The Husband has been nagging me to hang pictures on our walls for months.  Unfortunately for him I prefer only to hang pictures in finished rooms with freshly painted walls and a plan.  It took me five years to finish the last house so clearly I’m not quite there at this house yet.

If you’re wondering why The Husband doesn’t just hang the pictures himself . . . he’s not allowed.  

I’m a royal pain when it comes to pictures.  They have to be hung just so.  We’re talking perfectly centered and level and hung with the center at exactly 35 inches down from the ceiling.  Unless there is large piece of furniture to consider, like a couch or a bed, this is how it’s done.  I even have a little drawing that illustrates simply how to find the exact place to nail that picture hanger in the wall.

If I’m using Command Adhesive, instead of nails or screws, painters tape is involved to find the perfect spot as well as a little basic math.

So it’s a process.

I made an exception and did hang three pieces of art in the hallway bath.

So far in the house I’ve done enough work to the dining room, living room, entryway, Petey’s room, guest room and master bedroom to justify hanging art on the walls.

The hallway to the bedrooms is painted but I am still working on my plan for that space so it’s in limbo right now.

That leaves the family room (affectionately known as the “Don Draper Room” in our house), Fireplace Room, Kitchen, Back Hallway, Half Bath, Fourth Bedroom and Master Bathroom artless.  The Fireplace Room is about 1/3 finished so I finally caved and agreed to accessorize the one wall that’s been painted.  I have no intention of putting any furniture on that wall so I should’t have to rehang anything when the room has been completed.

You’re welcome, Mike, you’re welcome.

I’ve seen gallery style groupings all over Pinterest these days so I decided to give one a go.  I have a ton of art and empty frames just waiting for the right piece to come along so a wall with LOTS of frames was appealing to me.  Plus, since there is no furniture to consider, gallery style seemed the way to go.

The first thing I did was to lay out my chosen pictures on the living room floor and rearrange them till I was fairly happy.  They could be tweaked of course once I started hanging.

photo (10) R

I considered my group as a whole when it came to wall spacing and started on the right side of the wall.  I did break my 35 inches rule (considering the group as a whole would easily have still made this possible to achieve) simply because with a toddler running about I didn’t want the pictures to be too low.  Grabby hands being what they are and all.  Plus as you can see I have two register grates to deal with.  It took me about an hour to get my measurements just right, but here’s where I ended up.  There is exactly 4.5 inches of wall space between each frame.

photo (11) R

Most of the gallery style walls I’ve seen have utilized the same frame color to tie the pictures together.  This was not an option for me because of the six pictures I laid out, 4 were already framed.  The top two I framed myself, but they are matching frames with an already beautiful finish.  The lower two I paid to have framed and were about $150 each.  I’m not messing with them.  I’m not messing with any of them.

photo (11) R Arrows

There is one cohesive element to each of these pieces and that’s subject matter.  They’re all fish.  Okay, manatees are actually mammals but they live in the water so let’s pretend they’re fish. 

At this point I used Command Adhesive and stuck a wooden fish on the wall for some depth and variety.  For funsies.  And because I had no other plans for it.

photo (12) R

Based on my original layout, there are still two pictures still not hung and that’s because they are currently unframed.

That’s where you come in.  I can’t decide what color to paint the frames.  I’ve been strongly considering black because the manatee frame is black and all three of these pieces are original silk paintings by the same artist.  Plus, only having two frame colors on the gallery wall sounds pretty good to me.  But maybe a pop of color would be a fun surprise too.

Here’s picture number one with a frame I stumbled onto at the consignment store.

photo (5) R

I’ve been searching for the right frame FOREVER but when you want it second hand and it has to be an exact size it’s tricky.

The silk paintings are mounted on foam core board with straight pins so there’s no wiggle room with a mat.

When I bought this frame it actually wasn’t the right size.  The original frame had a gold inset.

photo (2) R

Over an original piece of collage art.  The Husband likes this art so now I don’t know what to do with it.  Since it’s an original, even a funky one, I feel a little guilty just trashing it which was my original plan.

photo (6) R

While the outer frame was the EXACT right size, the gold inset was not.  I’d have to tear it apart to find out if the gold inset was a part of the frame or alone.  So I took a chance, ponied up the twenty five bucks and brought the sucker home.  I was thrilled to find that not only was the gold inset completely separate and unattached, but the glass went all the way to the outside frame.

Except for the color it was now perfect.  Soooooo . . . . should I paint it black?  The fireplace room will have some black floating shelves and a black piece of furniture on another wall.  And the walls are light gray.  So black seems safe.  But maybe a pop of color taken from the picture itself would be fun?  I dunno.  Whatdya think?

The second piece of fish art I still need to frame is this guy.

photo (7) R

I’ve been lugging around an empty frame I picked up for three dollars at a garage sale to the past four houses.  Yup.  It’s lived in four houses.  In the closet at every one.  I’m either a pack rat or have a fabulous eye for design.

photo (9) R

This frame definitely needs a coat of paint.  I don’t do gold.  In jewelry or art.

I need to buy glass for it and add picture hangers to the back.  And it’s a little small.  Height wise, it’s perfect, but length wise it’s lacking a few inches.  I don’t consider this to be a huge deal since the fish in this pic are off to one side and I don’t feel I’ll lose much composition wise by lopping off the sides of the river rock.  It’s an easy fix.  Unmount the art.  Cut the foam core board to size.  Stretch the left side further around the back and remount with the same straight pins.  Easy peasy.

So whatdya think of this frame?  Black or a pop of color.  The tile in the adjacent entryway has oranges in it so maybe an orange would be fun and play on the fish.  Or even red to match one of the leaves.

Should I paint both frames black and play it safe?  Should I paint one black and pop the other with some color?  Should I go nuts and paint them both fun colors?  The second frame has a lot of depth so maybe the gold part should be black and the black part red?  Or orange.  Or blue.

Alright, I need a shower before the boy wakes up this morning so I’ll stop here.

But please do tell me what you think!!!!

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  This is redundant.  What color should I paint my frames?


  1. I think since there is so much color going on in those prints that black frames would be best.

  2. Nothing I love more than perfectly measured and hung paintings of large sea mammals humping in my fireplace room.

    (Seriously everyone, go look at the manatee picture… towards the left.)

    • That’s it. Enough with the humping mammals. I’m doing a blog post about it and we’ll let the readers decide once and for all if the manatees are copulating or not.

  3. All I know is that if you ever come to my house I’m hiding all wall hangings for fear of intense scrutiny. 🙂

    • It’s Mike you have to worry about. Seriously. Him and Supermom’s husband have been friends forever and back when they were kids every time he went to their house he would swap the pictures around. Drove John’s mom NUTS. Okay, so there was that one time I rearranged the shelves on the wall in Supermom’s guest bath but that’s only because John’s folks were in town and we were talking about Mike swapping pictures years ago. So it’s really all Mike’s fault I did it.

      Sooooooo you’re probably right. Best to hide all wall hangings from us.

  4. I think my grandson should be shielded from viewing humping manatees until he’s at least two and a half!

    • That’s right. If he grows up with a warped sense of humor, it will be the fault of his mother’s art collection. Not his genes.

  5. I’m a black frame kind of girl, but I think I’m just boring. 🙂