When a picture just isn’t good enough

STOP THE PRESSES, I have a problem.

Okayyyy, It’s not even really a problem (don’t tell my husband I said that). The ACTUAL problem is that I can’t seem to leave well enough alone (actually, don’t tell my husband I said that, either). No sooner have I finished one project -new photo tours of the master bedroom & kitchen in all their Ikea-fied glory are coming after this holiday weekend!- than I decide I absolutely MUST overhaul something else… It’s like a carousel of crazy, and I’m stuck on it. Riding the pink elephant of course, because that’s just how I roll.

In case you haven’t quite realized how cray-cray I actually am, I’ll show you my problem:

Yeah, so…what’s the problem? It’s actually a pretty cool gallery wall. A little off-balance, maybe, but that’s what happens when I decide to rearrange the frames but still have to cover up all the nail holes I previously pounded so eagerly into the wall… I definitely need a better system of hanging things. On that note, anyone try using these monkey hooks? Do they actually work?

The problem is all the framed numbers. When I invented the idea (meaning I’d never actually seen it used before so it’s completely unique to our cozy cottage, which is cool but might also be a bad thing) I was trying to unify all the frames without overpowering the wall. Our living room is teensy-tiny so I decided that having tons of bright artwork would overpower it. Is it just me, though, or does that gallery wall look BORING? It’s okay, I can take it. Be honest. All I did was print out numbers in different fonts & sizes on regular printer paper, and voila! A tragedy was born.

Of course, I’m not the only one who has trouble planning gallery walls! All you have to do is google “gallery wall” and there are TONS of instructive blog posts and websites about successful gallery walls, ranging from simple all the way up holy-crap-I’ll-never-be-that-good-*sob*.

One of my favorite posts is on YoungHouseLove, and just a warning? It’s so good it almost made me swear off designing for forever. It’s that good.

Photo credit John & Sherry Petersik

See what I mean? Anyway, once you’ve scraped yourself back up off the floor (and hopefully read their blog post), another helpful DIY gallery wall post is from Lauren Conrad’s website. BTW, isn’t that girl adorable? I follow her on Pinterest and I swear we could be BFF’s, if she’d just give me a chance! Lol. Anyway, her post is super-informative, so definitely check it out.

Photo from LaurenConrad.com. Pink AND zebra print? Another reason why we should be BFF’s.  

Another site that is informative in the art of gallery-wall making (and also frickin hilarious) is on nothingbutbonfires.com -how cool is that name? It’s ridiculously helpful, and just to make me feel better, includes pictures like this:

Photo credit nothingbutbonfires.com. We all know that this happens!

Pinterest also has tons of gallery wall pinboards, like this one, this one, and this one. It’s like the world has gone gallery wall crazy, right along with me. I’m feeling the love.

Which brings me back to my problem. Now that I know that my gallery wall sucks, what do I DO with it? Well, for starters, I need to ditch the all-white-thing it’s got going on. Luckily on my recent trip to Ikea I bought scads of frames in black. I was going to put them in our hall bathroom, but clearly this takes precedence.

  1. Vary the frame color.

    Pinterest makes me swoon.
  2. Frame photos/art that is meaningful to us.

    Put alllll the thingsss on the wall!
  3. Make our gallery bigger.

    No more of this “six frames ANNND I’m donne!” crap. If I want a decent gallery wall I’ve got to WORK for it. I can minimize clutter in the rest of the room and make this wall the focal point.
  4. Move the giant cat painting to… a different room.

    Adios, pretty kitty. It’s been fun. This fab painting was created by one of my younger sisters and I ADORE it, but I think its’ time as a focal point in the living room is drawing to a close. It will do quite well after being added to my wall-o-paintings in the master bedroom.

Previously when I’ve decided what to frame, a lot of my decisions were based off the fact that I have access to a black and white printer. All that cool, vintage-looking, typography-style stuff? I can totally resize that and print it out, and have instantly awesome art. But I think I’m done with black and white. Sure, it has its uses (I keep thinking “unification”), but against my soft & cozy leafy green wall, the art really needs to POP. ka-BLAM. POW. PIZZAZ. So while my brain is on a long-time-coming artsy bent, I’m going to list what I think I could and should frame. **Always remember to use acid-free photo mats when framing precious items/photos, otherwise over time the color could be leached out!

  • The invitation to our wedding reception that I designed
  • The vintage-y marriage certificate that we signed the day of
  • 3 watercolor paintings purchased from street artists during my trip to Italy
  • An engagement picture
  • Baby photos of both Mark & I (these are always precious!)
  • The 4-leaf clover I found last Spring
  • The butterfly prints I bought off Etsy for our house, before we’d even closed on it
  • Mark’s military certificates
  • Sketches from my college art classes
  • My college diploma (what else am I supposed to do with it?)
  • The mix CD my husband gave to me when we first started dating
  • A recipe- maybe for the pumpkin pie my mother-in-law makes that my husband drools over?
  • One or two of the cards Mark received while going through basic training
  • A business card from back when we made dollhouses
  • Thrift store/flea market finds- small paintings, cameos, vintage portraits, embroideries, paint by numbers, lace doilies, etc.

Pinterest has a pinboard labeled “Fun things to Frame” that has some good ideas too- maps from trips taken together, jewelry, paper cutouts, silhouettes, high-end shopping bags, etc.

I’m so excited! I’ll start gathering things over this holiday weekend. We’ll see how many of these precious treasures I can track down- things never seem to stay where I put them! Do you have any fun projects planned for your 3-day weekend?



6 thoughts on “When a picture just isn’t good enough

  1. Okay, confession time: I am in LOVE with yhl’s gallery wall & Nothing but Bonfire’s gallery staircase {and I have a huge girl crush on Holly, what can i say…I’ve followed her blog for about five years}. I adore gallery walls! I have lots of stuff to frame {I found an old road atlas and tore out pages that have meaning to John and me; wisconsin, where we’re from; boston, where we honeymooned; southern vermont, where we went on vacation; our wedding invitation; sweet Henry mementos, etc}, and am itching to get to ikea and snag some frames. 🙂 I can’t wait to see how yours turns out!

    • I have to resist the urge to turn every wall in our house into a gallery wall! Now that I’ve gotten some good ideas on what to frame (your ideas sound lovely, btw!) I feel like there is too little wall space… I really need to get those monkey hooks though. I am so bad about pounding nails willy-nilly into the walls. Mark doesn’t even react anymore when he sees me with a hammer. He actually joked that after being away for military training for two weeks he was going to come home to find EVERYTHING mounted to the walls. LOL!

  2. Pingback: Evolution of a gallery wall | Cozy Crooked Cottage

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