I love a good picture display. Whether it’s a jumble of beloved family snaps or an impressive art collection, a display of interesting photographs, sketches, paintings or even postcards adds a large dose of personality to your home, and if done right, injects a certain element of cool.
For many of us, the prospect of designing and displaying a picture or photo gallery is daunting to say the least. Where to buy the frames? What to put inside them? How to arrange all said frames so they look, erm… right? Well, I’m pleased to inform you that this can be a really straight forward and fun project that can deliver a BIG impact at a small cost.
An exposed red brick wall acts as a great backdrop for this collection of framed photographs and prints. It really gives off a professional gallery look yet without all the associated formality. A little thinking outside the box is often all that’s needed to create something really unique. Here are a few pointers to get you started!
1. Choose a wall space
If you have decided to create a picture display, chances are you’ll have a fair idea which wall in your home you want to decorate. Popular spots include: above the sofa in a living room, where there is often a mass of blank space, on a staircase wall, as above, or in a kitchen, however you don’t need to feel restricted by these options. A picture display can look good above a bed, perhaps in your guest room, or how about creating a display for your child’s room? You could frame their favourite artworks from school, posters of things they love or places they’ve been, or in a younger child’s bedroom, postcards and educational ABC prints. I love these modern ones here. (I plan to do a kids’ bedroom decor post in the future so I shall look forward to sharing more ideas with you on there)!
And it needn’t be a plain old wall display. Arrange pictures and photographs along picture ledges such as this one, or for a modern, relaxed composition, lean large paintings on the floor against a wall below the rest of the display (perhaps in a toddler-free zone…!). Another workable idea is to mount a display along a mantelpiece.
2. Source your frames/pictures
Gather up any pictures you’ve stored away with a view to eventually hanging them and decide if they’re still to your taste and liking. If not, could you reframe the pictures in something more contemporary or ditch the picture and keep the frame? Visit charity shops and browse eBay for second hand frames that can be upcycled. Many pictures in charity shops may seem old-fashioned or tacky, but the frame could be spray-painted in a bold colour, gold or even black to give it an entirely new look. An overly ornate rococo style frame immediately becomes less fussy when sprayed black or takes on a French rustic farmhouse look when painted antique white. Spray paint is purse-friendly – try B&Q or Hobby Craft for good brands or scour your garage and dip into those unused tester pots of paint. Distressing a painted frame creates an antiqued finish that is very much in vogue. Work some sandpaper over the top to achieve this look.
Choose a variety of styles and finishes of frames for an informal, eclectic feel and to create visual interest. Nothing tires the eye more than a sea of similar imagery. Break things up a little and play about with textures and sizes, mixing distressed with lacquered, wood with metal, black with white, large with little.
3. Choose your art
Look at the variety of frames you’ve chosen in their fabulous, freshly painted, upcycled state and consider what images, photographs or prints would look best set inside each. Maybe you have some vintage postcards you’ve always loved or is there a quote that you’d like to frame and display for others to see? Etsy is a wonderful one-stop shop for beautifully calligraphed and printed typography that you can have delivered to you as a digital file, ready to be printed off in your own home and framed right there and then! Prices start from as little as £2 or £3 so head over here for a browse and be inspired!
You don’t have to be an art purist when it comes to creating a gallery display. Retro tin signs can also look cute integrated into a display, as can framed sections of maps, unusual mirrors, striking fabric or wallpaper remnants that maybe hold meaning to you, or cut out a piece of luxury wrapping paper if you simply love the design. What about if you have an exposed stone or brick wall – why not make a mini feature of it and just hang an interestingly styled frame with nothing inside but the stonework behind? There are no rules and regulations. The possibilities really are endless!
4. Plan your display
Probably the simplest way to effectively plan your display, is to find a space on the floor that is large enough to lay your array of frames out on and play about with their placement until you’re happy with how the composition looks as a whole. (This part can take a while if you’re a perfectionist like me!) Then, using sheets of newspaper or brown paper, trace around each of your chosen frames and/or objects, cut them out and use them as templates to stick up onto your wall space, perfectly reflecting your ready-arranged composition. Finally, mark onto each paper template the point where you will be drilling through to attach a hanging hook or nail to the wall. The trick here is to work out exactly where this point will be according to how the individual frame is strung at the back. Some larger pictures may need more than one hanging point. However! If this all sounds like too much unnecessary work for you and you’re confident enough to do so, you can simply chalk mark the centre point of the wall space, then hang the arrangement as you have planned it, always starting from the centre and working outwards…
Now you can spend countless moments enjoying your handiwork! For some inspiration check out these lovely displays below…
I love this arty wall and how the monochrome accents in the room are reflected in the pictures above with splashes of primary colours thrown in to warm it all up. (Image Source: Emily Henderson)
This wall display fits the room decor perfectly, with its laid-back eclectic vibe. I love the mix of frame sizes. (Image Source: House & Home)
This is an easily workable simple display of black and white pictures in all black frames. This gives a cohesive, pulled together look, but is far from boring due to the varied imagery and balance of typography vs. artwork. (Image Source: unknown)
I really like this arrangement of art which has been hung onto a wallpapered surface. It goes to show that although wallpaper can be a statement in itself, it can also act as an effective backdrop to other wall decor. The butterflies and the letter ‘W’ seem to nicely balance things out for what is an asymmetrical display. (Image Source: Caitlin Wilson)
Display some eye catching imagery to make a home office space far from dull and uninspiring! I love how the memo boards make a unique alternative to standard picture frames and the wire coat hanger is a quirky idea! (Image Source: SeamZero.com)
Do you have or are you planning a cool gallery wall? What makes it unique to you?