Start A Family Photo Gallery

January 19, 2015

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Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here. 

We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen. 

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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.


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.



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





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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looking for inspiration? 

Here’s the crazy thing about me and inspiration: If you were to go into my bathroom inspiration board on Pinterest, there are bathrooms for sure, but there are also kitchens, there are closets, there are mudrooms, and there are hallways of houses! I’m not looking to copy and paste an inspirational image. I’m taking notes […]

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