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I can’t believe it’s summer break already!  It feels like we were just blogging about Easter. 🐣 We have a lot of projects up our sleeves we’ll be working on during summer and can’t wait to share them with you!  What do you have planned for the summer?  Any getaways planned?  Maybe a stay-cation?  Or maybe keeping it low key and relaxed?  

Have you perused Pinterest lately and seen the vast array of interesting gallery walls?  Does it make you stop in your tracks and get overwhelmed?  You want to hang a gallery wall but it just seems a bit intimidating?  Well, today we’d like to share with you our tried and true method for hanging a gallery wall the EASY way!

This wall originally had a beautiful photograph printed on canvas hanging over the sectional.  Although it’s a beautiful picture the wall just seemed to be lacking that wow factor.  It was kinda boring 😫 (this here emoji is supposed to be a yawn. 😉)  My Mom had been wanting to change the decor on this wall for some time but wasn’t completely sure what she wanted to do.  She first bought a couple of large elements to hang on the wall with the existing canvas print but didn’t like the way it would look.  We then thought about removing the large canvas print entirely and relocating it to a different spot in the home so we could create a gallery wall above the sectional.

Don’t you worry, the canvas print has found a new home.  It’s perfect above the stairs.  (If you’re really attentive to detail you noticed that this is actually a different picture than the canvas print that was hanging above the couch.  😮  She has a print with Fall color tones and one with Summer tones that are rotated with the seasons.  When you have an amazing photographer in the family and you can’t make a decision on which print to hang, you buy a few prints so you have options. 😂  If you’re interested in seeing these prints closer or want one for your home, you can take a look here.

First we took some measurements of the wall.  We then masked off the desired space out on the floor so we could easily move and reposition the different frames and decor items easily.  This is an easy way to visualize how the items will all look together. First we started with a variety of different pieces of art and the large decor items she’d purchased but we just weren’t liking the way it was looking.  It didn’t seem to work well together.  

Then I suggested that she create a gallery wall of all the old family homes.  This amazing collection of family homes had once hung in my parents previous home, but upon moving they never made it out of the boxes.  She had intended to hang them in the basement when it gets finished.  I encouraged her to bring the prints up so we could see how they’d look. We ultimately decided that these pictures are so amazing that they need to be hung and admired now.  No waiting for the basement to get finished.  

At this point we were able to lay all the pictures out on the floor and arrange them in the allotted space.  

With the given amount of space she decided to have the bottom row of pictures on a level line.  As the pictures would near the ceiling we thought it looked best having more height in the center of the gallery and gradually pictures would hang a little lower out towards the sides.

Um…take a look at this AMAZING old window my Mom found on the side of the road!  We were coming home from a vacation at a cabin near Tabiona, Utah when we noticed a yard sale sign and thought we would take a look. We didn’t find anything of interest, but down the road a bit was a pile of stuff and there were 2 old windows with a sign that said FREE. Of course she didn’t know what she’d do with it at the time, but it was too beautiful to leave it there!  Years later, it’s now finally found a place on this gallery wall and it’s very fitting to be surrounded with images of the old homes of our ancestors.

Once you have decided on the layout simply trace each frame and/or piece of decor items on butcher paper. If you don’t have access to a roll of that you can tape pieces of paper together so they’re large enough to trace your templates on.  Cut each template to size, label them with what picture it is for and mark where the hook(s) are for hanging.

This is where you can start to see it all come together.  You’ve visualized it all laid out on the floor, but now you’re going to start to see it come together on your wall.  To start we masked off a level line a couple inches above the couch to give us our starting point.  We then began to tape each template to the wall.  This allows you to get a better visual of how it will look on your wall.  This gives you the opportunity to reposition any template or make any last changes before you begin to hang your art.

Starting on one side of the layout will make it easier to find the correct placement on your wall. We began from the bottom right corner and moved toward the left side of the gallery wall.

Now it’s time to put some holes in the wall.  😀  🔨  We know that some of you may be afraid to put holes in your wall, whether it be a fear of putting the hole in the wrong spot, or just being unsure of how to go about it. We get it!  It can be intimidating to take the first swing.  We’re here to cheer you on 👏.  You can do this. Using our system of hanging the templates with the marks drawn where the hook(s) are on the frame will make this an easy and hopefully a non-intimidating thing to do.

