Been there, done that

Well, it’s finally done! Or mostly done. Every time I look at the pictures I think, hmm, I should move that frame over here. Nope, that’s not good, put it back, but try swapping these two! So yeah, there’s a little tweaking yet to be done. But mostly, my new gallery wall in my newly painted living room is-


Would it be sacrilegious for me to say “It is finished”? I mean, I shouldn’t compare my installation of the gallery wall to the crucifixion or anything, but…both stories have wine in them! Jesus didn’t actually drink his wine, so the similarity ends there, and hoo boy. Yeah, that’s sacrilegious. Bad Hannah!

Anyway. Wow. I’m not sure what just happened.

Moving on! I was just talking the other day about how personal tastes change, especially involving things like home decor. My personal taste has definitely evolved over the year that I’ve lived in our house! When we first moved in I went through a serious “More is Better” phase with lots of colors, accessories, and clutter. I’ve since come to realize that after a long & hectic day in the office, I need to come home to a space that is soothing, clutter-free, and coordinated. In a home as small as ours (roughly 960 square feet) it is also important that the rooms match the same general color family, otherwise a small space can start to feel as though it’s been chopped into even smaller bits.

Our living room started out a lovely soft “new leaf” green color, Lemon Mint by Olympic. It was a cheerful, fresh color, but when paired with my colorful throws, lamps, pictures and accessories, it started to look a little garish. I fixed that problem by repainting the living room with Benjamin Moore’s Edgecomb Grey, a creamy warm grey that looks alternately grey and beige, depending on the levels of light. The next thing on my list was to update the gallery wall. I know I know, again!

To see the levels my gallery wall has gone through, you can read my multiple posts on the subject. But basically, I went from this:


That big mirror is moving into the master bedroom.

To this:


As Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory would say, “BAM!”

The biggest challenge of this project was getting my layout planned BEFORE I started putting up frames! I’m sure you know, that’s not my usual modus opperandi. Not at all. I usually start with a few frames up in the center, grab a hammer and nails, and start putting the rest up with no rhyme or reason. I believe that I generally adhere to the phrase, “willy-nilly”. But this time, I knew what I wanted and was determined to achieve it!

So, I spent some time in Microsoft Paint and came up with this:


By “some time”, I mean about 5 hours.

I took pictures of both gallery walls in the living room, uploaded them to Microsoft Paint, cut each frame out of the picture and changed the wall color to match an online sample of Edgecomb Grey. Then, after changing some of the frames to gold, I “hung them” on the digital wall. I also added a couple of round mirrors that I found while browsing online. The pretty gold sunburst one was from Pier 1, the round black one from Hobby Lobby ($20 and $12, respectively).

I was going to give you a tutorial on how I spray-painted my frames gold, but since I did such a crappy job of it, no one should follow my example! I used a brown spray paint with primer added for the first coat and then went back over it with Valspar’s metallic gold spray paint. I was pretty proud of my work until a few days later when I stacked up the frames to bring them in and paint started chipping off. Oops, my bad! And it goes without saying that I absolutely did not get the tiniest bit of gold spray paint on our concrete driveway, completely by accident. Because that would just be ridiculous.

Anyway, I realized partway into my frame-hanging spree that I wasn’t taking any in-progress shots, so, IN PROGRESS:


Not sure why Emma is looking like a druggie on the couch here.

I ended up centering the light fixture and the frames on the actual center of the wall. The couch moves back and forth on the wall so often that centering on the couch would’ve ended up looking right only 50% of the time. Technically this is also an in-progress shot, because I hadn’t completed the other little gallery wall or covered the electrical cord, and ended up moving a few of the frames around yet.


Argh, I needed to break out the level before taking this picture!

This, THIS, is a “It is finished” shot!


It’s easier to see everything with the track light off. I like the ambiance, but it doesn’t photograph well at all!

I had some new pictures for the frames printed out at Walgreens. I found a TON of awesome botanical prints and old science prints online, and also added some pictures of The Hubs and I, and pictures I found on my grandma’s facebook of my grandpa with his dad when he was really young. I love the look of vintage black & white photos and the fact that they are actually someone that I knew? Is totally a bonus. Interspersed with the pictures are some 1950’s etchings from Etsy and a few watercolor paintings from my trip to Italy.


I keep the heat set to 64 degrees overnight and through the day while I’m at work, so here the short-haired Cruiser is in his usual spot, which is curled up under a blanket.

