One of my favorite spots in our home is our gallery wall.  It tells a story.  Actually, it tells about nine different stories all at the same time but, that is part of the story.  People always ask how to create a gallery wall and often assume they have to invest a lot of money to get this look.  Those people don’t know the secret.  My guess is you already have a gallery wall lurking around in your closets and spread out in different rooms, just waiting to be put together.  I would bet that if I could come over to your house right now, we could find enough items to hang on a blank wall in the next hour.  But, you don’t need me to come, you just need to know what to look for:

  • kid’s art
  • plates
  • photos {black and whites ALWAYS look cohesive together}
  • empty frames
  • silhouettes {how to make your own}
  • I also love hanging three dimensional items–awards, antlers, serving utensils, books, vintage ornaments
  • don’t forget to add some quirky in:: that old photo of the kids screaming on santa’s lap, the license plate from your grandpa’s car, whatever it is that you have~the point is to have a wall that not only looks pretty and interesting, but that has meaning
  • something awful

My wall looks cohesive because of the repetition of black, white and turquoise.  Sticking with three main colors can get you far with a gallery wall, and don’t assume I started with things in these three colors~I painted photo mats, the letter “M” and used leftover wall paint with my boys for the canvases.  I’ve also found that it’s easier to create a wall like this when I hang the largest items first and space them around a little and don’t fret if something looks out of place, you can tweak it every day if you want. Lastly, don’t worry about making holes in your wall, nail holes are the tiniest, easiest, quickest most inexpensive fix in a home, or you can use some command hooks that don’t damage the wall.

What’s something special that you’ve featured or would like to feature in a gallery wall?

By the Nester

  • suzannah {so much shouting, so much laughter}

    i’m mostly amazed that you have three kids and a white couch! cool space.

    • the nester

      I know, I was convinced by a friend with children and a white sofa, the part where you take the slipcovers off, wash them, bleach or oxiclean them, and then 2 hours later get a clean sofa is what sold me, we still love them!

      • Living the Balanced Life

        I love that concept too, however, I have been unable to find slipcovers to fit my couch, it has cushions like yours. I may have to have one made, I guess!

  • Laura@Life Overseas

    Love this look, and love the idea of using three basic colors– black, white, and a bright color. Such an inviting space, and I love the interest it creates in the room!

    I think I would use these hugemongous pictures I had printed of my kids– abstract pics. of their faces.

  • Stacey

    Love this. Need the guts to try it. Think hubby would mind if he came home from his business trip and found our blank wall galleried??

    • the nester

      Nope, I’d bet he’d be happy that he wasn’t asked to measure and hang things! Go for it, if we can’t take a risk in the safest place on earth (your home) then where can we take a risk?! Email me a photo when you are done!

      • emily freeman

        Yes, Yes! Preach it Nester! Remind us how to take those low-risk, non-risk RISKS!! love it.

  • Holley Gerth

    Oh, you, how do you do it? You give us all this wonderfulness and convince us we are capable of it too. I adore your little creative self. I just got a new Red Letter Words print from Dee and you’ve got my thoughts twirling around…

  • Living the Balanced Life

    That is an awesome wall. I would love to give it a try someday! We are avid photographers and already have 4 large pics on a large wall, might be cool to expand this a bit!
    4 ways to be like the energizer bunny

  • zoe

    We’re in the midst of decorating a room that was my eldest’s bedroom which will be my craft room and his place to lay his head when home. I could SO do something like this in there, hmmmmmmmm

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  • geneil

    Love your gallery wall… I have had it bookmarked over on your website awhile. I’m gathering my pictures and my courage to do this!

  • the nester

    Help me understand, why does it take courage for you to decide to do a gallery wall? What is it that holds you back?

    • Tina

      I need courage as well! I have such a fear of making a hole in my wall and my husband will see my mistake! I’m terrified of opening a paint can because I won’t do a good enough job. I have a passion (I mean obsession) with frames hidden throughout my house just waiting to be placed on a wall somewhere … someday. I’m inspired by your freedom … I need to be set free!

