Gallery Wall with Custom Picture Frames

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The past few years I’ve been slowly simplifying our home. Where I once would group a bunch of smaller items together in an effort to fill space, I now am drawn to fewer but larger pieces. One of the areas I have been wanting to simplify is the gallery wall in our upstairs hallway. I absolutely LOVE gallery walls, we have several in our home, but this particular one was feeling busy. Too many small frames, no two frames are alike, and while it doesn’t read so in a photo the black stair railings with all the different frame lines were getting under my skin. Time for a change!

For this project I needed extra large frames with custom print and mat sizing. Last fall I worked with Custom Picture Frames when updating our living room gallery wall and was thoroughly impressed with the quality of their frames. Often large frames can start to sag if they’re not made with quality materials. Their frames are all made with solid wood so I don’t have to worry about sagging. I can also completely customize my frame size and matting. This is why I decided to partner with them again for this project and I am so thrilled with how it turned out! I was provided the product used in this post, but was not otherwise compensation. All opinions are completely my own.

Gallery Wall Before

family photos

Gallery Wall After

gallery wall at top of stairs

Immediately it feels so much more open! I love the cleaner, simplified look.

stairway gallery wall
stairway gallery wall
black and white family photos
gallery wall with all white frames

Frames + Size

When it came to this wall, I knew bigger frames were going to be the key. I went with Custom Picture Frame’s Bianca frame in white with the Single Smooth White mat and frame grade acrylic. I like having the light bounce off the acrylic up here since there isn’t much natural light, but if you are wanting to hang frames opposite or near a window, they also have a non-glare acrylic or even completely glassless option for those situations.

The horizontal frames are 21.25×23.25 inch with a photo size of 8×10, and the vertical frames are 23.25×26.25 inch with a photo size of 10×13. I’ll go into detail on the photo size when I talk layout next. I chose a 6 inch mat for all of the frames. The large mat give the photos breathing room so they can stand out on their own when grouped together.

white frames gallery wall
white frames gallery wall
gallery wall at top of stairway


Although I was looking to create a much more simple gallery wall, I didn’t want it to be boring. The overall shape is rectangular, but to keep it interesting I played with height in the center staggering vertical with horizontal.

For this gallery, I wanted the width of the photos and frames to be consistent. This is where being able to customize your frame, photo, and mat size is so important. Store bought frames with mats come in standard photo sizes like 8×10 and 11×14. To keep the widths the same I ordered the horizontal frames cut for an 8×10 photo but the vertical frames cut for a 10×13 photo. When printing out photos you can use a 11×14 for that 10×13 opening, but keep in mind you will loose some of that photo once matted so choose your photo accordingly if you choose to do the same sizing I have. You can see how they match up so perfectly vertically.

simple hallway gallery wall
gallery wall ideas

Hanging Tip

Gallery walls are intimidating. Here’s a tip I use to get even, straight frames every time. Grab some painter’s tape, a marker or pen, and a level. And yes, nails and a hammer.

  • Tear off a piece of painter’s tape a few inches wider than the frame. With the frame picture side down, lay the piece of painter’s tape across the back of the frame sticky side up. Mark the centers of the hanging hardware on the tape with a marker or pen (this is the sticky side). If you can’t see the mark through the front of the tape, mark the front side as well.
How to hang a gallery wall
how to hang a gallery wall

  • Keep the tape pulled tight across the back of the frame and in place over the hanging hardware. If this is the first frame you are hanging up, sit a level on top while you find the correct position. After the first frame is hung, use a measuring tape and pencil to lightly mark the wall with the width you want between frames both above and to the sides. For my frames I had a 2 inch space. You will use those markings as a guide for placing all remaining frames.
how to hang a straight gallery wall
  • Press the tape into the wall and remove the frame. You now have exact marks for where to add your nails.
hang a frame hack
  • Hammer in your nails and remove the tape!
how to hang a straight picture
  • Now you have perfectly level and evenly spaced frames!
How to hang an even gallery wall

I hope this helps you feel more confident about starting a gallery wall or updating a current one! For more gallery wall inspiration, check out the one in our living room around our TV.


  1. Pamela Jones Avatar
    Pamela Jones

    Loving a cleaner gallery wall look as well. Easier too enjoy those special pictures. Really like a better quality frame as well. Looks better.💞

    1. Shelley Avatar

      I definitely feel like I can enjoy the individual photos more now. And, I can actually see the stair railing along the hallway!

  2. cassie bustamante Avatar

    ooooh shelley! i adore this! i love the large mats!

    1. Shelley Avatar

      Thank you, Cassie! I’m a sucker for large mats. They really helped open up the space and let each photo stand out so much more.

Meet Shelley

Hi, I’m Shelley! My belief is that with a little creativity and elbow grease, you can make your home look like a million bucks without spending it.

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