The Making of a Gallery Wall

I frequently spend hours happily organizing, decorating, and daydreaming in my kitchen. It’s a room that’s always changing and evolving. A new cookbook to add to my collection, fresh produce ripening by the window, canisters of food changing with the seasons. Nothing about my kitchen seems static–it’s always growing. It’s truly the heart and soul of our apartment and it probably will always be no matter where we live.

Sadly, I can’t say the same about my  poor, neglected living room which hasn’t changed much since we moved in over four years ago. I decided to make it my goal this summer to give the living room a little love. After completely revamping our book case/entertainment center, I moved on the main wall in our living room.

I love the way that a gallery wall can completely change the look and feel of a room. It’s such a unique and fun way to showcase your art and tie a room together. Since I am on a budget right now, I purchased all of my artwork off of Etsy and bought all of the frames from Ikea. I am really happy with the way the wall turned out, and I love that I can keep adding to it as I go.

While this kind of project is really up to personal taste and style, here are a few tips that I picked up on while completing this project.

  • Use a tool like Pinterest to gather visual inspiration for your gallery wall. If you need an invite, let me know!
  • Identify the look you are going for. Organized and symmetrical? Casual and relaxed? This will help you determine the size and shape of your art work.
  • Look on Etsy for inexpensive artwork. Don’t forget about objects such as mirrors, serving trays, and plates–which help add dimension and visual interest.
  • Determine frame color(s). Do you want your frames to be all one uniform color, or do you want a hodgepodge of colors?  I chose to do a mixture of colors so I brought all of my artwork to Ikea with me so I could match the frames to the art.
  • Create a mock-up. Before you hang, trace each piece of art on butcher paper and cut out. You may need to label each cut-out to tell which piece is which. Place each cut-out on the wall using a little masking tape until you are happy with the overall look. Use this as a roadmap when you hang the art. It will make things so much easier in the end!
  • Consider leaving room to grow. I love collecting artwork, so I am treating my gallery wall as an evolving project. I intentionally left room to add on in the future.

Here are a few examples of gallery walls that I used for inspiration on Pinterest.

I used a mix of RIBBA and NYTTJA frames. Only one piece of artwork required a custom mat which I picked up at my local frame store for $15.

Excited about all my Etsy goodies!

My favorite find is this map of Central Seattle pulled from a 1937 atlas. It’s so cool to see how the area around our apartments has changed over the years.

From left to right:

  1. Equine No. 2 by Kiki and Polly
  2. Antique vintage flower print from NaturalistCollection
  3. Ocean Treasures No. 2 by Sarah Storm 
  4. Eye Chart Print  by B&A Prints
  5. Vintage Italian mirror from VintageZen
  6. Antique vintage flower print from NaturalistCollection
  7. Red Leaf Abstract  by Emma Lawrenson
  8. Bull Dog Print  by David Lloyd Gallery
  9. 1937 map of Central Seattle from BananaStrudel

Etsy Find: Sophie Blackall

In the age of online dating and computer-based communication, some argue that spontaneous romance is a thing of the past. If you are one of these people, check out Brooklyn-based Sophie Blackall’s blog and Etsy store. Her art visually depicts “Missed Connections” posts on Craigslist in the NYC area.

Some are witty, some are charming, some are totally awkward. But all of her art reflects a level of old fashioned spontaneity and vulnerability. Don’t you wonder if these people found their missed connections? I hope they did!

Here are a few of my favorites:

Tree With Legs
-w4m (Prospect Park)

Nice pants. I’d like to see more of you…
BTW, your dog winked at me.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009
-m4w (L train to Manhattan)
You were reading Catch-22 on the subway this morning. I have never seen such a beautiful profile. I wanted to say hi, but then you’d turn towards me and I wouldn’t be able to look at your profile anymore. You were so into your book, I don’t think you noticed me falling in love with you. But I thought I’d ask, just in case.

Thursday, April 22, 2010
-m4w – 26 (Union Square)
Can I buy you a drink?
-Buffalo plaid jacket

Tuesday, April 6, 2010
-w4m – 28 (Chelsea)
You: tall, brown hair, incredibly voluminous moustache, blue/green checkered shirt
Me: tall, blonde, wearing all black and Burberry rain boots
I boarded the uptown C train at 14th Street at around 10:50 on Tuesday morning. You got off at 23rd. You were staring at me. Hard. You’re really really really ridiculously good-looking.

Monday, November 2nd, 2009
You left your coat here last winter – w4w
… or rather, you let me wear it home.
I found fun dip in one pocket and your NYPL card in the other.
It’s going to keep me deliciously warm this winter as I rack up mountains of overdue fines.

Etsy Find: dedeetsyshop

Photos: dedeetsyshop

It’s no big secret that I am obsessed with Etsy. What a brilliant concept–allowing artists to sell directly to customers via online shops. Everyone has their one “why the hell didn’t I think of that” thing in their life. Etsy just so happens to be mine. I can spend hours sifting through the wonderful, creative art …and laughing at the epic fails.

A few months ago, I happened upon some pillows from dedeetsyshop.  I just love the whimsical designs and detailing. I have the French Rose Pillow on my bed, which looks great. This pillow in particular is my absolute favorite, and it looks even better in person. My boyfriend Jeff is usually anti-decorative pillows, but even he admits he’s a fan.

There’s something to be said about filling your home with handmade, one-of-a-kind items, instead of your normal mass produced stuff. You can usually work with the artists on Etsy to customize details and colors, which is something you can’t do at Ikea. As an added bonus,  price points on Etsy are usually a little less than your average brand name store. Win!