Joy on Your Walls: Photos, Art, and Gallery Walls

Gallery wall with African safari artPhotos and art are a way to stay connected and grounded this strange year. Even if we can’t be with people, we can still be surrounded by them and memories of travel and special places. Now is the time to get your photos off of your phone and onto your walls. Hanging your art on your walls is a favorite project of mine because it does three things:

  1. Transforms clutter into art
  2. Personalizes your decor
  3. Brings you joy remembering favorite people and places

Joy on Your Walls-Photos, Art and Gallery Walls

Art can be photos, posters, mixed-media, newspapers, or found objects. Like fashion, putting joy on your walls is more about what you love than a prescribed set of rules. Don’t overthink it. If you want to put treasures on your walls, do it now. Make yourself happy. Hanging or swapping art is a perfect post-holiday project, when the house can feel a little drab and empty after seasonal decorations come down. Bring a little bit of your favorite spot to wherever you are, like the glam coastal feel we brought to this inland living room, anchored by a few pieces of ocean-inspired canvases.

living room makeover art


Start by gathering your framed photos and art together. That really is the right place to start. Physically get your art together and see what you have. This is especially true of children’s art, which look a whole lot better on the walls than it does in cardboard boxes. Some of it makes great decor!

Children's art stored in a box


You don’t have to go high-dollar to get high-impact. Have an old canvas of the gang? Swap it with a more recent canvas or print on wood or glass. Print new photos and pop them into old frames. (Pro tip: Spray paint batches of frames black, white, or some bold color to make them feel fresh again.) You might not have used a poster frame since college, but they have come a long way since then, and they are a very economical way to frame and display things like maps and large children’s art. Don’t be afraid to trim the original piece to fit in a standard frame. I used these frames from Michaels to create this stunning gallery of 100 year’s worth of newspapers.

Newspaper Photo Gallery Wall copy

poster frame for displaying photos and art


Have a piece that was hand-crafted by an ancestor? Or an old photo? Have it rematted and re-framed to fit your decor. It will instantly look new. Have a precious print that’s faded or damaged? We can professionally restored it, digitize it so you can easily share it, and reprint a bigger, better print for display.

Restored photo color enlargement restoration


Want to freshen up your art? Art and photos are inherently personal. Cruise the ‘net for inspiration, but if something makes you smile, laugh, or feel soothed, listen to the inner voice that says this speaks to your heart. There’s no need to settle for something that’s almost right when there are literally endless possibilities.

hanging art and gallery wall design


If you are on a budget, search “free printable art” to discover so many amazing bloggers who provide fun, whimsical, and beautiful art that you can print at home and pop in a frame for a quick refresh.

Crop a piece of a meaningful photo for an abstract, hipper take on an easily-recognized tourist spot. Simplify down to just the spot of color that speaks to you. Your amateur photos can be hiding some high-impact visuals, like a European street sign, African safari souvenirs below, or a pretty door like the one I posted on Instagram.

Gallery wall with African safari art

Create groupings of 2, 3 or more photos and objects that look related in colors, size, or theme. They don’t have to be perfect or exactly the same. Check out the Philadelphia team championships newspapers that we featured in this gallery wall project. 

Frame and Hang Your Photos and Keepsakes to Reduce Clutter-Philadelphia Phillies


Every room should have a focal point. There are three main types of focal points:

  1. architectural focal points (e.g. fireplace)
  2. an outside focal point (e.g. a mountaintop view)
  3. or a designed focal point (e.g.single or grouped art)

Imagine that you are walking into your room for the first time. Is there a natural spot that your eye is drawn to? You can highlight that area or you can change the focus with strategic art placement. Once you treat your main focal point, then fill in around the other areas of the room with art, color and accessories. Think like a magazine director, and pretend your room is about to be the next feature story in a magazine. Always come back to your focal point, and test if you’ve created a zone that draws you in and commands attention. If your art isn’t large enough scale to achieve that on it’s own, gather several pieces together as a gallery wall. Polished or eclectic, the choice is yours.

Gallery wall hanging art


If you are intimidated by hanging art, get a pack of my go-to hardware. Ooks picture hanging nails (affiliate link) are made for use on plaster walls, but they also work wonderfully on drywall.

Getting started on hanging art can feel like an overwhelming commitment. You don’t have to go it alone. Remember that we can help you plan and place your art, no matter where you live in the world. With as little as an hour, you can get professional advice to get the art off the floor and onto your walls. All you need is a smartphone or computer…and a hammer.

Have you thought about hanging some art lately?

Would you have more space in your closet if you hung some of your photos?

Is getting your art onto your walls going to be your project or your reward SORT and Succeed?

See all of my January 2021 organizing articles in one place.