giving your gallery wall more umph on the cheap

I’m a little obsessed with gallery walls but to be honest the few times I tried they fell flat.  They were ok, served the purpose, but nothing great.  I started looking on Pinterest for ways to jazz up the wall but didn’t feel like I found anything that really pushed it over the top.  Another obstacle I found was that the pictures I loved (especially the ones courtesy of Joanna Gaines) were a little too expensive for my budget.  Even though I’d love to have a big piece of architecture hanging on the wall, it’s just too expensive to invest in every room (and too dangerous for the kids’ rooms).  After some garage searching I finally came up with some simple and cheap ideas.  The best way to start, in my humble opinion, is to with tried and true basics.  Grab some simple frames and pictures to start off.  Shake it up by using a variety of widths and colors, with and without mats.  Next, choose one or two large pieces to work around.  I usually put the biggest piece up first, slightly off center so I can build from there. After that you’re ready to add variety.


1) Greeting Cards.

When I was planning Haddie’s nursery I found several prints I loved from Rifle Paper Co.  Even though they aren’t expensive ($24 for an 8×10) I didn’t want to use up too much of the budget on art when there are millions of things a baby needs!  (Ok, maybe not a million but a lot).  My second problem was that they had so many cute prints I had trouble narrowing it down.  I finally decided on this bobby pin print for the 8×10 but I still had wall space to fill.  That’s when I decided to check out their greeting cards.  They’re $4.50 each which is more than I typically spend on just a card  (I know, I’m a cheapskate but I’d rather spend the cash on a gift.)  Anyway, I decided to get six cards which was just slightly more expensive than another print but gave way more variety.  I got floating frames from Target for around $3/each and voila!


2)  Plates.


I’m sure you’ve seen plates hanging in kitchens or dining rooms but have you considered adding one or two to your gallery wall?  I don’t use plates in large groupings but I love the idea of one of two thrown in here or there.  It adds a some depth and texture that you don’t get from prints plus they’re fairly cheap to buy.  I opted for one of my great-grandmother’s rose plates because it’s a family heirloom.  If you don’t have one handy you can usually find antique plates at a Flea Mall or Goodwill.  The Pioneer Woman’s collection at Wal-Mart is also a great place to check or pattern and color.


3)  Washi Tape.

I’ve loved washi tape since the moment I laid my eyes on it but I had trouble finding a practical use for it.  Wrapping presents with it is a good idea in theory but I’m a wrap-it-on-the-way-in-a-newly-purchased-bag kind of gal, despite my best intentions.  I had an advertisement from a 1960s magazine I wanted to hang in Hadley’s room and didn’t want them to feel rigid (if that makes sense).  I wanted it to feel less like a traditional gallery wall and more like an idea board.  I was rummaging around in the garage and found some blue striped washi tape and decided to tape it to the wall instead.  It’s one of my favorite parts of her gallery wall.  Bonus, it adds some extra color and pattern!


4)  Letters.

Letters are a well loved and well used staple of a gallery wall.  There’s something special about buying a letter for your baby’s nursery when you’re pregnant.  Noah has a blue “N” from an old sign on his wall we bought while I was pregnant.  I wanted something a little different with Hadley (just so they weren’t completely the same).  When we lived in an apartment I glued a “K” to the glass of a funky frame and used decorative paper behind it to celebrate seasons.  I used the same idea for Hadley’s room.  I bought a cardboard “H” from Michael’s, painted it a delightfully tacky gold and put some funk paper behind it.  Quick, cheap, and I can change it up easily with a new piece of scrapbook paper.


5)  Scrapbook Paper.

Speaking of scrapbook paper…did you know it’s also a cheap way to decorate?  I know I’m super original but bare with me.  I’ve made many a pennant with scrapbook paper for birthday parties (and to hang over the kiddo’s kitchen in the living room).  I had some gaps to fill in Noah’s gallery wall and  I already had prints, signs and a letter.  I needed something simple but different.  I printed off a  profile picture of Noah from Facebook (horrible quality but that’s ok), cut it out and traced it onto scrapbook paper.  While I was at it I traced Kentucky onto another kind of scrapbook paper and framed them both.  Done.  Two unique pictures from less than $2 (because I already had the frames).  Any guesses on how old Noah was when that pictures was taken?   It’s from our 20 week ultrasound, the day we found out he was a he.


I hope these help you add variety to your gallery wall!  Got other ideas?  Send them my way!  I’m working on my next gallery wall as we speak.  I love them too much to quit.

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