Wowowowowowowow I mean...it’s been basically a lifetime since I updated this blog. SO sorry! Not that anyone’s waiting on pins and needles, but...in case you are - sorry ‘bout that. Turns out, moving is a crazy experience and getting settled in a house with a child who decided to learn how to walk at 11 months old is QUITE a lot to juggle!
Having said that, though, we are getting settled - slowly but surely. So much of the house came together in a snap (thanks to my incredible mother and her vision for fabulousness/completely unparalleled work ethic), but there are other pieces of the puzzle that were going to take time and effort to complete.
We worked hard on developing an aesthetic. Any of you who own a home know the pride that comes with decorating and styling your very first space. We painted, renovated, and got the “canvas” ready, so it was time to put some paint on that bad boy.
The house was built in 1959, so a mid-century modern vibe really fits the design of the structure itself. I wanted to keep things clean, polished, and tailored, but it was important to me to add lots of big, bold colors in each room. In our dining room, it’s the rug and our green velvet chairs. In our bar, it’s a giant painting of a big, red, cartoon apple. In the big den on the back of the house, we started with neutral colors (a grey sectional, creamy carpet, white walls), so I knew I had a real opportunity to go kind of nuts.
Enter: my favorite corner of our house. I’m calling it my Crazy Corner.
We’ve accumulated so many things over the years that are framed, and in our old house, we had several gallery walls. In this space, we had the perfect corner to incorporate ALL our framed art, and I absolutely love love LOVE how it turned out. While we used the Internet to help with a lot of other design choices, I think this particular corner fills me with pride because it is 100% my idea and execution.
I shared it on Instagram and got lots of messages asking how I chose what went where, whether I laid things out on the floor first, etc. I thought I’d offer a few tips and tricks so that you can make your own in a snap!
- Consult Pinterest. There is a huge wealth of design help there and you can find any number of templates that lay out exactly what you should do before beginning to hang things. If you’re a person who likes to lay things out first, start by measuring your space, then lay your photos out on the floor. You’ll be surprised what comfort it brings you!
- Command Strips are your friend. I couldn’t have done this without 3M Command Strips. When hanging a gallery wall, stepping back and getting perspective is a huge piece of the puzzle. When you’re up close, things look one way, but when you sit with things for a while, you realize that that one photo might need to scoot over juuuuust a tad. If you’ve nailed a hole in your wall, it gets disastrous quickly (speaking from experience here). But if you’re using a Command Strip, it’s so easy to remove it and replace it in the correct location. Game-changer.
- Take it slow. I designed this wall over the course of about a week. It was really helpful for me to take stock each night while sitting on the couch watching TV of what looked good and what needed some adjusting.
- Combine 3D elements with flat photos or framed art. One of the really fun things you can play with when putting together a gallery wall is pieces in your house you would otherwise have no place for. A giant homemade wreath made out of Harry Potter book pages? Um...the only place for that is in the good ol’ Crazy Corner. I was able to make good use of out antlers, too!
- Keep it interesting with size. Try not to hang two photos or paintings that are the same size right next to each other. I broke this rule a couple of times and I wish that I hadn’t - it looks so much better when there’s variety!
- Decide on a color scheme, or decide against one. I’ve made several gallery walls in the past that primarily featured one color or set of colors. My favorite was a neutral/blue combination I did in our old house. In this one, though, I went into it from the beginning with the intention to make it an “anything goes” sort of design. But that did mean that I had to be careful about not clumping too many browns/blacks/neutrals together without adding some color in, too. But knowing where you’re headed is essential to success, because getting halfway through and realizing you’ve used all your neutrals in one corner is a bummer.
- Watch your weight. When you’re hanging things, keep it balanced. You’ll notice in the wider shots of this space that I made sure any dark frames were spaced out and filled in with lighter frames or art to keep it from looking too heavy on one side.
- Mix it up by including paintings, drawings, words, and photos. One of my favorite things about this experience was that I got to hang all kinds of things that have meaning to our family. The “Be Nice Or Leave” print came from a juke joint in York, Alabama where I taught in Teach for America. The painting of Tom Hanks came form a dear childhood friend. Jordan’s dental school diploma is framed on the wall under the my college copy of “A Farewell To Arms,” which has my handwritten note in the margin that Hemingway re-wrote the ending to that book 33 times (a reminder to keep trying and trying!). The fork and knife painting was done by Jordan’s sister; the peony was done by my mom; the black sports car is a print from our wedding photographer. Each piece has a story attached and is up there for a reason, and every time I look at it, it feels like an artistic representation of our family.
Lastly, don’t take it too seriously! If you hang something and decide you don’t like it, don’t panic - just take it down and start again. Several folks messaged me saying they were scared to get started, but the only way to complete something like this is just to take the leap. Creating a gallery wall (especially one of this size that spans three walls floor-to-ceiling) is all about confidence and creativity. You know what you want - make it happen!