You’ve already done the hard part of measuring where the hook(s) are on each piece and marked them on each template.  Now you simply take your hammer and nails and drive each nail into the designated marking on each template.  You now have nails right where they need to be and you can simply pull the template from the wall and hang your item.  It’s that easy!

Gallery Wall

Hammer the nails, remove the template and hang your art one piece at a time.  You’ll be surprised how quickly your gallery wall will come together.  

(Remember this amazing old window?  There will be a tutorial coming shortly to show you how to add the frame around the glass.)

One last element to this gallery wall is this custom blanket ladder.  My Mom had been wanting one for some time but never found one that she really loved, so she decided to make one herself.  Keep your eyes peeled for a tutorial on making your own blanket ladder.  You’ll be SHOCKED at what she used to make it!

Come take a closer look at some of these awesome homes!

This is a picture of the family home of my great-great grandfather Shields about 1910, located in Northern Ireland.  During this time Ireland was divided by North and South boundaries.  At some point it was turned into a Bed and Breakfast, and housed British soldiers.  In the 1970’s it was bombed by the IRA because British soldiers had stayed there. 

Left: My great-grandparents, Clifford P. and Annie S. Burton married in 1916, and moved to Talmage, Utah to homestead. They built this tiny cabin, farmed the land and lived there raising 6 of their children for a time. 

Right: Tioga North, Dakota home of my 3rd great-grandparents.  This picture was taken in about 1920.  My great-grandma Elaine M. Enquist is pictured here around 4 years old with her brothers and grandfather Jones Anders Pierson.

Morgan, Utah became the settling place for my 2nd great-grandpa John Henry Dickson.  My great-grandpa LaVern Dickson is pictured here as a young man around 1910. 

The home is still standing today but it’s pretty run down and could fall apart at any time now, which breaks my heart!  My Mom and I would LOVE to get our hands on it and bring it back to its former glory!  All we need is a bunch of extra money 💰💰💰 lying around…that’s not asking too much right?!  😂

Left:  My Grandpa, L. Ramon Dickson standing by the family car, 49 Hudson with his father, Lavern Dickson in the driver’s seat in front of their family home in Midvale, Utah.  This picture is also hanging in Mr. A’s car themed bedroom.  It’s so much fun to teach him about his relatives, and tell stories about them.   You can see this picture in his room along with many other family cars here

Right: Home of Robert Taylor Burton, my 4th great grandpa. He was a Major General in the Utah Militia. He also was a county sheriff, served as a city councilman and as a state legislator. This home was in downtown Salt Lake City. Sadly, this home is no longer around.  Man, I wish I had the chance to go in so many of these homes that aren’t around anymore.  Maybe that’s why I want to restore the house in Morgan so much. 

This home was built in Rosemead, North Dakota by Jones Anders Pierson.  He  homesteaded the land after he became a citizen.  His 2 daughters are pictured here (one of the daughters was my great-great grandmother Elizabeth Pierson) in 1899 at their double wedding with all of their family. 

Among all of the amazing photos of old family homes, my Mom created this custom framed art that says “Home is where your story begins”.   Each of us have a story to tell.  Each of us has been molded and shaped into the people we are today from our past experiences and lessons learned in the home.  We’d like to offer this piece of art to YOU as a digital download.  Keep your eyes peeled, we will be getting that download ready in the near future. 😊

What sentimental items of decor or old family photos do you love and would like to showcase in your home?  We’d love to hear from you!  Share your comments below. 

If you found this post helpful and inspiring on how to hang a gallery wall the EASY way and incorporating sentimental items into your space, please


As always here at Sunny Side Design


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. 73Zulma

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    This question is one of the most contested in home design! Here s our take. If your gallery wall will hang above a piece of furniture, plan for the bottom of your lowest frame to hang 5-8 inches above the top of your furniture. If your gallery wall is hanging on an empty wall, aim for the center of your whole arrangement to hang about 57 inches above the floor.

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