DIY: Eclectic Gallery Wall

This project, like almost every other project I do, was in the planning phase for months, and yet the plan was still underdeveloped before I impulsively started and finished it all in one day. I had been wanting to do a gallery wall in our living room for more than a year. I began collecting things and making things to hang up, wanting it to be a mix of all my different tastes and things I like. …And then, inevitably, one Saturday morning I lost all patience and decided to get everything I had on the wall. Immediately.

Fast forward a few months, and I’m not in love with it. The day I did my wall, I forgot about a few things I wanted to hang up and neglected to make room for them, like the “haters gonna hate” cross-stitch I made one lonely night. Now I think of that cross-stitch with regret, because now I already have 40 holes in the wall and would have to move everything around to accommodate it.

So even though this is a DIY post, I don’t recommend jumping the gun, like I did. Make sure you have everything you want to go on the wall, and be patient. It will be worth it to love your wall forever instead of for a couple months.

I don’t hate it or anything. I still really like most of the things I put up, which I feel is a miracle because of how many ideas are out there on Pinterest. I browsed through so many different types of gallery walls, and I liked all of them. It was hard to go with one style, but here is how I chose the pieces for my wall.

  1. I chose colors purposefully. I have a general color palette for our living room. It’s a lot of rich, warm colors, with navy being the dominant neutral (hello big blue couch), and dark gray being the secondary neutral. I made sure nothing on my wall would clash with the color palette, and added some punches of contrasting or supporting color.
  2. I matched my pieces to the feel of the room. I’m pretty lucky that my living room is already a modge podge of textures and patterns. I kind of put everything I liked together, and it worked. It has a worldly, ethnic feel, with some earthy and quirky touches (see pine cone garland and disco ball). So almost anything I included in my gallery wall would work because the room is already pretty eclectic. If you have a more specific style, choose things that will compliment it. If your room is minimalist, choose some strong, bold typography prints, or a few larger, colorful pieces to contrast.
  3. I made sure I had different sizes, because I wanted my wall to look like the rest of the room – laid back and kind of quirky. Nothing too strictly measured. I didn’t want to set up all my pieces in a grid, like you would if you wanted a statement wall of everything being the same size.
  4. I chose things that meant something to me and reminded me of things I love. The first thing I hung on the wall, which ended up being engulfed in the gallery wall, is a big picture frame with twine strung behind it, so I could hang lots of pictures, postcards, and pretty stationery from it. It set the trend of just jumbling everything together that works for my wall. There are vintage photos of my grandparents, a couple wedding pictures, photos friends send us, paint swatches, and pretty patterned notecards hanging there, and each thing has meaning to me. The rest of my gallery wall collection has meaning too. There are quotes from my favorite books, a framed letter I wrote to Brett once, hand-lettering I’ve done during quiet time, paintings I made myself, and a cross I got on a missions trip to Honduras.


    Here’s how I made my gallery wall:

    1. Gather all your pieces – and choose carefully!

    2. Lay everything out on paper and trace it. I used some wrapping paper that I don’t like anymore, but you can use newspaper, craft paper – anything!

    (Shoo your bunny out of the way if he becomes a problem.)

    3. Label your pieces so you know what they are, and carefully cut them out. I also put the sizes of each piece on there, but I don’t really know why I did that except that it was satisfying.

    IMG_6579 IMG_6583
    4. Start taping your wrapping paper pieces to the wall and arranging them. Since I wasn’t making a grid or measuring out the space between everything, this part took the longest. I started with the big pieces, then added the smaller pieces. Then took it all down and started over. Multiple times.

    IMG_6586 IMG_6595
    5. If you feel like your wall isn’t full enough… make more stuff! I had to get a little crafty to fill in some gaps.

    16. Once you like how you have everything arranged, start nailing things to the wall (or have your husband/brother/boss-girl-friend do it for you). Voila!

    I can’t wait to add more to it and really make it what I wanted it to be in the first place. But for now, I’m enjoying all the personality it adds to the room. For a bonus extra step, you can add washi tape around your frames. I did this because I still felt like some pieces were too small and needed to fill up more space.

    FullSizeRenderIf you have a small space, like I do, don’t worry about crowding it. I feel like people worry about making their rooms feel smaller, especially if they live in an apartment. I say, if you’re not up really committing to chic minimalism, go ahead and embrace the smallness of the room. It’s okay to fill in the space! Do whatever feels good and makes you happy to be in the room. Give it as much character as you want. This is supposed to be fun!

    What’s your favorite thing on your wall? Do you have any gallery wall tips to share?


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