The Creative Mama » inspiring art, encouraging women

an art gallery of your very own

I often create sample wall displays for my clients, to get them inspired to hang their family photographs on the wall and really encourage them to give their images the “artwork” status they deserve.  Don’t get me wrong, gorgeous albums are a wonderful place to keep photos, and they are actually the number one selling product in my photography business.  But sometimes images need to be seen on a daily basis, and bring a smile to the family inside that home, whether it’s as they’re eating breakfast, lounging on their living room sofa, or playing in the children’s rooms.

If you’re like me, you have several (okay, hundreds of) photographs printed, and thousands more still living on your hard drive.  Today I’m going to show you some inspiring, yet simple and fun displays you can recreate in your own home, using those images!

So let’s get those images onto the walls, shall we?

Line Them Up | A Balanced Gallery Wall

Some of my favorite arrangements are calming, orderly, linear, and precisely displayed.  If you’re looking to bring a calm aesthetic to your space (such as over a bed, in a hallway, over a sofa), then this display idea may be just the ticket.

Photo courtesy Apartment Therapy / Southern Accents

Photo courtesy Apartment Therapy / Southern Accents

I love the above example of a stairway display.  The white mats draw your eye directly to the photos inside the frame (even though they’re small prints), and it gives off a very clean and airy presence.

Photo courtesy Martha Stewart

Photo courtesy Martha Stewart

Love the horizontal line of space running between the rows in this hallway gallery.

Photo courtesy Apartment Therapy

Photo courtesy Domino Magazine (via Apartment Therapy)

Photo courtesy Pewter and Sage

Photo courtesy Pewter and Sage

What drew me to these galleries was the calming order and the sense of peace they seem to bring to their space, whether the images are black and white or vivid color.

Here’s a fabulous method to recreating a pleasing gallery on your own walls, without any unnecessary nail holes.  You will need:

  • kraft paper
  • hanging hardware for your frames (including hammer and nails)
  • painter’s tape
  1. Arrange your framed photos on the floor or large table.  Take your time, and create a display you love!
  2. Once you have a pleasing arrangement, trace each frame onto kraft paper.
  3. Carefully measure the hanging hardware on the back of each frame from the top of the frame – mark in pencil on the corresponding kraft paper.  (Measure twice, nail once!)
  4. Tape the kraft paper to the wall to match your arrangement, and drive a nail through the mark you’ve made.
  5. Rip the paper off the wall and hang your frame in its place!

Be Flexible | Photo Ledges and Shelves

If you are more indecisive about your display or you’d love the freedom to change it out regularly (as I do!), then photo ledges would be a wonderful option!  Pottery Barn and Ikea have great options for these!  I have three in my home and I swap out favorites-of-the-moment whenever the mood strikes.

Image courtesy Pottery Barn

Photo courtesy Pottery Barn

Photo courtesy Pottery Barn

Photo courtesy Pottery Barn

And an example from my home…

This hangs above my kids

I’ve simply used a few inexpensive Ikea pieces (the ledge and the towel-rack-turned-art-paper-holder)  and represented each of my kiddos in a framed piece above it.  Their own artwork gets changed out on a regular basis in the frame below, and they love it.

Modular | Change It Out

These are fun little display ideas for kids’ rooms, the kitchen, or even little nooks that don’t allow for much wall space.  The below display can be recreated using this little set from Ikea.  Or, you can go as simple as some kitchen twine, rustic clothespins, and a couple of nails like I did.  Don’t be afraid to try different materials, such as a wide grosgrain ribbon and some pretty, decorative tacks!


Photo courtesy Apartment Therapy (love them!)

Photo courtesy Apartment Therapy (love them!)

Here is my warm and rustic version of the above idea…


Polaroids hanging on a clothesline, by Stacey Woods

Photos copyright


Some of these images are Polaroids from the early 1970s, taken from my grandfather.  I have them hanging by wooden clothespins from ordinary kitchen twine in front of my home office window.  I love glancing up at them, and I always smile when I see him and remember his stories about taking these photos… some several hundred feet in the air.  πŸ˜‰

Another easy solution for those of you who like to frequently rotate your favorites is a simple little piece I picked up at a children’s furnishings store a few years back.


Photos hanging by bulldog clips

Photo copyright


Talk about a super easy DIY!  Just a plank of wood painted to coordinate with your space, four bulldog clips, and 4 screws.  Almost as easy as the kitchen twine project!  πŸ˜‰

Want more inspiration and a few more “how-to” posts?  Check out these links:

Pottery Barn | Create a Memory Wall (Printable templates and several display ideas to get you started!)

Martha Stewart’s Picture Wall Photo Project

Apartment Therapy’s Photograph Cubby

I hope these have inspired you to get those family photos off the hard drive and on proud display! Whether you dedicate an entire wall to your most recent photo session, or devote a tiny space to some antique family images, the point is to highlight your sweetest memories in a visible way.  Personally, I have a lovely little spot over my sofa in need of a makeover… I’ll come back here and post my finished wall soon! I’d love for you to do the same and link back to this post. Have fun with it, and I can’t wait to see your results!

