hallway gallery wall

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You know how you see images of people’s homes online and you think they have it together?  I used to do that, thinking they probably have every room and wall looking just right.  I’m sure there are some freaks of nature people that do, but I assure you, I am not one of them. 
You saw a glimpse of our upstair’s hallway a few weeks back when I was talking about our new entry light.  Well, until recently, that gallery wall one big hot mess.    
Maybe almost two years ago (I can’t for the life of me remember) I was tired of seeing all the frames laying around in a spare room and randomly decided to start hanging all the photos.   I had a very loose plan, and just started tossing them up on the wall.  I didn’t pay attention to the orientation of the photos.  If it was a vertical photo, but the space needed a horizontal frame, I put it up anyway.  If the frame had a colored photo, and I knew I wanted all black and white, up it went because I knew I’d change it out.  Easy enough.  
Two years went by and I never fixed it.  Photos never got changed out and several were falling off and breaking leaving empty spots.  The Command Strips hated me.  It was getting worse by the day.  
FINALLY, it’s all fixed and I can share it and some tips with ya!
What I learned:
  • Mix your frame sizes – I originally had too many small frames making it look really busy.  Adding larger frames into the mix kept it from looking cluttered.
  • Don’t take it down too low – I love the look of a full gallery wall.  In the first round there was another row of photos at the bottom.  It was just too much.  Check it out from other angles.
  • It’s ok to mix styles – My frames were all bought at different times over the years, range from traditional and modern, and are a mix of black, white, and silver.  Some were garage sale finds that I painted.  Mixing frame styles and colors works since the photos are all black and white.  Which brings me to the next bullet point.
  • Photo color – If you’re going to be mixing up the style and color of your frames, black and white photos are your best bet.  If you want to use colored photos, stick with all one frame color and/or style to keep things from being too busy. 
  • Just nail it – Let me start by saying I’ve done it both ways.  I’ve dealt with patching a bunch of nail holes from a gallery wall I had to take down when we moved.  I’ve also used Command Strips when we rented as to not damage the walls.  I had one or two frames fall down but (so long as the frame wasn’t broken) I could easily put on another Command Strip and put it back up.  I was willing to deal with that while we were renting.  Now when it comes to a busy hallway like ours where things easily get knocked around, just bite the bullet and nail the darn things in.  Place a  Command Strip at the base of the frame to keep it from going crooked.  It’s the only way I’ve found to keep a frame up on the wall for good.  Yes, you’re going to have a ton of nail holes in your wall.  If you ever change your mind or move, filling and repainting really isn’t that big of a deal.  Trust me 🙂  

Do you guys have any tips/tricks for gallery walls?  I’d love to hear!
SOURCES:  Frames (garage sales, hand me downs, TJ Maxx, Ikea) // barn light pendant // rug – Homegoods (similar here) // DIY bench // sheepskin (local gun show) // pillows made by me // buffet – family piece // mirror – family piece // lamps – old Target (similar here and here)


  1. designchic Avatar

    It looks amazing, Shelley! I love s gallery wall!

    1. CrazyWonderful Avatar

      Thank you, Kristy! I have to tell you, I just finished your book this morning and LOVED IT!!!!!! I was up late and got up early so I could see how it ended 😀 I can't wait to tell everyone about it!

  2. Calypso In The Country Avatar

    Shelley, your gallery wall came out beautifully and I love your tips! I have always wondered how those command strips held up long term. We had our foyer and upstairs hall painted in the fall and I still haven't hung the gallery wall I was planning. I just have one blank boring hallway right now. I am pinning a couple of your pictures to motivate me! Your space looks great!

    1. CrazyWonderful Avatar

      Thank so much, Shelley 🙂 Yeah, I had even used the larger Command Strips for heavier/larger frames and just wasn't having luck with them long term. They seem to be ok for really small pictures though. Hearing frames crash down is one of the worst! I had a large one fall down in our bedroom at night and about came out of my skin!!! I have a feeling your blank wall won't be boring much longer 😉

  3. Cassie @ Primitive & Proper Avatar

    oh i love this! i want to do a gallery wall of photos up our staircase one day. maybe before my kids graduate high school.

    1. CrazyWonderful Avatar

      Lol! Right?!! I feel that way about so many projects right now. I have a cross stitch pillow I am making for Izzy and thought I would be done in a few months. Two years and several long road trips later, it's still not done. Maybe it will be her graduation gift 😀

  4. Mindy Avatar

    I'm gonna have to try the Command Strip thing. Mine are all nailed, but holy %$#@ if I'm not straightening those %$#@ things at least once a day. Drives me CRAZY.

  5. CrazyWonderful Avatar

    Yes!!! My mom has a gallery wall going up the stairway. In the last few years they've started having frequent small earthquakes. She was ALWAYS straightening frames before putting Command Strips on the bottom.

  6. Raul Raise Avatar

    i really love this gallery wall of photos its great.

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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