Here’s a project we started last summer and I’ve delayed blogging about because it’s still kind of a work-in-progress. To fill the big, blank wall above the couch in our living room, Jamie and I took on the daunting task of hanging a frame gallery. Quite the task, indeed.
After researching several approaches and overcoming my fear of “not getting it right,” Jamie and I basically devised our own method of creating a unique frame arrangement. As we all know, there’s more than one way to
skin a cat create a frame gallery and this is what worked for us. First, we started off by choosing the type of frame and quickly landed on Ikea’s Ribba frames for the obvious reasons — inexpensive, nice-looking, matte included. It’s all good.
Next, we determined the style of our arrangement. Now this can go in a hundred different directions depending on your taste, so I suggest browsing the internet to figure out what you like best. My favorite frame galleries included some cohesive element (color, size, type of art, etc.) and an unsymmetrical yet balanced layout. Since I knew I wanted to use different types of art (prints and photos) and have mixed frame sizes, we chose the frame color (dark brown) as our cohesive element. Now came figuring out the “unsymmetrical yet balanced layout” part.
This is where Photoshop comes in handy, but I’m sure there are other programs that can accomplish this same task. We used the Ikea website to find the dimensions of all the Ribba frames available in the color we wanted, then used Photoshop to create a series of rectangles matching the dimensions listed. Jamie sized a background layer proportional to the big, blank wall above the couch and from there it was a matter of playing around with the rectangles to figure out an arrangement we liked. We started with a large-ish frame in the center and fanned out from there, keeping the frames evenly spaced a couple inches from each other on all sides for a neat, orderly look. Before we knew it, we had ourselves the unsymmetrical yet balanced layout we always wanted.
After determining how many of each frame size were needed, off to Ikea we went, blissfully unaware of the tragedy about to befall us. The nearest Ikea is about 45 minutes from our house, which isn’t awful but clearly not the easiest trip to make. So we were crushed when they didn’t have enough of the smaller, dark brown “walnut effect” frames to complete our layout. We bought what was available (including a display frame) and headed home, hoping they would have more in stock on the next Ikea trip…to be continued.
In the meantime we proceeded with our frame gallery as planned. Before making any holes in the wall, we used old wrapping paper to cut rectangles the same size as the frames and taped them up with painters’ tape according to our layout. This gave us a life-size preview of how our layout would look on the wall before committing to the hammer and nails. We liked what we saw, so Jamie got to hanging; he measured the point where the hanging hardware was located on the back of each frame, marked that spot on the paper rectangle, and tapped a nail into the wall there. The paper was taken down, the frames were hung, and voila — it’s a frame gallery!
If you have a keen eye, you may have noticed some of the smaller frames on the outer edges of the original layout aren’t actually up on the wall. That’s because after multiple trips to Ikea, we were never able to find those sizes in the walnut effect color and now Ikea has officially discontinued the walnut effect. Curses! Sometimes it’s a love-hate relationship with Ikea. But regardless we are happy with the core of our original layout and don’t mind our slightly smaller gallery as-is.
We’re still searching for the right pieces to fill our frames, which has proven to be the most difficult part of this project. I’m guessing many folks build frame galleries based on the art they already have, which makes perfect sense, but we didn’t have much in the way of an art collection to begin with so we’re basically starting from scratch. Like I said, work-in-progress!
Know any good sources for prints, posters, and whatnot (besides Etsy, of course)? Please leave it in the comments!