My New Hallway Gallery Wall
Back in January, I vowed that hanging a gallery wall in our hallway was going to happen in 2022. I’ve been staring at a blank hallway for over three years now and I really wanted to spruce it up. It’s taken me until now to finally cross this task off of my home goals list, but I’m proud to announce that I finally have a hallway gallery wall.
Choosing The Perfect Spot
Originally, I thought I might hang something on this wall in the hallway in between our kids’ bathroom and our main bedroom. This is the wall right across from our laundry room and it hosts our thermostat. I figured a gallery wall would make that “wall pimple” of a thermostat stick out a bit less.
But then, I was chatting with you guys on Instagram stories, and many of you said I should hang it in between the kids’ rooms. It’s a long, big hallway, just begging for a little excitement. I’m not sure why I never thought of that, but it truly is the perfect spot to hang some beautiful memories.
Past Gallery Walls
I’ve hung many, many gallery walls over the last ten years or so. The most popular is definitely the symmetrical gallery wall in my mom’s bedroom. The frames are inexpensive and the black and white photos are classic. It’s a fave of mine too.
In my own home, I like to use a bit more color and warmth, as evidenced by the gallery wall in our living room. It has an assortment of frames, art, and sizes. I wanted to mimic something like this in the upstairs hallway. But after measuring it, I realized I would need a lot of really big frames.
That’s when my hunt began. Back in this blog post, I shared some of my favorite places to frame photos, especially custom pieces like my grandmother’s art and the newspapers we found in the walls of this home. I also browsed my local Michaels, where I typically get a lot of frames. But since I needed really large frames and I was going to be framing large photos, I opted for a different method.
Trying Out Framebridge
This was my first time using Framebridge in our home. Many of you have recommended them to me in the past, but I have never had anything framed by them. I liked the idea of using Framebridge because they sell really large frames and they do all of the photo printing for you. I’ve found that if I’m printing something larger than an 8×10, the quality is usually pretty lackluster when I print from Walgreens – which is my go-to spot for photo prints. This blog post is in no way sponsored by Framebridge, but they did provide the gallery wall for me.
After perusing their site, I fell in love with their Staggered Grid Gallery Wall in the “mixed metallics” color palette. It’s a big ol’ gallery wall at 80″ x 51″, which is exactly what I needed for my blank space. Once I decided on that, I was able to upload all of the photos I wanted to use. I wanted all of my photos to be in black and white, so I edited them in Lightroom ahead of time, and then uploaded them directly to Framebridge.
Once there, I was able to move them around from frame to frame until I got the perfect layout. While you can’t move the frames themselves, you can play around with where you place each photo. I wanted to spread out the photos of our family, each child, and ourselves, so it felt balanced.
Framebridge Pros & Cons
So, before we get to the hanging of my new hallway gallery wall, I want to touch on a few pros and cons of using Framebridge for a gallery wall.
- The frames are large and high quality, and they mix and match them for you
- It was very easy to upload photos and move them around
- They handle all of the printing for you
- It comes with a hanging kit to take the guesswork out of placement (more on that below).
- Their gallery walls can be pricey.
- You can’t swap out the photos on your own.
The gallery wall I chose is $999, which is not cheap by any means. However, buying frames of that size would cost me at least a few hundred dollars, and then add the mats and photo printing on top of that. My guess is it would be at least $500.
They do offer other gallery walls that aren’t quite as pricey, as well as custom framing. (I like this custom two-stack for a holiday gift idea.) So, I think it really just depends on your budget and how much you want to DIY a gallery wall.
How to Hang a Hallway Gallery Wall
As mentioned, the gallery wall comes with a hanging kit. It’s a gigantic piece of paper that you hang on the wall and you use it as a guide when hanging. They also give you all of the hardware, so the only supplies you’ll need to have on hand are a tape measure, level, painter’s tape, and a hammer.
Find the Center & Level The Guide
First, find the center of your wall and hang the middle of the guide, using painter’s tape. You’ll want to use your level to make sure the top is straight all the way across.
As for height, do not hang it too high! In my hallway, I placed the center of the gallery wall 54 inches from the ground. This worked perfectly for my space.
If you’re hanging a gallery wall over a piece of furniture, I always suggest placing the bottom of the lowest frame about 4 to 8 inches above the furniture. You can read more about how to hang art at the right height here.
Hammer In Picture Frame Hardware
This was my first time using picture frame hardware and it was a bit of a learning curve for me. It comes with a clip and nails. The nail goes in at a 45-degree angle into the clip and drywall. Once you start to hammer downward, the clip tends to move a bit. So make sure you hold onto it tightly!
Each frame has two clips at the top of the piece. Just follow the guide to get them in the correct spot. You don’t have to worry about anchors here. The picture frame hardware is designed to hold the weight of these frames.
Remove The Guide & Hang
With all of my clips in place, I pulled the paper hanging guide off of the wall. It then looked a little crazy with all of the clips just floating up there. To get the correct frames in the correct spots, I looked at my original layout and design, and then I just started hanging them. It only took a few minutes!
My New Hallway Gallery Wall
Why didn’t I do this sooner? I’m absolutely in love with my new hallway gallery wall. But the best part is how much the kids adore it.
Rory came home from school the day I hung it up and squealed with delight. She is obsessed with the photos of herself and says goodnight to the pictures as she walks by before bed every evening. It’s adorable.
I can even peek at all of these beautiful memories when sitting at my office desk and when I walk up the stairs. Seeing my kids on the days they were born, a photo from our wedding day, and our family all together makes my heart burst. I’m kicking myself that I waited so long to do this.
The only downside is that I can’t swap the pictures. Because they’re professionally framed, the backs are sealed with paper to prevent any dust from getting inside the frames. Maybe one of you out there has swapped a framed piece before and you can share any tips and tricks with me. If so, give me the details in the comments below.
While I plan to keep many of the pictures the same forever (like our wedding and the baby pictures), it would be nice to swap out the kids’ photos as they get older.
All in all, though, I’m in love and I urge you to hang more memories around your home. I smile every time I walk by.
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.