I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about the black track lighting. I camouflaged the electrical cord with white electrical tape so you can hardly even see it in these pictures, which was pretty genius on my part I think. (I’m so modest like that) I’m just not sure if I like it black or not. I can still take it back to Home Depot and exchange it for the white version if you think that would look better. Part of me thinks that a white fixture would look too “office-y”, and that the black one has more of an edgy, industrial vibe, like it’s supposed to be looked at as part of the gallery wall. Wow. Also, in case anyone is wondering, I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep last night so I might not be making much sense. Or any sense, for that matter.


I tried to keep the tops and bottoms of the frames more or less lined up.


I’m 4 command-strips away from perfection! I hung the two big frames and the mirrors with nails and I want to tack a couple command strips under each one to keep them steady on the wall. Also, need to cover the electrical cord all the way to the top, because I just realized how weird it looks here.


I purposely used a combination of gold, white, black, and wood-framed pieces, as well as unframed. Doing that keeps the gallery wall from looking too stuffy.


I also purchased some plain white mats in different sizes from Hobby Lobby to add to my frames. Picture mats really dress up whatever is in the frame and create “breathing space” for your eyes.


Not everything on a gallery wall has to be framed! My two watercolor paintings from Italy are a wonky size and would need custom frames, so I just tacked them up in their mats.

My Anthropologie metal letter “N”, two of the science prints I was talking about, and a small artwork that I found at an antique shop a couple weekends ago. The bird is comprised entirely of bird feathers and on the back there’s an inscription detailing how the painting was brought back from “Old Mexico” in 1953. I thought that was too awesome to pass up, especially for $4!


Let’s hope those beetles don’t freak The Hubs out. He hasn’t met them yet…

This is a picture that one of my friends took for me as a 2-year anniversary present. The picture was taken in our backyard. Yes, there’s a lake. Be jealous.


Weird to think that I used to have bleached-blonde hair.

The bottom-left artwork is also an antique-shop find, it’s a framed bit of woven tapestry. The frame is in rough shape but I think it adds to the look. Also, my Pier 1 sunburst mirror and some more family pictures.


I think the tapestry and sunburst mirror look SO GOOD together! They should get married and make mirrored-tapestry babies and live happily ever after.

I took this picture last summer of one of my sisters. She was on a balloon-bedecked bicycle and decided to play “chicken”, pedaling straight towards me at full-speed. At the last second she veered off and I snapped this picture.


I love the colors in this photo.

The top-left picture is of my great-grandaddy and great-grandma when they were super-young. Isn’t it adorable? They’ve both passed away now and I love having this reminder of them. Also, bottom-right is a small watercolor from Italy.


You can see what mean when I said that some of the gold paint started to scratch off.


These are 8×10 prints of old science book pages showing different types of feathers and birds. I figured they were appropriate considering how many birds, er, chickens we have outside!


Another science print, and more pictures of great-grandaddy and his family. He’s in his military uniform in the top right one.

Living Room breakdown:

  • Hampton Bay 3-light linear track light, $30 at Home Depot
  • Portfolio black linear plug-in adaptor, $10 at Lowe’s
  • 1 gallon Olympic ONE Paint + Primer, eggshell finish in Edgecomb Grey, $26
  • Brown spray paint + primer, $3 at Lowe’s
  • Valspar Metallic gold spray paint, $6 at Lowe’s
  • Gold sunburst mirror, $20 at Pier 1
  • Round black mirror, $12 at Hobby Lobby (I used a coupon)
  • White picture mats, $15 at Hobby Lobby
  • Antique Shop finds, $15
  • Command Strips, $4 at Jo-Ann’s (I used a coupon)
  • Pictures for frames, $16 at Walgreens (I used a promo code)

TOTAL: $157

Here’s how it looks, finished, with the track lights on:



Of course, in person the lights don’t wash everything out like that. So, what do you think? My dad is coming over tonight to help take down the kitchen cabinets for my open shelving and I really think there’s a lot to learn from all of this. I know what I’m learning, at least! I’m learning that The Hubs should never, ever leave me alone like this, ever again. There’s absolutely no telling what he’d come home to.



P.S. Here’s a question – do you think I should get a small pot o’ gold paint and touch up the scratches on the frames? Or is the look working for you?


12 thoughts on “Been there, done that

  1. Pingback: It’s done? Oh good. Now I can go back to sleep. | Cozy Crooked Cottage

  2. Pingback: Bringing in the green! | Cozy Crooked Cottage

  3. I’m all over this on this write-up, I really assume this website needs much more consideration. I’ll probably be yet again to read a great deal more, many thanks that info.

  4. I loved every word of every sentence! Thank you so much for an awesome breakdown of your beautiful wall gallery, I love it and you could not be any cuter yourself !

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