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Creating a Family Picture Wall — Step 1: The Placement

I have been wanting to make a Family Picture Wall for awhile now.

I loved Shelley’s colorful wall that she unveiled last year.

Over Thanksgiving we were able to book some time with my very-talented sister Wendy for a family photo shoot. I was so excited!! I wanted to get some really colorful family shots. My oldest son is a senior (where did the time go???) and I wanted to get a shot of the whole family before he left for college. So the day after thanksgiving we met at a deserted parking garage for some urban/suburban family shots.

I know I mentioned HP’s new Photo Creations free software program. I used it to create some large photo prints to use in the gallery wall that I am planning. The software is free to download. And you can make all sorts of great photo projects.

I have a place in my front hallway that I want to put this Family Picture Project:

I ordered a bunch of different sized prints from the photo shoot using the HP software. I also ordered them in Black and White for a photo project I am working on in my master bedroom redo.

And I ordered these whimsical unfinished frames for the project from Cut It Out. Amazing frames and amazing prices.

This is where I need your help….

  • Should I paint the frames all one color?

  • Or different shades of the same color?

  • And if so — aqua or grey??

  • Or should I paint them all white?

  • Or should I stencil them all in different geometric patterns in the same color scheme?

So many decisions!!!

I am so excited about this project.

I also ordered some things using HP’s free software — a unique mousepad, some luggage tags for us when we travel and a little keychain. So fun!!

And speaking of HP’s Project Getaway, the giveaway for the $199 HP Envy Printer has been extended. So you still have time to enter to win!! All you have to do is download the free software and create something. No purchase is necessary. Just save the item you made and leave a link to your Flickr, Instagram or Twitpic picture in the comments . You can enter the contest here. And when you are over at the HP Facebook page, you can enter to win a family vacaton worth $6,000. So awesome!!

Here are a few other Gallery Walls that I really love and some ideas on how to make one for YOUR home:

Photo Wall In Living Room @ Tara Whitney

Picture Placement Ideas @ SAS Interiors

Family Picture Wall up the Stairs @ Kasey Buick

Family Gallery Wall @ House of Smiths

Many Different Picture Placement Ideas @ Brenda Knight Photography

Middle Aligned Photo Wall @ Martha Stewart

Stairway Gallery @ The Modern Cottage

Chair Backs Gallery Wall @ All Things Thrifty

Modern Black and White Gallery Wall @ Brooklyn Limestone

Will you give me your opinion on what I should do with my Photo Wall Frames? I would appreciate it so much!


PS — And speaking of my sister Wenderful, she is coming by next week to share some great ideas for displaying photos in our homes. I’m so excited!!

Thanks to HP for sparking this conversation on creating a family picture wall. This post is sponsored by HP – but all opinions are 100% mine.


  1. There’s certainly a great deal to find out about this issue. I love all the points you made.
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  2. love the idea of painting the frames various shades of same color

  3. Can’t wait to see what you come up with! It will be beautiful, I know. :) Look up Organic Bloom or OB frames on pinterest- there are some great ideas for display with these types of frames there! Most of the displays show them painted different colors. I like the frames & sizes you’ve selected in your grouping. As always- you’re an inspiration, Jen!!

  4. Hi, I’m thinking of ordering these frames myself. I notice they do not ship with glass. Are you planning on adding glass to the frames or keep them open? If so where did you find the glass for the frames?

    Thank you,

  5. I think you should stencil them using different shades of aqua!! I L.O.V.E. aqua, and I L.O.V.E. your blog!!!!

  6. I’ve been wanting to do this for so long, so many great ideas on here, thanks for posting! Hmmm, I tend to think that white or black frames bring out the best in pictures. But you are so much craftier than I am, so I’m sure whatever you decide to do will look amazing. I guess I would say white or gray!

  7. What an amazing post! I have one gallery wall I’ve put together and want to do more. I l love how you provided the picture layouts. I’m saving this post for sure – great info!

  8. I love your frames. I’m going to check out that website! I kinda like the idea of just doing a solid color frame, with no pattern… But I’m sure whatever you do will look amazing

  9. Now I want to make a picture wall too!! :) I vote for painting the frames one color. Seems like the ones you liked in your little roundup mostly had one color frame so maybe deep down that is what you like too!

  10. I love picture walls and all the possibilties. My vote is to keep the frames the same color since the pics are so colorful and the frames are all different shapes. White is always classic. If you’re looking for a little punch of color, go for it! I don’t think you can go wrong. Have fun! Keep us posted.

  11. Thanks for the inpiration Jen! I’m on the wrap up of my family room makeover and pictures are next!

  12. You must have read my mind. I was going to google layouts for wall pictures today! How ironic! Glad you saved me the trouble!

  13. LOVE these photo walls…can’t wait to see how yours turns out and I am wanting to make one myself SO badly now!

  14. Beautiful pictures, Jen! I can’t wait to see how the wall turns out. And of course, thanks for sharing my helpful hints on picture placement. xo Jenna

  15. HighDesertGal says:

    I love your ideas. My house is full of windows and my suitable wall get direct west evening sun from a window I can’t shade, though it does have a UV filter on it.
    Is there any way I can make a picture wall that wouldn’t be killed by the sun?
    I need help!

  16. your family pictures are so beautiful!!

  17. I adore the colorful family photo! So far I’ve been too timid to do color for my family portraits, but this was inspirational.

    I vote for geometric patterns in the same color scheme, especially since the photos themselves are so colorful.

  18. I think all aqua would fit the personality of the pictures and your home. Your sis did an amazing job!!! I can’t wait to read her post!

