ornaments came with great boxes for storing for years to come (a necessity, really). xo
Photography, Rustic White for Waiting on Martha | This post is in collaboration with Frontgate, a brand we love and adore. All opinions are 100% our own.