We've totally fallen for Young House Love's "wallpapered with frames" hallway. "We think it created some pretty quick dimension and interest," says Sherry Petersik, who runs the blog with her husband, John. The couple first arranged frames using newspaper cut outs. Once everything was hammered and hung, they hunted for things to display—ultimately a mix of photos, retro ads, vintage finds and other things they already had. "It’s definitely a smorgasbord," says Sherry. "But we’re so enamored that we’re planning to “wallpaper” the other two walls on the other side of the hallway with frames too."
Elsie and Emma, creators of A Beautiful Mess, created this amazing Family Photo Bookshelf in a mere two afternoons. To add some flair to built-ins, they used blueprint copies (which are basically giant photocopies that cost about $1) of old family photos and trimmed and taped them to the back of each cubby. The result: A fresh way to display meaningful photos. "I'm nothing if not sentimental, so this was the perfect project for our home," blogs Elsie.
Just looking at this makes us smile. "I wanted to create a family gallery wall, but I wanted it to be a little quirky and bright. So I found some scrolly frames and had our family pictures taken with all of us wearing bright colors. I also took a table I inherited from my grandmother and painted it a happy yellow to compliment my wall," says Jennifer Hadfield, who blogs at Tatertots and Jello. To get a super smooth finish, she sanded the frames between coats of spray paint (white, to match her wall trim). And to avoid a creating a bunch of holes, she used of 3M Command Strips in various sizes to hang the pictures.
Blogger and photographer Bree Hester, co-editor of the site The Creative Mama, is part of an always moving military family—which is how the design-savvy mom developed a talent for making generic rooms cozy. "I was inspired to make this photo wall because I needed something inexpensive that would take up a lot of space. Our rental home was all white and it needed some personality and color," says Hester. To create her wonder wall, she played with the layout then clipped assorted 4” x 6” photos together in groups before hanging them all with thumbtacks. "When people come over, they're drawn to it. And I love being able to look at our memories from different points in our lives every day instead of having to get out the photo albums."
Flight of Fancy
Two years ago, Kasey Buick and her family left Chicago for paradise—the Hawaiian island of Kauai. There, she created a beachy chic hideaway for her brood, including a dreamy display along the staircase to show off her gorgeous kids. Using masking tape, Buick hung newer frames from Ikea and Target alongside vintage finds she’d collected over the years—all without glass. “Because I have little ones, I knew taking the glass out of the frames would help in avoiding a disaster should a child accidentally knock a frame off the wall,” she says. Though she long coveted a photo wall, it took a great family photo session at a local library to get her going on it. “I have a love for vintage, and mixing that love with an amazing shoot just sealed the deal."
Almost Trash to Treasure
Pretty and Repurposed
Mixing imagery, decorative pieces and functional items like dry erase boards make it easy to create texturally interesting and affordable arrangements. It's even better if you mix and (don’t) match using what you have. "My wall display came with a very small budget,” says Just a Night Owl blogger Darcy Struckmeier. “I took items from other rooms and acquired a couple for 50 cents at a garage sale. My white board came from taking an existing frame and adding an insert purchased at Hobby Lobby for just a few bucks, and my chalkboard came from covering an existing piece that I had grown tired of with chalkboard paint,” she says. When on a tight budget you can achieve a whole new look by grouping existing pieces together in new ways. “The results can be fabulous!"
Big and Bold
Sometimes, big is better. Faced with a blank living room wall, Little Inspiration blogger Angie Ramirez filled the empty space with a large scale image of her own little inspiration, her highly photogenic daughter. "The project wasn't hard to make at all—super easy and inexpensive," said Ramirez. She bought the frame at Walmart (she spray painted it white) for $16 to go with a 24" x 42" industrial print she snapped up on sale at Office Depot for $3. Total price? $19.
Posh doesn't have to be pricey. "I wanted to display some favorite pictures in our master bedroom, but did not want to spend $20 a pop on gallery frames with mattes," says Melissa, who blogs at 320 Sycamore. "So, I got creative with some dollar store frames and basic white poster board." In total, she spent less than $11 for six sleek 11" x 14" frames to hold simple 4" x 6" black and white pictures. They look especially chic above a white dresser, "framed" by two gorgeous glass lamps.
Simply Kierste blogger Kierste Wade fashioned this rustic DIY creation using a couple of wood pallets. "This is a really easy project, and a great way to display a lot of photos in a small space. Because this display holds fifteen photos, I don't have to choose between my favorites anymore," says Wade. The clothespins make it extremely versatile, allowing her to easily change the photos any time—perfect for holidays. "It's one of my favorite things in my house, and every time I walk by it makes me smile," she says. Although "easy" may be a stretch, you don't need a lot of supplies and the results are so worth it.
This striking photo mosaic created by Paislee Press blogger Liz Tamanaha is easier than it looks. "This is a quick and inexpensive way to display a lot of photos. The white border around each photo acts as a ‘frame’ and helps to create a sense of cohesiveness," says Tamanaha, who was inspired by beloved design magazine, Domino. Opting for 5”×5” pics (printed through whcc.com), she created the layout using a leveler and pencil. The double-sided mounting squares she originally used didn’t work for long—so she replaced them with poster strips by 3M. Go to the site for a project template.
Life on a Chain
Shanty 2 Chic author Whitney Gainer created this pretty array of hanging chain frames to display her favorite photos of her kids. "This is such an easy project to dress up your walls! I used cheap $5 frames from Walmart and a few products from the craft store to make a big statement on a small budget. The only tool required was a hot glue gun which made the project even better," says Gainer. Decorative tacks keep the photos in place, and the glass-free front lets her change the photos anytime—simple, cheap and chic.