For many years I have been pining for a gallery wall. I didn’t care where it was, I just wanted one! When John and Sherry turned their hallway walls into a mecca of all things art, I could not contain myself! We don’t have a hallway or even a good place to hang a whole wall of photos (plus we don’t have the money to buy enough frames and art to fill an entire wall), but I have fallen almost equally in love with a mini gallery wall centered above a sofa, which is what we set out to recreate in our living room!
Here’s what I’m talking about (click each photo to be taken to my pinterest that lists the source):
Believe it or not, I actually love when the frames are white if the wall is a color, but since our walls are an ugly off-white, white frames just would not work.
However, we also did not want to go with black frames. Why? Let’s look at our room a little more closely:
You would never guess that I’m a huge color-lover by looking at our rooms, or that my favorite neutral color is a soft gray. Nope, because every neutral color in our room is a variant of brown besides the bright white boxes in our Expedit/TV stand. I was always told never to mix black and brown, which was fashion advice that I don’t always take, but in our living room, I wanted to stay as far away from black as possible. If I could paint the whole TV and screen a different color I would!
So, I had to get creative with our color choice for the frames. I don’t care for the look of mismatched frames in a gallery wall since my eyes love order.
This is the sneak peak I shared last week:
I spent so much time cutting out the frame shapes, numbering them, taping them up, and it was all pretty much for nothing. A few of the frames completely rejected the spray paint, so they were out and had to be replaced by other frames.
Here’s our frames laid out on the floor for a test round before painting:
The configurations changed slightly when the spray paint wouldn’t adhere to the frames, so I am not completely pleased with the way it is now, but it’s good enough. We don’t plan on living here for much more than a year, so I can live with it for now.
Semi-funny story before I reveal the final product. We put off painting the frames for some time because we could not figure out a good place to do it. We knew outside would be best, but we don’t have any outdoor space of our own and didn’t want to bother our neighbors with the fumes. I finally decided to set up shop in our laundry room which has no windows, only one door leading out (to two different rooms with no windows), and stores our gas water hear with a pilot light (foreshadowing, anyone?). Thank God (quite literally) that I hopped on good ole Google moments before painting to find out how dangerous this was. I probably would have set our apartment on fire since the vapors had nowhere to go but straight toward our pilot light. Writing it down makes me realize how not-funny this was.
Anyway, we decided to risk it outside and moved as far away from apartments as we could in our parking lot. The paint we used was this:
I knew nothing about it (and still really don’t), but I know it was at our local hardware store, it was on clearance for $1.50 a can, and it claims to bond to all sort of tricky materials. Sounded perfect, and it ended up working okay, so we’re happy.
As for the color, since I’m a self-proclaimed gray-lover, we went with the softest gray we could find. This color was actually more than perfect because it’s actually a gray-brown, especially in our living room filled with browns. I love white frames, so I didn’t want to stray too far from white by going really dark (plus we’re trying to lighten the room not darken it since it has no windows). We love how the color looks against our walls!
Here it is seconds after I finished pounding nails into the walls (sorry neighbor!):
I really love how the gray-tan makes the white mats pop!
I must admit that I love an asymmetrical arrangement, but I could not get it to work. I’m too type-A appartantly to go all asymmetrical above a symmetrical sofa. One day I will do an asymmetrical arrangement! It’s on my imaginary list of things to do before I die.
We still do not have all the art collected that we want to add to the frames, so our semi-final product contains a collection of random photos and art we had laying around. It’s good enough for now.
Some things we would like to include (some of which are included) are: nods to places we’ve visited (like the North Shore Road Trip print on the far upper right), references to our home state/town/current city (like the 612/651 print to the right of the middle print which is the local area codes), things dear to us (like pets, balloons since they were part of our wedding, quotes, photos from special occasions), and things we created ourselves (like the shot of the peony in the lower left corner that I took a few summers ago). Over time, we think our gallery wall will be a perfect reflection of the two people who daily sit on the couch below it.
I also would like to add a few extra frames since some got the boot when the paint didn’t adhere, but who knows if we’ll get around to it. This room still has a lot lacking compared to our imaginary vision of the room, so we’ll keep you posted as we spruce it up on as little money as possible!
Where is a place in your home you use as a reflection of yourself/family/hobby/passion/job/etc.?