09 September 2015

Family gallery wall

I know projects move at a snail’s pace nowadays here on the blog, dear readers. I know! I write this blog for accountability’s sake, but it is a little disheartening to keep a log of just how many months go by between phases of a project. And yet – when I actually can check something off a list I made way back when, I do have to congratulate myself a tiny bit for having persistence. I’m getting to those projects, I promise!

Case in point: the gallery wall I first talked about hanging a year and a half ago and put on a to-do list in May. It’s up! It’s on my wall!!! I know that may not seem very exciting to you but now there are no longer stacks of frames in my bedroom that I spent months tripping over to feed the baby in the middle of the night!!!! Exclamation pooooinnnts!!!!

Let’s back up. Approximately forever ago, I’d planned to do a gallery wall in the office, and laid the items out like so:

But in the end, a gallery wall felt too busy in the office, which is central and visible from so many rooms of our apartment (which also have things hanging on those walls). So, I relocated the idea to our master bedroom, took the diplomas out of the equation (they got used in the office anyway), and thought of it instead as a “family” wall – a single place where I could use all the meaningful art and photos that I’ve collected.

It also seemed prescient to do it in the master bedroom considering how many “disguise your TV with a gallery wall!” photos I’ve seen over the past few years. Seriously, it’s a thing.

The trouble was, planning around the TV – and the light switch, omg that light switch – made it downright impossible for me to envision how to hang the items. I couldn’t get a sense of scale or balance or symmetry or anything, no matter how I tried laying out the items on the floor. I took a bunch of photos of the attempts, but in the end, I had to do this...

Yup. I traced every item I wanted to hang on my wall, cut it out of kraft paper, and stuck it up there with painter’s tape (while Mr. P sneakily took photos behind me).

It took some moving around and, ultimately, deciding I had one frame that was keeping the whole thing from working. Once I finally took it out, I found an arrangement that worked for me.

It’s silly now to look at that photo removed of all the time it took to get there. It doesn’t look that hard, right? But oh, a good gallery wall is tricky, and this one had me stumped for a long time. But this arrangement I liked, and I double-checked that it looked okay with the items themselves just by laying them out on the floor.

Now’s a good time to point out how I followed a few cardinal gallery wall rules to keep it from looking a hot mess! First, I stuck to a simple color palette – white, cream, black, and gold. Then I used a few straight lines to anchor the display and incorporate the television into the space. And finally, I tried to place things in such a way that the space between them was relatively uniform (no big empty rectangles between items). It’s that last one that can be a doozy, but it’s worth the time to follow that rule!

I ended up swapping around a few things in the layout above, and then: voila! Through internet magic, it’s all suddenly hung on the wall!

In real life, I used my nifty frame hanger, so it actually didn’t take that long, especially relative to the amount of time I spent planning it out!

Fortunately, after all that time spent thinking and planning and arranging, I was thrilled with the end result! I loved having all this personal art turned into a true family wall, full of some of my favorite things.

In addition to a restricted color palette, the subject matter is pretty limited too. Most of it is made up of members of our family (as photos or silhouettes) or places that we’ve lived (maps, pictures, etc.). The only items that don’t fit in those categories – the monogrammed canvas and photo of our wedding rings – are other happy symbols of our marriage and family.

Even though the theme is cohesive, I love how eclectic the actual items are. There’s both new and vintage stuff up there, and several items aren’t even behind glass, which adds some interest and texture.

But the other reason I loved the result was because I finally had a great spot on the wall for some of my favorite projects – like the faux canvas print, the silhouette triptych, and the stitchable state art! And I could also admit defeat on finding the perfect spot for the faux wood-mounted canvas and just frame it instead, meaning I can finally enjoy it rather letting it lean on the office wall indefinitely!

And with that, I’ve checked off one of the big items on my master bedroom to-do list! It’s a long time coming, but it’s measurable progress! And progress that makes me smile every morning when I get out of bed is probably the best kind of progress.


Janice said...

Love the end result! Personally I'm still in the thinking, planning/plotting phase which I suspect will last... oh approximately 6 more years. ha