This post was done in partnership with Minted by the opinions are my own.
I often get asked on Instagram or via email how I decide what to hang on my walls, where to hang it, and where I find it. So I thought today I would share some of my favorite ways to decorate and style our walls, the cardinal rule I follow, and where I source some of my favorite things to include on our walls.
First, my cardinal rule to ask before I hang anything on my wall: Does this have some meaning to me, or am I hanging it just to fill empty space? If the answer is no, the item does not have personal meaning — meaning it isn’t a family photo, art that I love, a souvenir or something that reminds me of a place or time I loved, or a photo I took myself or a painting made by one of my children, etc — then I don’t hang it on my wall. I am not a fan of finding some generic piece of art or some sort of wall hanging that doesn’t speak to me just to fill empty space. Everything you use to decorate your home should be done with intention. There should be a reason you want to include it and it should make you feel something. If it doesn’t, get it out of your house. You don’t need it. It is just clutter.
Does The Item Have Meaning To Me?
If you are displaying a family photo then the answer is probably yes. But if you are hanging an object, sign, or piece of art then you may realize you aren’t connected to the item you were planning to hang. I like to hang souvenirs, nods to places we’ve lived or visited, art someone I love has made, or photographs that have meaning to me. The art above was taken by strangers and ordered on Minted, but each depicts an aspect of California: a painting of the Pacific Coast Highway, palm trees (5 of them which reminds me of the five of us in LA), and bougainvillea. Since California is where our first home was, where we were married, where our kids were born and raised for the first few years of their lives, and will always feel like a home to us — these photographs have special meaning to me. Eventually this room will have a sofa and a long floating shelf across the entire wall just a little below the ceiling with bookshelves on each side of the sofa. But for now this is the more grown-up side of a lounge room, where there is a lot of reading and family play.
For the items above, I wanted to choose larger sizes and hang them together. They were almost graphic scale. When you are hanging large pieces you need fewer of them to make an impact, but you should choose a large wall and let them be the focal point. Hanging large scale pieces in a small room or on a small wall can feel overwhelming. But on a bigger wall they can be the perfect pairing.
On a smaller wall I like to do more of a mix-and-match gallery wall. Either mixing art with objects or different color frames or different shapes and sizes adds interest. You can do it in small doses without it looking too busy, like the photo of one corner I did below. I know some people are “over” gallery walls, but I think they can still feel fresh depending on the way you do them. If I mix and match pieces I like to hang them in an interesting way like I did below. If I am hanging only photos with matching frames I like to make them even more uniform by keeping them straight and in line, which I think is a more modern way to do a gallery wall. I have family photos going up our stairs and I mixed the sizes and types of frames, but since they go up along the angled wall I think they are cohesive and still interesting. As long as you are choosing family photos or art and pieces you love that’s all that really matters.
Where I Print, Frame, and Buy What I Hang
When I’m printing larger photos that I want to be at a high quality, I often choose Artifact Uprising. I also love their frames if I’m looking for something unique, like the three photos of my boys in the art rail frames above. But when I’m hanging photos in more basic frames I usually buy them at Michael’s. The white frames in the top photo are all from there and linked here. When I’m looking for unique and meaningful art or prints I go to Minted.
Wall hanging hack: when hanging things in frames, it is way easier to use these strips rather than using nails or other methods that leave holes. Not only do you avoid the holes in your walls, but the strips keep your frames straight so you aren’t constantly straightening frames or getting annoyed by crooked gallery walls. I find them the cheapest here.
PS – You can find more about how I finally got our family photos displayed here.
What is your favorite way to display photos and art? Do you have any tried and true sources or styles?
Room sources: Floor Lamp: Lamps Plus // Floor Cusions/Couch: Nugget Comfort // Throw Pillows: Target & IKEA // Paint Color: Dior Grey by Benjamin Moore & Grey Owl by Benjamin Moore // White Frames: Michaels // Prints: Artifact Uprising // Chicago + Columbus Prints: Brim Papery // CA string art: Ramble and Roost