Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Living Room Gallery Wall (Part 1)

Okay, first off, I want to start by saying that I know these photographs I'm about to show you are pretty terrible. For some reason, I cannot get a good photo of the wall in our apartment living room - the lighting is just wrong, I can't get rid of the reflections even when I close the blinds, and my camera keeps blurring most of the photos for some unknown reason. Maybe one of you photography experts out there can tell me why ;) Anyways, just wanted to apologize for that right away. This is also going to be a two-part post, as you can tell from the title of the post. Today I'm going to share with you how I created the gallery wall and the next time I post I will share how I created some of the smaller details.

Ever since we moved into our apartment, I knew that I wanted to create a gallery wall on the big white wall behind our couch in the living area. I thought it would be the perfect place to display some of our wedding photos, as well as pull in the colors that we chose to accent the room with. We are allowed to paint the walls in our apartment, but we avoided doing this because we knew we wouldn't be living there for more than a year and it would end up being more work than it's worth.

The first thing I did before even starting to create the gallery wall was to choose throw pillows. This gave me a color palette to work with and made it easier to decide which items would and wouldn't work in this space. I found the pillows that are shown in the pictures at Sears. Although they are not exactly what I wanted, I really liked the colors in them and they were pretty inexpensive. I plan to make my own pillow covers for them eventually, but for now they work well for this area.

The next thing I did was to look through the decorative items I had already purchased in the past for anything I could use as a part of the gallery wall. I had previously purchased the big metal "G" and the metal "HOME" sign at Hobby Lobby about a year ago when they were on clearance and thought these items would give me a good base to start from.

Next, I went out and bought some frames. I knew that I wanted several different sized frames and that 3-4 larger frames would fit nicely in the space that I wanted to use. I didn't want to completely fill the wall behind the couch, but definitely wanted it to cover a fairly large wall space. By using 3-4 larger frames, I knew this would still leave plenty of room for smaller frames and other decorative items to fill in between the bigger items. I also knew that the bigger frames would be the best way to display our favorite wedding photos.

I bought all of my bigger frames from Hobby Lobby (I used to work there so Hobby Lobby is my craft store of choice). I knew I wanted to use spray paint on a couple of the frames to make them striped, so I purchased two plainer, very inexpensive oak frames. The smaller one is an 8x10, and the bigger one with the mat around the picture is a 10x13. I also found the two frames with the decorative beveled edges at Hobby Lobby. I brought my pillows along while I was shopping, and the navy blue and yellow/green colors of these frames matched perfectly with the pillows so they went in the cart without question! The navy frame is an 8x10 and the yellow/green frame is a 5x7.

During this same shopping trip, I was browsing the Hobby Lobby home accent department and found the square wooden sign with the bird on the branch - it went along with the rest of my items perfectly and I have a bit of a bird obsession so I knew I had to have this also! I believe it was a seasonal item and is no longer available for those of you who might be wondering. I also found the larger metal key that same day and knew it would work well to pull together the other metal pieces in the collage. It was very inexpensive, only around $4 at 50% off if I remember right, and is still available in the store.

After these purchases, I went home and laid everything out on the floor to get an idea for how much space I had left to fill in around the items I had. I honestly arranged and rearranged so many times that I lost track, but eventually had a vision for how to set everything up and what kinds of things I wanted to fill the holes with. I knew that I wanted to add a few more frames with photos in them, so I went back to Hobby Lobby a few days later and checked out their smaller frames. I didn't find anything that matched in the finished frames, so I headed over to the unfinished frames in the craft section. The frames that they had available were not exactly what I was looking for either so I ended up checking at Michaels and found the three 4x6 frames seen in the photos in their unfinished wood department. While I was there, I also found the three smaller keys shown in the top left corner in their dollar section and brought them home to see how I could fit them into the gallery wall as well.

When I got home, I laid everything out on the floor again (well, let's be honest, everything was already laying out on the floor and didn't ever get picked up while I was working on putting this together) and arranged and rearranged a few more times until I came up with an arrangement that was almost perfect. However, I was still missing something. I searched through my stuff once more and found the cream metal star that ended up filling in the empty space perfectly. That star is actually a gift from a friend's mom that I received while performing in one of my high school musicals so when I look at it hanging up on my wall now, it brings back great memories of those times.

Although I still had no photos in my frames, and most of them weren't even painted yet, I begged my hubby to help me hang them when he got home from work that night and viola! I had an "almost" finished gallery well. I'm actually ashamed to admit how long it took me to put the finishing touches on everything and to actually put photos in the frames, but we'll talk about those details next time. I will also share how we went about transferring everything from the floor onto the actual wall. That was more Eric's accomplishment than mine, but I'll share nonetheless :)

I'd love to hear what you think of my gallery wall! I will be posting again sometime this week to share more about how I painted the frames, as well as how to create the burlap matting shown around the top right photo. In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment or ask any other questions you might have! Thanks also for all of your support since I revealed the new blog yesterday - all of your Facebook "Likes" and page views of the blog have put a huge smile on my face that hasn't disappeared since yesterday! You guys are the best! :)

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