Creating gallery walls

How to create an amazing gallery wall with family photos

A gallery wall using family photos is just what the doctor ordered to bring a smile to your face during this time of uncertainty. It is also a fantastic project that the whole family can work on together while “staying home.” So pull out the bin of pictures or USB drive of digital pictures and start going through them. After all, aren’t you getting bored at staring at the same four walls?

You can easily turn a blank wall into an awesome gallery wall with your favorite photos by following the steps below.

Corner gallery with photos

Step one: Determine where to hang your gallery

Old family pictures are a welcoming addition to a guest room

You can create a gallery wall of family photos in any room in your home. I love creating them in family rooms and dens because those are spaces that tend to be where the most time is spent, and the photos get enjoyed regularly. Staircases and hallways also lend themselves well to gallery walls. Once you have selected where the photos will hang, you can start to visualize what you would like to see there.

Step two: Select your photos

Start to go through your pictures and get a general idea of the ones you would like to use. It is a good idea to select more than you need so you have some flexibility when figuring out your gallery layout. Don’t forget to double check and make sure all important people are represented. Hurting grandma’s feelings would not be good. You won’t be able to finalize your selections until you know what the design of your gallery will be.

Step three: Design your gallery

Two different colors were used for frames

There are three things to consider when you are designing your gallery wall; frame type, photo size, and layout. I will go over each of these design elements separately but all of these decisions hinge on each other and should be thought of together.

Photo frames

Determining what kind of frames to use is a matter of personal taste. My advice is to pick a theme and stay consistent. Also consider the pictures that you are framing. Are they formal or casual? Are they black and white photos? What color frame makes them pop on the wall?

Examples of themes that I have found extremely successful

  • All the same frames
  • All different frames painted the same color
  • Two different types of frames which coordinate nicely (Mixing more than two color frames on a gallery wall can start to look messy and actually take away from the photos).

photo size

When you begin to think about photo sizes think about where you are hanging the pictures. If you are placing them over a sofa, they will be viewed from a distance which means a very small photograph will be difficult to see. In a hallway, a small photograph works just fine because you can view it in close proximity.

Also determine if there will be one picture which will be the most important on the wall. It could be a wedding photo or a family portrait. This gives a great starting point to build off of when creating a layout. I recommend this photo being the largest and central photo one the wall. Do you see how one decision is connected to the next?


symmetrical layout for photo wall
Symmetrical Layout Example for Gallery Wall
Asymmetrical Layout Example for Gallery Wall

Determining the layout is the best part of the whole process because you can get creative. If you are someone who has to have things perfectly straight and orderly, you should probably only consider an symmetrical layout design. If you prefer organic and artsy experiment with an asymmetrical design. Below are some examples of layouts for each. You can also add some other elements into your design to add interest. Shelves and quotes work great!

By now you should have some general idea of the look and feel you would like to create. You can sketch them out on paper or buy a variety of frames based on what you are thinking you want and play. I come up with my best layouts by laying the frames on the floor and arranging them. I just keep moving them around until I find I find a configuration that pleases me. I find it easiest to begin in the middle and work outward. Once I have determined their best placement, I choose what photos are going in which frame.

Step four: Choose photos for frames

Once you have decided on a layout, you can finalize your photo selection and determine which photo is going in each frame. For some you may need a landscape orientation and others you may need a portrait orientation. The main photo is usually the largest and centered. Once you have it perfect transfer it to the wall and hang. If you can’t hang them all that second, take a picture of them so you can remember the arrangement you decided on. If I had a dollar for every time I thought I didn’t need to do that because I would remember, …

Step five: Hang your photos

Hanging arrangements is the part that many people are afraid of. But don’t be because any nail holes that are made by error can easily be filled with DAP. Most of the time mistakes are hidden behind the picture anyhow.

Tips for hanging:

  • Start hanging from the center and work your way out.
  • The center of your arrangement should be eye level.
  • Keep the spaces between frames consistent. Generally speaking 3 inches works well.
  • Command strips help pictures stay straight.
  • Use a level

You now have all the tools you need to create an awesome gallery wall from family photos. I hope you were able to read last weeks post, Home Safe Home, which gave additional ideas for projects to do while “staying home”.

I hope that you all are doing well,are safe at home, and doing your part to flatten the curve. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading this post. I would love to share more design ideas with you….

Published by

Barbara Rose

Hi I am Barbara Rose. I am an Interior Designer and I started design2bhappy to inspire others to think of Interior Design as more than just creating a beautiful home. It is about living comfortably, while being surrounded by things you love. It is about creating an environment that we feel good in while providing a sanctuary to counter- balance the stress that life can throw at us. This blog is aimed at helping others achieve that "there is no place like home" feeling.

2 thoughts on “How to create an amazing gallery wall with family photos

  1. Hi! I have tons of family photos and nowhere to put them until now! Thanks for giving me something — other than cleaning out closets and drawers— to do!
    Still remember your wedding and find it hard to believe you are going to be a grandmother!
    Jeannie Wagner

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