A large gallery wall doesn’t have to cost a fortune to create. Let me show you how I made a budget-friendly gallery wall and my tips for creating your own.
Living Room Gallery Wall: Budget-Friendly Tips to Create Your Own
Creating a gallery wall in your living room can be an inexpensive way to add personality and style to your home. Here are some steps you can take to make a gallery wall on a budget:
I just hung a large vintage-looking gallery wall in my living room. Not only is it quite dramatic it was a budget-friendly project!
OK, I am letting you know that I probably broke every “rule” that you will find on Pinterest…getting that out there right now!
My living room is on the smaller size and I really wanted to change things up in there and add a “wow” factor to the space. Spring is the perfect time to start changing things around and giving my home a refresh after the long, cold New England winter.
Here is how I did it!
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Choose a Wall to Hang Gallery
Choose your wall: Pick a wall in your living room that you want to decorate with a gallery wall. This can be a blank wall or one that already has some decor.
I was in the “go big or go home” state of mind for this project! My decorating style has never been super bold but lately, I have been really loving more moody colors.
My home style has been drifting from cottage style to I’m not even sure what you would call it!!
It’s fun to scroll through my living room pictures from the past few years here on the blog to see how much the space has evolved.
My idea was to create a large gallery wall running the length of the gray sectional in the living room on the one long wall in the room.
Finding the Gallery Wall Artwork
In my brain I had a picture of the look I was going for, I knew that I wanted a vintage feel and wanted to use artwork prints.
A gallery wall can be created using a combination of artwork, family pictures, old calendars, book pages, and shadow boxes…really the ideas are endless!
Something that I don’t think is readily known is that there are thousands of free art images that are considered public domain and available for free downloads.
If you visit the website of one of the large museums in the U.S. like the National Gallery of Art and search the collections you will see the download icon and can download the file to your computer. I wrote a blog post last year with a few resources.
The downside is that it can be time-consuming to do this though. A super affordable option is to buy a digital print set from Etsy.
Let me let you in on a secret…the sellers found the vintage art images in the public domain and grouped them to sell.
But, hey, I spent $10 to buy a set of digital prints and it saved me a few hours of searching the web. I also have created an art print library that you can have free access to (I’ll have it at the end)
Between the Etsy set and all the images that I found, I had more than enough to create a cool gallery wall! Now, I had to figure out the layout!
What Frames to Use
Mix and match: Don’t be afraid to mix and match frames and artwork. It can add character and interest to your gallery wall.
Since I wanted to keep this project budget-friendly I definitely didn’t want to run out and buy new frames! So I gathered up all the frames that I had in the house and the big stack of random frames I had in the basement to figure out what I could do with what I already had before spending a dime.
There were 3 different styles/color frames: black, rustic wood, & light wood. Plus I had a pretty good variety of frame sizes to work with too.
If you don’t already have frames then my first trip would be to your local thrift store. Gosh, I never have good luck finding frames at mine but there are only about 3 people that live in New Hampshire!!
From what I see on YouTube some of your thrift stores have rows and rows of picture frames! Even if you find a mishmash of frame colors and styles…a can of spray paint works wonders!
Some of my frames are from Michael’s when they have their buy 1 get 2 free sales. Walmart has a selection of gold vintage-looking poster frames too.
Plan Your Gallery Wall Layout
Plan your layout: Plan how you want to arrange your gallery wall. This can be done by laying out the frames and art on the floor, and playing around with the arrangement until you find a layout that you like.
There are a few ways to figure out your layout:
- You can find an inspo gallery wall on Pinterest and copy the layout
- Arrange the frames on your floor and move them around until you like what you see
- Use kraft paper or newspaper and make templates of your frames and then hang the paper on the wall to figure out spacing.
- Or just go for it and hang and go until you get the look you like!!
I went with the “just go for it” and hung the frames and figured it out as I went. Be sure to grab a tape measure and level.
Choosing the Art to Hang
Once I had the frames up on the wall came the tough part, what art prints I wanted to hang in what frames. My creative brain goes on overload and I needed a visual aid to help me with this.
So I took a picture of the wall of frames and uploaded it to my Canva app then uploaded the art mages and made a mockup of the gallery wall. That way I could drop images in different frames.
What pulled all the different styles of art together were the similar color palette and tone of the artwork. I wanted it to be a green heavy gallery wall since my living room is predominately green.
The mix of impressionist, sketches, and more modern pieces like the green Matisse and black and white Picasso made it feel fun and eclectic!
The Etsy set of digital prints came with a painting of a man staring…which gave me the creeps!! It reminded me of the Van Gogh self-portrait my artist Father had hanging in our house when I was little that I still remember because it scared me!!
So I found a painting of a woman that looked nice. Most of the paintings I ended up using were from the Etsy set I bought.
Where to Print Artwork
There are quite a few options out there to have your larger prints made that aren’t crazy expensive.
One thing you want to make sure of is that you can have matte prints made, a glossy print won’t give you the look you are going for with a gallery wall like this one.
MPix is one option. They have so many sizes of prints available too. Sign up for their emails because once I did they were sending promo codes for % off your order.
But for those of you with a Costco membership, as I do, you can order prints through them. They have partnered with Shutterfly and Costco members get 51% off the order and free shipping.
So all of my prints cost around $80. Pretty good considering most of the prints were larger sizes.
Here is a neat trick for giving your printed artwork a textured oil painting look! Grab a bottle of matte Mod Podge and a paintbrush and “paint” the brush strokes of the print. I have also heard that using art gesso works in a similar way.
Note: check an inconspicuous spot first, because the Mod Podge might lift the ink depending on how they were printed.
Finished Gallery Wall Tour
Let me show you the finished gallery wall. I really love how it came out! It definitely adds a “wow” factor to my small living room and really changed the entire vibe of the space!
The gallery wall runs the length of my sectional, here you can see the 3 types of frames that I used with the one lone two-tone frame.
The center of the gallery wall was a fun black and white square Picasso art poster. I like the contrast between the modern art of Picasso next to the vintage flower paintings.
One thing I forgot to mention, I removed the glass and acrylic fronts to all of the frames. First, it eliminated the glare (which makes it impossible to photograph!!) and it also made it look more like paintings that were hung.
The other more modern-looking frame is the green Matisse cutout. The deep forest green is so rich.
The gallery wall really pulled the living room together. I pulled the colors from the print of the lady with the basket on her head and changed out a couple of the pillow covers.
To see the rest of my living room styling for Spring visit my Spring Home Tour to see how it all came together.
Free Downloadable Digital Art Prints
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