Creating a "Frame-Worthy" Photo Gallery Wall

With new cameras and new technology, we all have greater access to fabulous photographs of our families and places that we love… and a gallery wall is an excellent way to display and enjoy those photographs. However, a stagnant wall only allows for the past, but what about those great photos you take tomorrow? Or next year? How about a gallery wall that allows for the future, without feeling unfinished…

Part of what I love about designing and decorating is getting to do it for and with others. Fortunately for my budget and my husband’s sanity, my parents recently built a new house and have commissioned me to help fill their beautiful home. So. many. spaces. to. work. with. (Hooray!)  Enter long (and very difficult to photograph) hallway.

We decided that a large-scale gallery wall between the two guest bedrooms would make an excellent statement piece and allow my parents to display family pictures. But we didn’t want to spend a ton of money, and we didn’t want to fill the entire wall, as they expect more family photos to come (especially of grandchildren… and no, this is not an announcement!)

To give the wall a cohesive look, we spray painted most of the frames white (using spray primer for plastic, if you’re interested – worked like a charm). The wooden ones and silver ones were allowed to remain, giving us three different colors/textures to work with.

We also added a fairly wide piece of chair rail-ish molding in a large rectangle on the wall to define our gallery spaced. This is the real key – defining the space with a built-in frame allows for a more casual grouping of the pictures without looking chaotic. This saved time, money (as we didn’t have to buy new frames), and allows us to leave some blank space to add more frames in the future… without leaving the wall with a half-finished look.

They (and I!) love the result. It’s an eclectic mix of photos and finishes without feeling disjointed. What do you think? Any other tips for making a photo gallery wall feel cohesive without buying a ton of matching frames and hanging everything geometrically perfect? I’d love to hear!

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