Design

Start A Family Photo Gallery

January 19, 2015  —  Written by Julia 

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I have this grandiose idea of plastering our stairwell–nearly floor to ceiling–with our family memories. Vacations, first days of school, dances. I’m making myself tear up already. I found this inspiration photo that kind of captures the gathered feel I really want to achieve. No real certain frame color. Black and whites mixed with color photos. Mats. No mats. I just want a really big mix of our family’s memories.

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I was so excited to get started. I gathered a ton of photos, grabbed a bunch of frames out of storage and then I realized, these types of collections can’t be rushed. Our girls are so little. Our family is just starting out. And while I have hundreds and hundreds of photos I love and could frame, I didn’t love the thought of taking one picture down just to make room for another. I don’t think one memory could be more important than another. So, I started small, leaving ample room for a lot more photos and memories to be added.

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I chose ten photos to frame, with a promise to add another every month or so.

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Right now, things looks sparse and it is taking a lot of patience not to grab at least ten more frames to fill things in a little. But, at the same time, they make us smile every time we walk by. We are so excited for this ongoing project! Now when we snap those frame-able memories, we actually have a place (and a reason!) to hang them. 2015–the year we started our family gallery. What about you? It’s so much easier to start knowing you don’t have to hang 100 photos the first day, right?

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What do you think?

  1. Vanessa says:

    I’ve done this too, but considering we’re really a baby family (no kids yet) I wanted the room to add more. So I added prints/ sayings etc into frames that will eventually fill up with family memories. That way, I get a covered wall, pops of colour, pops of our memories to day, and get to see the dynamics of change over time.

  2. Rebekah says:

    This looks great! I’m just curious how you hung the frames – did you use nails or something less permanent? I found success with 3M picture hanging strips for a small gallery wall in my dining room because I’m too indecisive to put holes in the wall! I have moved things around a couple times already… haha.

  3. Michelle says:

    Love this idea! Can we see what it looks like more zoomed out? Curious how you laid it out with the 10 photos

  4. Leslie says:

    I’m in the same boat. I’ve been in my house a year now and I need to do something with the staircase wall. I haven’t decided what type of gallery wall I want yet which is why I haven’t started. I think I need to just pick my favorite pictures and go from there.

  5. I love this! and such restraint on your part, to hold out and add photos over time rather than place a bunch up on the wall for the sake of an “after” photo. I want to do this in our (ridiculously tiny) hallway. I’ve been accumulating various frames from thrifting so it doesn’t look matchy matchy either.

  6. I love the idea of filling up a gallery wall with photos. Unfortunately, my husband refuses to be photographed and it would just be and the pets!

  7. jennifer says:

    i had the same thing in my last house. we filled the wall with a good amount of frames and then we switched some of the photos out a couple years later and added more photos after my son was born. we just recently moved and i need to buy some more frames. i like to fill up about half of the wall and then add more as i go.

  8. I’ve been thinking about this myself for our stairway (we have a lot of wall space to cover!). But I’m considering doing a gallery wall of our toddler’s artwork instead of photos. She’s just started to “seriously” draw a lot, and it’s so cute. I’d love to see the evolution of her skills/style over time by doing this. Great tip to start out sparse and be patient!

  9. Victoria says:

    What a lovely idea :) Victor and TC were talking about a similar idea.

  10. I’ve been doing this with small random momentoes and photos. But instead of starting all spread out I started in one are and then just worked my way out, so whenever I add a new one I dont have to re-arrange the ones already there. It’s kind of fun to take an unexpected path and have your art be almost like a brush stroke on the wall. Letting it dictate the movement.

  11. Rachel says:

    I think it looks great already! Do you have a favorite place (or places) to collect frames? Other than IKEA, I have a hard time finding clean-lined large frames that don’t break the bank.

  12. Rebecca says:

    Such a great idea to fill up as you go. I have our stairwell (albeit much less wall space than yours) already full and I realized the other day that all the pictures in there are over 2 years old. Definitely need to change photos in and out more which is hard since the old ones are so good too!

    • Julia says:

      My mom sometimes puts a new picture overtop of an old picture in the frame so when she updates she can look back at how the grandkids have grown. I just love looking at all the stages, myself.

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