May 4, 2012 - Design Steps, Open House    17 Comments

Black and White Gallery Wall

Last week I posted about my Summer Chalkboard and I figured you’d all like to see where I hung it!  This is my new entry layout with my black and white summer gallery wall.

How to Lay Out a Gallery Wall


This layout cost me exactly $3.19.  Here is how it all went down.  I started by gathering any and every frame that I had that was black.  After rearanging another part of my house, I realized I also had this black little chest that I added to the pile.  I started working on the arrangement and weeding out the frames I didn’t have room for (there were a lot, I was willing to take art out of old frames from years ago and put my own photos in them but they were too big in the end).


  • Start by removing everything from the space
  • Check your space limitations including door openings
  • Arrange the largest items first
  • Begin to layer up from items on the ground
  • Work around outlets and switches
  • Find a finished height and carry that line across the gallery (I made mine just below the height of the columns and front door)
  • Attach everything to the wall for a formal look, or leave things leaning for a casual look (my chalkboard is really heavy, so I attached it to the wall so it wouldn’t slip and fall on the little guy)
  • Check door to make sure it can open all the way
  • How to Lay Out a Gallery Wall


To add that extra touch of pulled together, fill in the extra spaces with accessories.  In my case, I had a little bit of extra space between the mirror and the black chest.  I layered a few books, a sea shell sculpture and a fish platter to brighten up the space and repeat my color scheme.  Again, just look around your house and see what works with your color palette and then theme.

How to Layout a Gallery Wall

OK, it looks great, but how did you do this for less than $4?  I dug it all up from around my house.  Once I figured out a color scheme, I was surprised how many items we had accumulated over the years with black frames.  The mirror was gold but I had spray painted it for another project (that failed) a few months back.  The chalkboard was blank so I made up a Summer design and got to work (to read my tutorial for Chalk Board Art click HERE).  The frames had old photos of our family in them and were often oriented the wrong way.  No worries, I just printed off new ones from my computer except for the largest photo which I printed at Costco for, you guessed it, $3.19.  I honestly surprised myself at how much black and white stuff that I had, and tried to work in a “Summer” theme where I could in photos and accessories.

How to Lay Out a Gallery Wall


I have seen a lot of pins on Pinterest of “How To’s” for gallery walls.  Most include very rigid layouts and involve purchasing matching frames.  Others sell kits where once opened, all the frames are tiny like you are decorating a doll house.Here are a few tips for creating your own wall and

not spending much if anything:

  • Gather what you have
  • Paint frames to match
  • Black and White photos are the easiest way to get started (no worrying “does his shirt match the house in that pic?”)
  • Don’t be afraid to mix and match large and small scale
  • Put your gallery up in a defined space (a small space fills up and looks the best for a beginner)
So go create a masterpiece with stuff you already have!


  • this turned out beautiful! Love the chalk board, love all the black frames. I buy frames at goodwill and second hand stores and spray paint them all the same color… not bad for 50 cents a frame!

  • Love your stuff. So creative.

  • You did a fabulous job, it really fills in the space well without looking like clutter. Easy to follow instructions. Now I have to go check out the Chalk Art post and pin this! Thanks for sharing.

  • Love this! Using what you have is icing on the cake. I just love your chalkboard art in combination with your photos. Well done!

  • Black and white is so classic and pretty. You’re entry is great! I love your summer chalkboard…need to click the link to learn more about it still. Found you via Funky Junk Interiors!

  • Hi I found you through Funky Junk’s party. I love how you showed the wall changing with each addition. Very cool effect and who doesn’t love a chalkboard. A huge one is fantastic! I hope you’ll come on over and visit Quirky Vistas sometime and see what I’m up to as well!

  • I was blogging early this morning and saw your post on gallery wall with the chalkboard art. I loved it! I was instantly inspired to try the chalk board art idea and read your tutorial. It is 11:00 pm and I just finished my first chalk board art sign. Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas!

    • Lucy, yours looks amazing! I just pinned it.

  • I love the size of the chalkboard. So creative!

  • I love the way your wall turned out and your clear and helpful presentation of the process. It looks great with the bonus you have shown others what can be done for little to no $$ spent.

  • I think this is my favorite gallery wall ever. And you make it sound so easy. I have a similar space and I couldn’t get it right… I will try again now that you inspired me! Thx for sharing!

  • Love all the black & white…and the chalkboard art is fantastic!

  • Looks fantastic and great documentary of each step!

  • That really came out nice…perfect wall to do and excellent composition! I am new to this blog and really love your work!

  • Love the crisp arrangement, fabulous!

    Tanya :)

  • looking good

  • nice post

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