Joey and my first home of our own was a rental, and money was always tight in that season of our lives. We wished it away because our house was small and we felt like we could never make it our own. We waited and wished away those 3 years. It was always, “When we get a house…”
“When we get a house” finally came after 3 years, and one of the things I was most excited for was to decorate it and make it our own. Our first home was a collection of garage sale finds and hand-me-downs, which we were grateful for at the time, but it never felt like “ours”, and I was determined that this one would.
As soon as I saw the big, red accent wall and we knew that this house would be ours, my wheels started turning about what I would put on it. Then one day we rounded a corner at Lowe’s, and I saw this big clock with Roman Numerals and it was perfect.
Every once in awhile, I see something and I’m weirdly decisive. “THAT’S IT. Joey, I want that clock for the red wall.” He tried to talk me out of it. “Well, did you see this one? Do you like any of these?” “Nope, that’s the one.” I could just see it on the red wall, surrounded by little things that made this house start to feel like our home.
We got the clock and I started scowering Pinterest for gallery wall inspiration. I made a whole board for it that you can check out here.
While we were having fun, we still weren’t exactly loaded, so I had to do this without spending an arm and a leg. I’ve since done a few more gallery walls around our home, but I always get compliments on this one.
10 Tips to Design Your Own DIY Gallery Wall On a Budget:
1) Know your color scheme.
I knew I wanted pops of white, teal, coral, yellow, and pinks which we’ve incorporated throughout our living space. The red wall is our accent wall and the surrounding walls are an off white color that goes into the kitchen and a mauve color that goes into the living space.
2) Know your style/theme, and “feel”.
I like the rustic/farmhouse feel, but you don’t have to go that way if that isn’t your style!
You could easily do:
- A clean cut theme with sharp contrast
- Shabby Chic
- And so much more!
By “know your feel”, I mean the actual feel you’re going for. Is it cozy? Is it homey? Is it a sense of togetherness? Do you want elements of faith throughout? A family theme? What tone in your home is important to you that you want to come through in how your space looks?
To me, I wanted to go for a cozy, homey theme with a sense of togetherness that emphasized kindness, joy, love, encouragement, laughter, and faith.
3) Aim for balance over perfect symmetry.
By balance I mean this: if you have one on one side, have one on the other – unless asymmetry is the look you’re going for!
I wanted mine to feel balanced, so I tried to make one side similar to the other. If I had a flower on one side, I put one on the other. If I had a big piece on one corner, I did one on the adjacent corner. I tried to make the layout on each side feel similar and balanced; not a mirror image.
4) Choose a focal point and/or pattern.
Don’t lock yourself in here! I loved the clock as my focal point because it was big and easy to build off of. If you don’t want a focal point, know what you want your pattern to look like. Remember balance over perfect symmetry.
5) “Shop” for inspiration – then make it your own!
You can start on my Wall Design board! I created this board for inspiration before I designed my gallery wall. Or make your own board to get an idea of what you like!
This post has some awesome ideas, too:
6) Shop at home first.
Money saving tip #1: Shop at home first! Doesn’t everybody have picture frames in the garage or the basement they aren’t using? Framed quotes that didn’t fit anywhere so it got shoved in a box somewhere until the next garage sale that never came?
Go through everything you have and even consider re-locating things that are already in use if you don’t love how they’re placed.
Don’t be afraid to re-purpose something! Sand it down and paint it; take a photo out of a frame you don’t like.
Think outside the box about what could be framed or hung on a wall. You could hang flowers, words, arrows, pom poms, wreaths, banners, paintings, shapes; nothing is off limits!
Think outside of simple pictures for frames, too. We recently did smaller gallery walls in Sophia and Ella’s bedroom where I spray-painted basic frames bright colors and framed cute craft paper. I also printed some cute quotes on Shutterfly to frame. Some other cool ideas to frame could be old family recipes, sheet music/old hymnal pages (especially of a sentimental song), your wedding vows, love letters, quotes/Bible verses, kid’s art; get creative and have fun with it!
7) Don’t be afraid of dimension and character.
Aim for a mix of words, quotes, shapes, and photos. There is so much room for creativity with gallery walls! One of the reasons I love them is because it was so easy to make it my own. I loved the dimension the flowers and words created. It was like it made it come to life!
8) Print your own photos.
Money saving tip #2: Print your own photos! I have loved printing from Shutterfly because they seem to always have some kind of promotion going on! Prints start at pennies – we’re talking $.09-$0.18 each.
While it can get a little more pricey, Personalization Mall also has some awesome products! I’ve made several things on there, even for gifts, and have always been very happy with the quality. This site is awesome for unique, one-of-a-kind products.
I love that the photos on this wall go all the way back to our dating days, so the whole wall seems to know our story well, and tell it to all our friends and family. Let your wall tell a story.
9) Know how to shop.
Money saving tip #3: Get your items from a variety of places! If you have a theme and a color scheme in mind, you can find items to fit it almost anywhere. This was one of the biggest ways I saved money doing ours.
Here is the breakdown of where our items came from:
Items we received as gifts: Wooden frame (Joey & baby Soph) was handmade; White tree art was personalized from a shop in Gatlinburg.
Already had: Collage frame; live, laugh, love frame (I think both came from Walmart several years ago).
Walmart: All the 4×6 black frames; “family” word; “Love is…” canvas.
Dollar General: Floral canvas in upper right corner.
Hobby Lobby: Floral picture on far left; arrow; white flowers; “Love is spoken here” sign; “Home is wherever I am with you”; “Blessed” word.
Printed photos: Shutterfly & Walmart.
I don’t have any in this particular wall, but I have decor items from Dollar Tree, garage sale, Amazon, and Michael’s, too. Design can be pricey; but getting items from a variety of places helps! The trick is differentiating what looks cheap and what doesn’t. You can find nice things almost anywhere at a good price if you’re willing to dig a little deeper.
10) Lay it out on the ground and take pictures of it.
Once you have designed your wall, have a style you like, and have your items, it’s time for the fun part: to finally hang it!
I probably didn’t do this the way that’s technically “correct”; but I thought the easiest way was to lay it out on the ground.
I liked to start from the focal point and build out. Move things around. Play with the feel of it. Measure distances in between if you want to, or just wing it like I did.
Then once it feels right, take pictures and hang that bad boy!
That’s it! I hope this helped you make your perfect DIY gallery wall!