      • the nester

        thanks for your input Tina, more thoughts on this topic coming…

        • sara

          I’m with Tina. I currently have about 20 frames that have been sitting on my dresser since Christmas. I want to paint them all white. I want to create a gallery wall. But I’m terrified. What I’m worried about is that I’ll take the time (with 4 kids underfoot), the small expense and put it up and hate it. It just seems easier to let my imagination sit on my dresser than to find out that said imagination doesn’t look right in real life.

          • Heather Gemmen Wilson

            I don’t need the courage as much as I need the creativity. I don’t mind making a mistake and starting over, I just don’t always “see” how to even start. I’m going to try though! This is really cool!

          • Monica

            I love this wall. I have started one in my bedroom and I will just have to finish it now! One thing that helped me get over the fear of doing it was to make a paper “copy” of what I was hanging. Then I felt much more at ease taping up a piece of paper with the dimensions of the artwork to get my positioning correct than nailing that dreaded tiny little hole. :)

  • Tracey

    I actually just redid our dining room (had to get rid of the red paint!) and created a gallery wall- here’s a peek:

    And, I have silhouettes between the 2 windows as well :)

  • Heather

    You are so right, your gallery does tell a story. I LOVE it! Im envious of your street signs print, that is a brilliant idea!

  • Linda Stoll

    Fun! Ever-changing … great interactive blackboard … a real draw for family and those who come to visit … says SO MUCH about who your family is in this season.

  • Kristen

    I just wrote a post about a gallery wall this weekend! I love that you emphasize putting quirky items in the gallery wall – I think that is key to adding interest. I am drooling over your silhouettes (and adding in your pets!!!)…must make some of my family!

  • Shelley


    Have you used Command Strips to hang frames? Does it hold? Does it truly remove without damage? We are currently renting my in-laws place…I’m afraid of the nail holes but am desperate to create something on these empty neutral walls!

    Great post btw!

    • the nester

      You need to look on the command strip package to see the weight limit but yes, I’m basically amazed at their magical non wall damaging powers {but, always try it in an unseen place first to test your wall} I just bought more today.

  • Tracey

    I use the Command strips that are velcro… awesome!!! And yes, they leave no damage!

    • shelley.

      Thanks! Good to know! Now I can have some fun =)

    • Angela

      I used the velcro command strips to hang a light strip over my kitchen sink — they hold up amazingly well! :)

  • Jo @ To a Pretty Life

    I have a gallery wall. It will be tweaked once I get around to painting the stairwell (the 2-story-high ceiling is intimidating me, so it will probably be the last place to be painted.) My favourite things on my wall right now are two antique keys, and a mirror that my parents got for their wedding in 1979 that I refinished when I was a teenager.

  • Maureen

    What are your recommendations for no-hole hanging? Are the Command strips best for you? Velcro or plain? We are in a rental with plaster walls, so I do have to be careful about leaving chipped holes. I have frames we haven’t hung in the year we’ve been here. Time to get settled in! I especially love the humor and whimsy in your display. Keep life light-hearted!

    • the nester

      I use the command strips with the hooks in the package {this is becoming a command strip commercial} hate me.

  • julie g.

    Thank you for this post! I have been wanting to create a gallery wall in my office (2 years with nothing hanging) and keep thinking I have to wait for the “perfect” combination of items to present themselves.

  • Judith @Creating Balance

    I have been dreaming up a photo wall for some time now. Last week I discovered I have about 42 frames lying around, that I’m not using. Plus a plethora of plates and chargers. It was all right before my eyes, and I didn’t even notice!! :)

  • Courtney K.

    I love this wall. :) We’re working on a gallery wall right now in our new house and this is such a beautiful example! I love the emphasis on sticking with three colors. It definitely makes it look for organized and clean. Thanks for sharing this!

  • jenn

    I love the gallery wall and I have one! It actually goes down my hallway and displays pictures of my family from since my boys were small. My Mom always had a gallery wall in the house, right now hers is a band of pics from many years of family vacations at the shore. We all love looking at the pics from days gone by. I love your wall because it is chic and ecclectic. Thanks for sharing your home!

  • Londen @ Sixty-Fifth Avenue

    I agree, those command strips are awesome! We did two photo walls in our dining room with them.

