Photo by Caitlin Abrams
Paperista's gallery wall, made by Bean + Ro
A) Balance graphic wallpaper with monochromatic frames.
B) A clear acrylic frame allows more of the wallpaper to shine through.
C) Incorporate unusual architectural touches into the design.
D) Include elements that pique interest and make people want to know more.
E) Leave eight inches between the base of the frame and the top of the furniture.
F) Lay your work on the floor to try a few setups before you begin.
Given the volume of photos we snap these days, selecting the few worthy of frames can be daunting. Arranging them on the wall can be downright paralyzing. Creating a gallery wall had been on homeowner Antoinette Golinghorst’s to-do list for years, but it wasn’t until she teamed with Bean + Ro, the St. Louis Park custom frame and gift store, that it became reality. The frame shop recently found a niche designing and installing gallery walls, says Katie Miller, who is co-owner with Elissa Kadue, a photographer, whose Little Bean Photography specializes in child and family portraits.
Every space is different, but Miller suggests starting with a couple of anchors to build around. “I like to have three things that are different. If you have mostly black and white images, add a colorful piece of art. If all the items are colorful, keep the frames simple, then throw in one that’s vintage or ornate. The wall should read as a whole, with three places the eye can go.”
Golinghorst—better known by her maiden name, Antoinette Ramos, to clients of her custom stationery business Paperista—wanted a gallery wall on the graphic black and white wallpaper in the front hall of her Hopkins home. She started with a vintage gold frame, and black and white photos of the grandparents—both hers and her husband Lance’s. She had them printed on canvases and digitally touched up to make them look cohesive.
Golinghorst’s wall includes a wedding photo and a shot of her nearly 1-year-old twins Robert and Luke. They mixed in a painting and a model of the Golden Gate Bridge—special since San Francisco is Golinghorst’s hometown, and where she and Lance got married. Her gallery wall is now complete, but it will never really be finished as she adds to it with new memories.
MORE TIPS FROM THE PROS
1. Start with two or three anchors; 16-by-20 inches is a great size (anything smaller than 5-by-7 inches is difficult to see). You can build in around the anchors over time without the wall looking unfinished.
2. Placing images three to four inches apart is optimal. Another way to gauge? Hold a fist between frames.
3. Arrange with a mix of shapes and sizes.
4. Use candid photos—those are the ones that tell the family story.
5. If you do go with several similar photos, vary the frames. If the photos are a mix of color and black and white, create uniformity with frames.
6. Break the rules—throw in one vintage or eye-catching frame for a point of interest.
7. Don’t stop with photos and art. Jewelry, memorabilia, a baby dress—just about anything that fits on a desk can be framed, says Katie Miller of Bean + Ro.