Giant Family Gallery Wall

Giant family gallery wallHello friends! I feel like 2017 is REALLY my year to DIY. I feel SO empowered! I think what it actually is is that in 2016 we demolished our house and by 2017 we are finally getting to those gratifying finishing touches. AUGH … finally! It feels so good.

One big project I have been wanting to tackle for years is this gigantic family gallery wall.

This post is in collaboration with Canon USA. I used my all-time-favorite PIXMA iP8720 printer to print family memories, all in black and white. The printer produces really strong black and white images and I always choose the Canon Luster paper for these type of photos. I resized all my photos to 8″ x 8″ to fit these matching frames. I used 24 frames in four rows of six. I think the things that make this gallery wall really pop is that all the frames are the same size and all the photos are in black and white. It’s a mixture of family memories from my parents’ childhood to a photo taken just a few weeks ago, but most of the photos are from Jeremy’s and my childhoods.


You know I love a good before and after moment …

Hallway before and afterWhen we first moved in, the hallways (and well, almost every room) were covered in blue carpet. It’s hard to tell in these photos, but the walls were powder blue as well. We took a more neutral approach, but until recently our hallway was still pretty bare. We live in an l-shape ranch and the hallway curves around and has every bedroom in the house (as well as a couple bathrooms and the laundry room) down this long hallway.

We updated the walls with white paint, changed out the light dim, square light fixtures with the same budget-friendly method we used in the bathroom, removed the carpet and restained the floors in a white wash and added this gallery wall.

Giant family gallery wall Here’s the first section of the hallway (just off the entryway). You can see the stairs that lead down to Jeremy’s studio. A little wallpaper from the entryway (it’s juju papers) and what a big difference these runners make! I borrowed these runners from my friends at Apple & Oak (a cute little Nashville boutique) because I am still shopping for the perfect vintage runners (it takes time). But I was shocked what a big difference they made for the hallway.

Giant family gallery wall Giant family gallery wall These photos have completely transformed the feel of our hallway. I tend to shy away from big family photos in the home. We barely even have any wedding photos out and just a few snapshots in frames. I think a lot of people are this way because, well, it feels extremely awkward to hang a bunch of photos of yourself up on your own walls! Haha!

But doing this project was extremely meaningful and comforting to me! Yes, it has a couple wedding photos, but it also has dozens of other memories. And when they are all combined together, it’s just magic. It makes me tear up thinking about adding photos of our future children to this wall.

Giant family gallery wall Giant family gallery wall To add a bit of color, I added this scarf from Block Shop Textiles and a few plants. I don’t think it’s necessary to overdecorate a hallway, as these simple updates really made it feel a lot more cozy and complete.

Giant family gallery wall If this post inspires just one of you to go dig out your box of old family photos and make a similar wall, I will be SO HAPPY. This is one of the most meaningful DIY projects I have ever done. I just keep pausing to look at all our memories and feeling so, SO happy.

Bottom line: While I talk a lot about how we need to get our photos off our phones, we also need to find ways to use those boxes of old photos hiding in the attic. They are full of the best, most special memories.

Thanks for reading! Elsie

Credits//Author and Photography: Elsie Larson (photos of Elsie by Jeremy Larson). Video and Music: Jeremy Larson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

SaveSaveSaveSave

  • My aunt gifted my dad a big tote full of old photos a few years ago and that was a priceless moment for me. It was my first time seeing my dad as a baby and really getting to see pics from his childhood and of my grandparents. Sadly, because my parents married later in life, I never got to meet my grandparents. The only bond I got was sifting through those black and white images, and it was definitely there.

    Family pictures are so special. If and when I have a family of my own, I plan to print out photo highlights of each year with a copy for each child so when they are grown, they don’t have to work as hard as I did to find them.

  • That wall looks stunning, I was hoping to do something similar to this!

    Katie | katieemmabeauty.com

    • https://abeautifulmess.com/wp-content/themes/a-beautiful-mess/assets/images/gravataricon.gif

      Hi Silje,
      Either way would look super clean with all matching frames. I almost went color, but since I had a lot of old photos I went black and white. 🙂 xx!

  • Yes! Moving into our new apartment this month and definitely suggesting this to my husband, can’t wait! I love showing people pictures from the past, I think I will add a lot of pictures of both our grandparents, we have such a great collection from them 🙂

    • I love the way this looks! Do you have any tips for hanging the frames in straight rows? It’s hard for me to imagine myself getting a look like yours. Also, would you mind sharing where you found the frames? I really like the mats with the frames

      • https://abeautifulmess.com/wp-content/themes/a-beautiful-mess/assets/images/gravataricon.gif

        Hi Aidel,
        Yes- the frames are from Target (linked in the post) they come with the mats as well.