  • Fairfield House

    Love your suggestion to add quirky and ‘awe’ full to the wall.
    Amazing how it all comes together randomly. It looks great!


  • Anne @ It’s a Baltimore Life

    I LOVE gallery walls!! I have one along my stairs:

    And one I just did in the basement not too long ago. We dont have any kids yet but I did create a silhouette of one of my doggies:

  • April

    before i even read the post, I saw the picture and thought, “I want to live there…” because I love the look and have tried to create that for myself…I have a bit of a gallery wall in my living room and in my bedroom over my bed…baby steps compared to your’s…but I love it! Thanks for posting this!

  • Tiffany

    My something special is a collection of photos and military insignias from family members dating back to WWI…now to figure out a gallery wall just for them that is worthy of such an honor.

  • Annie

    Every time I see this space, I am overwhelmed with happiness. A home, a home, a home.
    Congrats on all that you do. I am convinced I can take care of four children with a husband deployed and still have a home not a house, thanks to you and a few others.

  • Heidi M

    GReat advice, Nester– and YES, I’m sure I have a gallery wall lurking in my closets and a couple of boxes. I just bought a couple of cans of spray paint so I can repurpose some old mish-mash looking frames. Great rainy day project, I’m thinking!

  • http://MagnoliaBendDrive Glenda

    great post, Nester. thanks for inspiring me again and again

  • Cherished Hearts Vintage

    Considering this idea for a wall in the kitchen, but I’m still not sure just what to do. Thanks to all for sharing links so that I can explore.

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  • Margie

    Love this wall! I love memorie walls, I am redoing my house, this gives me some good ideas

  • Jane B

    Love the memory wall. I so want to do this, but we’re in the process of selling the house right now… so at least i can dream of one for the next house. Would love white slipcovers, but they don’t sell them down here – boo hoo.

    Love your advice about making a house into a real home.
    jane in NZ

  • Jody

    I am working on a gallery wall right now in my freshly painted hallway/stairway. I am so excited about it because it is evolving into something I love. Mostly family pics, mostly B&W pics, but also some different things. I am about to hang two old branding irons that were used years ago. (We now use electric irons)

    I’m having fun! Thanks for the inspiration.


  • domestic extraordinaire

    I love our gallery wall and the red that I chose for the living room. I would have never have considered it before I read your site. It is one of my favorite spots in the house.

  • Melissa

    Thanks for the inspiration. After reading this I realized I was paralyzed by the fear of nail holes and mistakes. I rearranged the wall above our couch today and love, love, love it. Mistake wise I only had to reposition one frame as I had it a bit higher than the other one I was trying to match. You can’t tell because the frame covers it. It was really so simple.
    Thank you for your wonderful post.

  • Dena

    I love this! It makes the space look so inviting. I am always looking for fresh new ways to display my artwork, so thank you for the inspiration!

  • TRS

    If wayward nail holes are holding you back… trace your frames and other items on butcher paper or a cut open paper bag… cut them out and arrange them on the wall with painter’s tape. When you like it… take a snapshot of the arrangement and duplicate it with the real thing.
    Or start measuring and nailing with the cut-outs as your guide. you can even mark where the hanging spot needs to be on the cutout and nail right through it… no mistakes.

    Easy breezy!

    Or arrange everything on the floor and take a snapshot – whatever works.


    What!? You’re a design school dropout? Don’t tell me you tried Sheffield? I’ve been dreaming of doing their online program.

  • erin @ the little apartment

    Oh I love catching up on posts that I’ve missed. This is great (: I enjoy reading the conversation in the comments almost as much as the post.

  • Jillian R

    I’ve been wanting to do a gallery wall above my couch for ages, but have not done it yet. Part of my hesitation is that I’m not sure where to center the arrangement. The way our open living room/eat-in kitchen is designed there are two windows along one wall- one in the living room and one in the kitchen. But, you can’t center the couch between the windows because then part of it would be in the kitchen.

    What do you guys think? Would you center the arrangement between the two windows, or over the couch? Or, should I just go full-throttle and cover the whole wall? ;)

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