• Dunsmuir Hardware

Four Tips to Design a Budget-Friendly Curated Gallery Wall

DIY blogger confession time… although I’ve been at this DIY blogger thing for over five and a half years, I’ve never done a gallery wall. They looked too tedious and expensive.




Finally, last summer I decided I was going to take the plunge and started collecting thrift store and garage sale photo frames/decor to create a curated, upscale-chic gallery wall for my foyer.

I’m finally done! Woo!

I learned a few tricks and tips along the way that I want to share with you. This project cost me under $70, and that includes the supplies I got at True Value AND all the stuff on the wall.


Tip 1: Pick a décor palette and stick to it when thrifting/shopping, and don’t be afraid of some spray paint if you love the frame and hate the color. For my wall, I knew I wanted metallic colors, and mirrors, plus black and white. I ended up planning for 11 items on my wall, but I bought about 15 and used 9. Odd numbers work best, but always buy a smidge more than you’ll think you’ll use.


When choosing items for your décor wall, don’t just focus on rectangular frames. Look for oval or square, and also look for interesting pieces like letters, numbers, symbols, or mirrors (or antlers!) that can help tie it all together.

DIY Time: The super large frame was an icky oak color, but some Rustoleum gloss spray paint in white did the trick. To make this circa 1980’s frame even nicer, I used some Scotch Painter’s Tape and my MOST FAVE Krylon Gold Leafing Pen to spruce up the corners. I simply measured 2-inches both ways on each corner and painted away.


Tip 2: I was totally in love with the idea of a non-photo gallery wall. I wanted “art” prints that looked custom but didn’t cost me a fortune. To achieve this look for my gallery wall, I used wrapping paper in my color palette to create pieces of art.

Inexpensive things like scrapbook paper, fabric remnants, or even magazine/book pages can become an art.


I also used a foil print gift bag to create the large foil print that is the anchor of the whole wall.


Tip 3: The most intimidating part of a gallery wall is hanging up the first frame, I promise. So, hang up your feature/largest piece in the area you want, and then go from there. I did just that, and then centered the mirror, and it all kind of fell into place piece by piece. There are other methods that are way more exact than my eyeball method, but I don’t like to overcomplicate things.


Tip 4: This tip goes hand in hand with tip 3, but my hanging trick is to use a pushpin to momentarily gauge a good position on the wall. Then, I’ll use Command Picture Hooks (and for lighter frames, Command Picture Mounting Strips) to mount it in the exact spot that the pinhole was. This means no nail holes to patch up and no bruised fingers!


I hope these simple DIY tips will help you feel inspired to tackle a gallery wall in your home. Thrift shops and garage sales are FAB places to find unique frames, plus you’ll save money that you can use on spray paint and other supplies at your local True Value.


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