        To hang these, measure and mark your spots (with pencil) for the whole entire wall before you hang. If it helps, cut 12×12 inch papers and hang them in all the spots, that way you can “eyeball” it to make sure it looks straight.

        🙂

  • I love this. I just LOVE it. I’m designing my parents new home and I think this would be a lovely DIY we could all do together as a family. I’m sure a lot of laughter (and tears) will probably ensue 🙂

  • I completely get the photos of yourselves on the walls being/feeling a bit odd. I love the idea of lots of fun old (& some new) family memories though. Especially when you live so far from family (I’m from Australia, living in the U.S, just moved from Minnesota to Florida….so now both husband and I are away from our families). We will be moving into a new home soon and I’m thinking of doing something like this along the walls of our stairs. Love that you went simple with black& white photos.

  • I’m actually halfway through a similar project myself! And this has totally inspired me to add some older photos as well though, like this absolute gem of a photo I have from when my dad was a kid. He grew up on a farm, and there was this one time his little sister (my aunt) was trying to get the horse and carrage to back up into the barn via the ramp that led to the barn’s second floor. She was like six, and hadn’t really done this before, so obviously the carriage ended up hanging off of the side of the ramp while the horse was still standing on the ramp. She ran to my dad for help, who immediately said “wait, let me get the camera”! So the photo is an old black and white film photo of my little aunt posing next to the horse with the carriage hanging off the side, stil attached to the horse. Their parents didn’t even find out about it until they got the film developed! Anyway, I’ve had this photo for a while and not quite known what to do with it– don’t know why it never occured to me to add it to the black and white family gallery wall!

  • That is so adorable! My parents have an absolute zero of my photos around, and they even have my mum’s niece photos out… 😉

  • This is the perfect answer to my empty wall under my staircase! We have a beautiful family and what better way to be with them all the time.

    Also I am mad for your dress!! Could you tell me where you found this treasure?

  • This looks so great! Do you have any tips on resizing the 4×6 prints into 8×8 or any other size for that matter? I’ve always struggled to resize pictures for printing

  • What a beautiful wall! I love all the pictures.

    Just my input on hanging photos of yourself on the wall or on shelves or wherever…

    I used to think it was weird and maybe awkward. However, after having some around the house of our favorite times, I feel like they aid in keeping our love and marriage alive in some way. They are a timeline of where we have been, the love we have felt, and they help to keep us reminiscing while also inspiring us to maintain that love and wonder that we had when we were younger. I LOVE looking back at our “old” times, and maybe I am such the oddball here with my opinion. I don’t care, haha. I also don’t care if they are in public spaces. After all, it’s OUR home, and we are the ones who live here. Guests can either be weirded out or love them, too-their opinion is none of my business 😉 . It’s not like we have them EVERYWHERE, hahaha. Don’t get me wrong.

  • I did this on a wall using B&W photos in black frames. Just took it all down to paint. I’m debating whether to put them back there or in the hallway like yours. I originally wanted to hang them in the hall but it’s not a very well lit area and kind of narrow. Any suggestions?

  • What a beautiful hallway! I completely love the idea of using older photos, it adds such a dimension to our relatives when we see them not just as “Grandma” but as World War II nurse and so on. Lovely idea!

  • What perfect timing! We are just finishing up a huge reno project on our house, and I just got a bunch of old family photos that I really want to hang up. I love that you used the same frame throughout. I have a similar question as Holly up there – how did you get all the photos to fit 8×8 without ruining the resolution? Thanks for sharing!!

  • We also shy away from having family photos in our house because of not knowing how to display them! This is perfect and I can’t wait to give it a go, time to look back over all our memories and pick the best ones. This is going to be fun, thanks for the great inspiration.

    Holly xo

    The Art of Being Holly

  • Wow! What a difference these make! I am usually a person to have as little as possible on my walls and as decor in general. But as someone who grew up with so little pictures of myself as a child, I definitely think this would be a staple in our home. Will do some more research on this idea. Thanks!

  • Hey Elsie, I love the gallery wall but PLEASE iron the wall hanging. It looks so out of place in your beautiful home attached by two corners and all crumpled. The easiest trick for getting wall hangings to hang nicely without ironing: spritz with water. You can also fold the scarf over a wooden dowel (or some other piece of wood) so that the top edge is straight, not sagging.

  • My mother needs to do this – we have so many family photos from all different years and this is a great way to really unify everything. It’s so clever to do them all in black and white – so they feel similar! That always seems to be the problem with trying to put together an old photo collage. The other challenge is our dark wood home – I’m not sure what the right color frame would be for something like that!

    http://www.shessobright.com

  • Your gallery wall is beyond incredible! It’s absolutely gorgeous and totally inspired me to do something similar on my stairway, I love taking pictures and recalling the memories behind the photos!
    – Rebecca ♥

  • Hi Elsie,
    VERY awesome! What program did you use to print the pictures 8X8?