Saturday, March 10

Gallery Wall: 6 Curating Tips and Tricks!

Guys, it's starting to look like someone actually lives here. We have art up in the dining room. And curtains. And there are plants. Thank goodness for nesting. So today I just wanted to take you on a quick tour of our new gallery and share a few tips for curating your own gallery wall. It's easier than you might think!

The chandelier is a Craigslist upcycle (read about it here),
we built the huge farmhouse table last year (get the plans here)
and the chairs were a happy yard sale find a few years ago.

Now, I definitely don't believe a gallery needs to be themed. I'm also a big believer in "things I like and want to hang up together" galleries. In fact our "adventure theme" was more of a happy accident when I realized I'd collected several pieces that fit perfectly with our "Adventure is Out There" centerpiece. But I do love how our theme turned out. And once I found a direction, it was so much easier to round up pieces to finish the grouping.

 So if you're trying to fill a wall but feeling a little stuck (whether you're after a themed gallery or not), these tips can help get you back on track and charging forward!

1. Start with the things you love. Have a painting from your grandma? A favorite photo? Old wallpaper you found in the attic? A life quote? If you want to love your finished gallery, you need to start with pieces that you love. Fill in the gaps to make your favorite pieces work together, but make sure they are your priority and let everything else work around them.

Curtains peeking in on the right!

2. Find an anchor. We've had this large wooden sign hanging here for over a year. It was looking pretty lonely. But I knew it would be the perfect thing to anchor a gallery wall, and I knew that I loved it. So we put it up and waited for the rest to happen. It turns out, having one large piece in the center makes it easier to find balance when you hang up the little guys.

I made this sign during one of our sister craft nights. If you check out this post, you can learn how to easily make a template to create any kind of sign! Seriously, you can print out anything you want - phrases, pictures, whatever - and turn it into a beautiful wooden sign.

3. Add a personal touch. Don't forget this isn't a museum - it's your home. So don't be afraid to add things that you find meaningful or inspiring. My husband and I both love maps and knew they would be a great addition, but we didn't just toss up any old maps. We picked our maps. One is a pinboard map to mark places we've traveled as a family. Another is a vintage map of our new hometown. As much as we wanted this wall to inspire our family to go out and find adventure, we also love to be home and don't want to neglect the adventures we can have right in our own backyard. So we tried to do a mix of local and broader inspirations.

Thank goodness I have good people in my life, because half the things on this wall were gifted to me by people who know what I love. My SIL gave me the chalkboard drawing of our house, and Husband gave me the map of Indy!

4. Think outside the frame. Don't be afraid to add some interesting shapes and items! The days of matching frames and rectangles have met their... match? This is a great chance to work in any kind of unique piece you love! Like this slate cheese board shaped that was too cute to pass up (another gift from  my sister!). I might add a little chalk heart over Indy. I just need to figure out how to make it hang straight...

This is a great chance to mix in any odds & ends you love. A vintage oar, a big clock, wall planters, canvas prints, pieces of fabric or a pretty rug... if you love it, make it work.

Wooden arrows from another sister. I'm not kidding, guys. They get me.

5. Mix it up with texture. Adding interesting textures with your framed pieces will help your gallery feel less forced and more relaxed. Ok, I admit we took this one to the far extreme and it's basically a texture rave over here, but it's totally working for me. We wanted to keep the whole gallery earthy and casual (my goal for our home as a whole), so we stuck to wooden frames with lots of texture mixed in - wood, slate, fabric, an oil painting, chalkboard - and just let it all do its thing. It feels like a perfect fit with our adventure theme. No glitz or glam required in this house full of boys!

This mountain painting is my favorite thrift store find. Ever.
6. If you can't find it, DIY it. Even after I had collected most of the pieces for our gallery and come up with a layout, I could see still had two spots left to fill. I knew I wanted something small on the left and something big on the right to balance everything out. And I ended up finding great DIY solutions for both!

For the large item on the right, I loved the idea of of a constellation map. It just seemed like the perfect thing to round out our adventure wall. But... I couldn't find anything that felt quite right. Too small, too expensive, to bright - I had an idea in my head and nothing was living up to it. Until I stumbled across a constellation tea towel at a little decor shop. Bingo! For about $12 I turned it into a wall hanging that fit in just perfectly.

You can find the tutorial to make your own here, and it's crazy easy!

For the smaller item, I whipped up a little pinboard map we can use to mark all the places we visit as a family. I spotted this idea in Young House Love's insta-story gallery tour and it was just perfect. And super easy. I'll put together a little tutorial for this, too, but it's seriously a frame, corkboard, and a free printable map.

Bonus tip: Add plants! I know these aren't technically part of the gallery wall, but I'm filling the corner with plants and I love the way the cozy, welcoming feel they have. I started with an old water jug/stand I found at goodwill (I just turned it so the spigot is at the back) that looked like the perfect home for a plant. I'm planning to add a few more pots on the floor, and I found a big lantern at goodwill that I'll hang with some kind of viney plant inside.

Still trying to decide on a plant for the water jug. Once I decide, I'll actually re-pot it into the jug.

That's it! Make it yours, make it fun, and make it something you love.

Remember it's okay for your gallery to evolve over time. I'm sure ours will. I'm already thinking something really long across the top would be spiffy, and I'd love to work in a cute little.

I'm so glad to have something on the wall at last. And something that feels like such a good fit for our little family. The other day my aunt said "Isn't nesting such a blessing?" And I'm here to tell you yes. Yes it is. Did I mention I completely cleaned out our entire basement? The basement where we've been dumping things in piles in since the day we moved in? My next goal is to do a little work to the mantle and fireplace before baby comes. You can check out all our living room ideas here and let us know what you think!

Hide-and-seek game is on point.

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