budget friendly gallery wall tips and tricks

24 May 2017

First things first (I'm the realist)  - this post is pretty much the equivalent of a blind man with a butcher knife teaching a hair cutting class because an expert I am not but has that ever stopped me before? Nope.

My main point is that you don't have to spend a lot of lettuce to put together a gallery wall and wanted to pass along a few no-brainers that have probably already occurred to you. I've also read on numerous decor blogs and sites that gallery walls are on their way out which would make sense because I'm forever behind the trend curve.

Alright. Just get to it, GP.

1. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. Or, so I say. Pinterest is a great source to glean inspiration from but I also love the (semi-new) feature on IG where you can just tap the little ribbon icon on a photo you like and it will be saved (if you're organized into collections) and easily accessible at any time on the app.

Screenshots are great but get lost in my camera roll after about 4 seconds. I tend to make my "arrangements" into boring rectangles so I try to look at walls that have branched outside "the box" literally and figuratively.

Wrapping these two "galleries" around a corner?

A big step for this creature of habit.

2. Second(hand) is the best. I've found the best frames at secondhand stores dedicated to furniture and home goods. It might take a little creativity to get the original art/photo out but the store wouldn't be selling it if it wasn't good quality and it's been my experience that these types of stores have frequent sales (sometimes weekly) and it's smart to get on their email list so that you don't miss one.

3. "DIY" mats - Simon worked at a frame shop in high school and is always telling me how key a good mat is when it comes to framing as I slip a scrap of old white poster board behind virtually all of my "art" that is too small for the intended frame. I know he's right and the things we have had professionally framed do look awesome but the poster board trick is a good and (super cheap) one.

4. the sky's the limit - I've framed super cheap wrapping paper, color copies from our favorite kids' books, old calendar pages, dried flowers, Instagrams (way too guilty there), kids' artwork, etc. I'm sure you have friends that sell their art or photos or prints on Etsy (or their own sites - you know what I mean) and I love supporting them before I buy something less personal or even print out our own photos.

5. If it ain't broke - I know people love command strips and maybe one day I will too but for now I just go the old fashioned nail and hammer route and reenforce with my putty. It works well and Simon loves filling in and painting the old holes in his spare time.

6. Texture! I started noticing that I was drawn to walls that had a little something more than just frames hanging up so I've hung hats, I love this shelf and I think it's seen almost every wall in the house at this point, and these planters too. Simon calls them prayer shawls and I know they are trendy mctrenderson at the moment (or were? I never know) but I love woven wall hangings. Also, I've hung my tiny collection of hats which is a pretty and practical storage solution - so says Pinterest.

7. Take a note from Nike - and just do it. I know some people like to use this method but I'm always working under time constraints and am just an impatient human in general so I just lay things out on the ground how I think they'd look best (this is sometimes the most time consuming part) and start from the middle and go from there. Usually there's an older kid around to hold up the lighter things so I can make sure it won't look terrible and if it does? Rehang - no problemo. For the record, I have done the paper cut out thing but didn't find that it made a big difference when it came to the end result.

8. It's not an ironclad permanent commitment so don't stress if you don't love the look right away. I remember seeing on a Kardashian episode (sue me) when someone (Rob?) moved into a new place and wasn't sure about his new furniture arrangement and Kourtney told him to give it time to breathe. LOL - but it's true.

An example of a wall I let breathe and then killed it because -- I didn't like it. It happens.

Just give it a few days before making any rash redo decisions (although I do that all the time).

9. Spacing! There might be official rules on this but trusting your eye on this seems to be the best route. Uniform spacing between frames might be tempting and sometimes might look the the best but isn't necessary, I don't think.

10. A note on printing prints and photos! It's worth taking the time to research different options and quickly Google discount codes for sites you might want to use. I wish there was one site that was consistently the best price for the quality but I've found some sizes are cheaper to print on some sites than others. There are lots of apps that will print your first 25 (or more or fewer) Instagrams for free if you cover shipping (the most recent one being here using code: RUCFEQ). I've also been pleasantly surprised by Costco's quality and have been really happy with Framebridge too.

Alright, I think I've drained my vast well of wall knowledge for now. Happy to field any advice you might have for me!

(a huge thank you to Becca for the vast majority of these pictures!)


  1. I love you and this blog. Seriously.
    I literally just texted my friend that I'm standing on a cliff looking at an impending nervous breakdown and saw you had a new post and the first sentence had me laughing and letting out these built up tears. You're amazing.
    I will be using these tips for a wall collage soon.
    And that family photo! The absolute sweetest <3

  2. Thank you! Love the wrapping around the corner idea...and Kourtney's "let it breathe" idea has saved me from hating every area of my house after I've done something to it. Dust has to settle sometimes! And DIY matting idea will be used, for sure. Thanks again, this is great!

  3. I use Freeprints--I think it's 30 prints a month and you just cover shipping, but your printing credits roll over so I've gotten as many as 80 prints at once and just paid shipping. It's only free in 4x6, so get all your gram squares printed that way and trim off the excess (or use it as a built-in framing!).

  4. Thanks for all the tips, Grace! I've always admired how your house seems nicely decluttered. Perhaps a bit minimalistic? What are your views on this or did you do a post on this topic that I somehow missed?

  5. I bought my sister those Triangular wall planters for Christmas. She does a gallery wall well.



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