Stacey Woods

Co-editor, Stacey Woods is an on-location, natural light lifestyle photographer for the Tampa Bay, FL area. Her favorite subjects are expecting mamas, the tiniest of babies, and children of all ages. Her online photo journal can be found at Stacey Woods Photography. Stacey’s own husband and children (a 6-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter) are her greatest source of inspiration… and laughter!

About Stacey Woods

Stacey Woods is an on-location, natural light lifestyle photographer for the Tampa Bay, FL area. Her favorite subjects are expecting mamas, the tiniest of babies, and children of all ages. She believes that the small moments are really the biggest ones, that photographs are legacies that we leave to our children, and that authentic love is beautiful. Her online photo journal can be found here.

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  • laura@printing-instagram

    Hey, My name is Laura and I blog about tips for displaying printed Instagram photos. I have been doing lots of looking around to find unique ideas. I love seeing the crafty ideas that people create to display photos! thank you for the inspiration and thank you for sharing.


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  • sissi

    this is just gorgeous, i love all of them!

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  • Amy Ortiz

    I really love these ideas.

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  • Adrienne

    THANKS!!! What a fun project. I’ll be sure to share my final result.

  • Stacey Woods

    Adrienne, I did some digging and found an article that explains the workings of the exact collage frame featured by Apartment Therapy. Here you are ~ I hope it helps! Don’t forget to come back and show us your results! I’d love to see your take on it.

    Deb, love you to pieces. I’m glad that this article could inspire YOU, my dear. Thank you for sharing the link with your blog readers!

    Kristie, mmm, I remember the gorgeous photo displays at your old home! The glass-paned door, the canvases, the lunchbox… Get those images up, you! :) Thank you for featuring the idea on your blog too, we so appreciate it!!

  • Kristie

    Oh, Stacey, such a FABULOUS post full of amazing ideas! My poor images are like, “hello, when are you going to hang me?!?!” You’ve inspired me!! I will definitely be sharing this on my blog!!
    PS- LOVE the display you shared from your home!

  • deb schwedhelm

    thanks so much for the wonderful inspiration. i shared the link to this post on my blog.

  • Adrienne

    Do you have a link for the Apartment Therapy frame? The one with the 24 picture slots?
    Great ideas. I’m motivated to get started on ours now.

  • stacey woods

    Joyce, I don’t know how I missed your comment (sometimes the notifications come in late although the comment goes back to an earlier time) but I wanted to thank you as well! I’m honored that I could have inspired you just the teensiest bit.

    Jessica, thank you so much! Your last post was amazing as well ~ you’re always so insightful and I look forward to reading your words!

  • Jessica

    One of my favorite posts to date! Love, love it!!

  • Stacey Woods

    Jasmine, yes, my “cobbler’s children” certainly have lots of “shoes”, but I don’t have them in their proper places just yet. πŸ˜‰

    Jessica, actually the clips originaly held Parker’s artwork in our kitchen for the longest time. I moved it to my office to keep a few favorite family photos close by, so now this lives behind my desk on the wall. I hope you have fun with yours, I’d love to see it when you’re all finished!

    Meghyn, I used to have a similar display of old family photos in what is now my office, all black and white photos in various black frames. I had to remove them to use the wall for functional office storage, but I’m itching to find a new home for my special pieces again. My display always got compliments and people would just come and study the photographs forever, asking about each one. I loved that, and I miss it!!

    Leslie, Tracey, Aileen, thank you! So glad you were able to take something from it!

    Angie, you know I’ll be waiting for your after photo as well! :)

    Thanks again, ladies!

  • aileen

    wonderful ideas! thank you for the inspiration!

  • TraceyClark

    yum yum yum! these are all so beautiful.

  • Joyce Smith

    I love these ideas, Stacey, and I am in sore need of displays both at home and in the new studio. Thank you for the inspiration as always!

  • Angie

    Oh wow. I’m speechless (and antsy to get my walls COVERED!) Love. to. pieces.

  • Leslie Houx

    Thank you for sharing this! I am having the hardest time right now with all my photos! You gave me some great inspiration…

  • Meghyn

    I have a LARGE photo grouping in my living room inspired by the picture by Martha. I get compliments all the time on the layout.

  • jessica g

    the last one is going to be a must-diy for my daughters room. she is constantly taping her artwork to the wall, the furniture, etc. This might just solve that problem! Thanks for the great ideas!

  • jasmine

    these are lovely options, stacey! i’m going to guess that photographers might just be one of the worst groups of people at getting their pictures on display. it’s so easy to let a special image of our own families get buried in the digital stacks of images we have. thanks for the inspiration today :)