  19. I like the idea of leaving them or painting them all white, that way the pictures really shine and are the stars on the wall. They are so colorful and beautiful already, don’t make them compete for the attention:)

  20. My vote is that you should paint them aqua and then white, and then distress them so that a little bit of the aqua shows through. I think that would really pop on your grey walls (your wall are grey, right?)

    • I love that idea Kim! And yes, the walls are grey. I think that would be so pretty!!

      Thanks for the suggestion!


  21. I have the same frames and I’m about to paint them. I knew the color foundation I wanted, but not sure the exact colors. I went to my color inspiration board on pinterest to make a decision. My husband and I decided together to do something like this: http://pinterest.com/pin/199776933439963920/
    I also have some old, simple frames my mom found I’m going to add to them.

  22. What amazingly wondeful pictures!! Lucky to have such a talented sister! If you’re planning on leaving the painted circle … which I LOVE … I would paint the frames aqua and white … I know, not one of your options, sorry! The photos with more of a blue background, I would do white, and the ones with more of a white edged background, I’d do aqua! When you look at the picture of your hallway, the color that catches my eye is the Valentine’s heart in the kitchen. The pictures will add amazing color, but I think adding the white and aqua will make them pop even more! It will definitely be a feature space! Good luck with what you decide … can’t wait to see the final reveal!
    PS … Search Pinterest for using wax paper to make the floor arrangement easily transfered to the wall!! :)

  23. I think grey or white chalk paint would be awesome! The pictures themselves already have so much beautiful color to them you don’t want to take away from that. But I know whatever you do will be amazing!

  24. I love chalk paint!! If you paint them with chalk paint you can write the date, location or just a great moment you want to share about the occasion pictured. To add color you can use colored chalk.

  25. I am mentally working on a gallery wall as well. Thanks for sharing where you found your frames! That is the part I’ve been struggling with and Cut it Out is perfect!

    I am planning on painting all my frames white with the exception of one or two aqua for a little oomph.

  26. I would use white. The colored photos are so bright and cheerful and colored frames might take away from them. Gorgeous photos – can’t wait to see the finished project!

  27. Love them!! I vote for Aqua but different shades :)

  28. Those frames are so fun! I love the bright colors you used in your family photos. I think that painting all of the frames in a more neutral color like gray or white would allow the vivid colors in the photography POP! I can’t wait to see what you decide. I’m sure it will be gorgeous! XO

  29. I LOVE gallery walls! We just finished two in our house and love them, but now we’re planning to move in the next year and will have to take it down and redo it in the next house, which is a completely different space. Love your frames, and all your painting ideas are good! I personally think something that contrasts the wall color would look best – aqua, white, or a mix of the two. Just don’t make them too showy or it will take the focus off the photo.

  30. I think you should paint them all white.
    A different color, or geometric patterns would take away from your photos.
    I have been working on a few gallery walls of my own…

  31. I think you should paint them all white.
    A different color, or geometric patterns would take away from your photos.
    I have been working on a few gallery walls of my own…

  32. I think patterns will distract from your photos. Thanks for all the gallery wall links – going to pin a bunch now!

  33. I vote for teal and silver OR teal and white. I like to have different color frames. :) Here’s the photo collage in my living room: http://www.askannamoseley.com/2012/01/home-goals-for-2012.html


  34. Definitely all grey! You want the photographs to be what catches your attention and the gorgeous colorful pictures you had taken will be plenty color for that “pop”.

  35. I love wall collages, especially when it’s filled with meaningful family photo’s. Your pictures look beautiful.
    I am more traditional with my wall collage-where mostof my photos are B&W while I have some fun art work framed to break up the B&W look. I love the idea of shades of one color for your frames…I think your colored pictures are the showcase.

    Looking forward to what you come up with!

  36. I saw a similar idea from The Organic Bloom and have been wanting to replicate it in my home.

    The vibrant colors are so appealing to me!

  37. I noticed you have a thermostat on the wall you are going to hang the pictures. I saw on Pinterest the other day where they had put a frame around a thermostat and I thought you could do that and it would incorporate it. Might be easier then trying to fight it:)

  38. Those frames are awesome! I need to check them out because all the other ones I’ve seen are way too expensive for me to justify buying enough for a photo wall! I think the a few different shades of aqua would be really pretty…and maybe throw in a few different stencils just for fun:)

  39. Wow, some great ideas!! This is so helpful because we recently bought our first home, and coming from an apartment, I was ready to get in here and paint the walls and decorate! But once we got in here, I was at a loss as to HOW to decorate, I couldn’t even decide where to hang my pictures. So this will be really helpful for me! =) Thanks for this post! Love your site! Gonna add your button to The Latest Find Faves!!

  40. LOVE those cool frames. Y’all are such a photogenic family. :) It’s hard to tell b/c you can’t see the rest of the hallway, but maybe it could use a nice pop of color? Maybe do a few frames in aqua and some in gray if you are leaning towards the neutral look. You’re so great at these things. I know whatever you come up with will be fabulous!

  41. I love your frames. I’ve been drooling over Organic Bloom frames and it’s nice to know there’s an affordable version. :)

  42. Hello Jenn,
    First, your new family photos are amazing, you will treasure them year after year. I think that you should paint your photo wall frames white.
    Smiles, Paula

  43. Wow I love your ideas, but I have no clue. I kind of like the idea made in the other comment about different shades of aqua on your grey wall! That would be pretty stunning! Good luck though deciding on something.


  44. Love the shape of those frames! I would be afraid of a pattern drawing attention away from the shape and from your treasured photos. I think that different shades of the aqua against your grey wall would be gorgeous…but I know whatever you do will be fantastic!


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