May 12, 2020

Gallery Walls Using Family Portraits

Gallery walls are all the rage.  We’ve been in our house for almost a year and a half and we just FINALLY hung things on the wall I’ve been dreaming of having one.  As a photographer I love helping families create beautiful artwork for their homes and a large family print is the perfect way to start a gallery wall!

Today I want to help you start to brainstorm how to create your own gallery wall.  I’ve compiled a list of my top five tips for creating a beautiful and unique gallery wall.  This blog specifically is going to focus on creating gallery walls of prints, artwork and other decor pieces rather than a wall of entirely portraits.  Though I do absolutely love an accent wall of all portraits (think a grid of 9 images, or a trio above your couch… they are the best!!!), I wanted to focus on something you can start to create today, right now with some decor pieces you may have around your home!  I also love a mixed gallery wall to show off a family’s story using many pieces of art.

1. Think with a theme.  Do you want your gallery to tell a story?  If you are thinking of including photographs from many times I find that black and white seems the most classic and cohesive.  It can be challenging to find a cohesive set of portraits from many different sessions.  A central concept tends to look more put together – so stick with a certain color palette or choose a theme – outdoors/animals and be sure that the decor and portraits are all along those lines.

2. Use a mixture of textures.  From different print mediums to frames and art pieces having a variety of texture adds a little something extra to the wall without being overwhelming.  Be careful not to go CRAZY here and add everything under the sun though – try to stick with the general theme of the wall.


3. Start with ONE piece and build out.  For me – i started my wall with a piece of artwork created from a picture of our home and built out from there.  I knew i wanted our family home as the center point and then the stories of our life surrounding it with photographs and other things to tell our story.  I love the idea of starting the gallery with a large family portrait and building out from there.  Looking at the image below there are many options – add smaller images around the large print, add decor including the child’s name or family name, and a favorite animal or theme of the nursery in a watercolor painting – the possibilities are endless!

Room 3

4. Don’t rush it!  Search for inspiration, have an idea of the types of decor pieces you are looking for and keep note of that in your mind.  I have found when I rush decorating a home or creating something that I want to change it within a few months!  I know it takes some time, but isn’t it worth it to have a gallery wall that will bring you joy for years and years to come.  I have images that I’m hoping to put on my wall to complete it that haven’t even been taken yet, but i am confident that i will KNOW they are the ones when I see them.

Below is a gallery wall we just started in our home recently.  I feel strongly about letting it grow slowly knowing that i will find the right pieces.  Right off the bat I know that i want something round likely right in the middle below the door of the house and then another shape next to that.  My hope is that the wall continues to grow both with photographs and other decor pieces but if i were to try to look online and buy every single piece for it i know i wouldnt love it as much! But I also found that once i started hanging things up – i was MUCH more inspired to find the pieces that work best whereas i wasn’t as inspired before they were on the wall!


5. Play with levels and asymmetry.  My most important thought on this one is if you have a few pieces you want to start with… lay them on the floor before you make holes in the wall!  Look at it and see how it makes you feel, do you like balance or off balance? do you feel drawn to one piece over another? once you consider these things you can determine what the focal point will be and how you can design it so that your eyes reads through the wall (I like to read left to right and that is totally reflected in how i hang things on my walls!).  if you’re creating something over your mantle or over a table – use the flat level to add pieces into your gallery wall too.  Even if they aren’t hanging doesn’t mean they can’t have an influence on the look of the wall.

We have LOTS of time at home these days – and I know that i’ve been staring at my walls much more than normal so it seems like to perfect time to start piecing together that gallery you’ve been dreaming about.  Your first step is to find the location – then figure out your theme, choose your first piece and build around that.  And if you’re stuck on where to start – lets get a session scheduled to choose your first family portrait to start building off of.

I hope you’re enjoying the lifestyle blogs that have been shared over the past few weeks.  I’m always looking for additional ways to provide you value – and any guest bloggers who have something to offer – leave some love below or send along a message if you have any ideas!!

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