Lounge Update: Gallery Wall
Back to normality
After a crazy few weeks with the blog, heatwave, Christmas prep, and yet MORE disappointing news on my premises hunt I decided that it was the PERFECT time to make a rash decision and redecorate our lounge on a whim. We moved house last year as LAD was taking up so much space in our home and at the time I didn't want to move it out of the house (sorry Alex, my bad!) Anyway, a year and a half has passed since we moved and the poor lounge stayed neglected and a bit unwelcoming to be honest. We panic painted one wall last summer and bought a new Ikea sofa earlier this year (which Harry seems to think is his napkin and rubs up against it to clean his face after he's eaten so it's already filthy - Thanks bud) But now I'm ready for it to be nice so I've made a start and now there's no stopping me!...
the First Four Days
We're going to work through it slowly but the small changes we've made so far, in just 4 days have made a huge difference so I thought I'd share the progress and do another post once it's finished. Firstly I should say that as this was a hasty decision it didn't occur to me to take any before pictures *twat* but I'm trying to take more as we go so please forgive me (I know, before and after pictures are EVERYTHING damnit!)
blue (da ba dee da ba daa)
Although I adore a good grey, I wanted the lounge to really pack a punch so I decided we should go for a really bold blue. The room is quite big so can take a dark colour easily and it instantly helped to make it feel cosier. We looked at a range of shades and brands and decided on Hicks Blue by Little Greene (I prefer their paints over Farrow and Ball as I think the quality is so much better. The paint itself is a lot thicker so the coverage is wonderful) I've always been curious about colour matching services and heard great things so when Helen from Decorating Centre Online messaged me on Instagram saying she matches any colour in lovely thick trade paint I was so keen to give it a bash. She kindly sent me a large 5L tub that was the perfect amount for our 4 walls. She matched it from the colour cards and it was spot on...and arrived the very next day, which was a Saturday...Colour me impressed (geddit?) So the painting began, It took me about 10 hours over the weekend - single handed, 2 coats, including religiously masking taping skirting, ceiling and sockets. I put Desperate Housewives on in the background for a blast from the past and thoroughly enjoyed myself!
Lisa Dawson Told Me To Do It...
I'd already decided to paint the room blue when I messaged Lisa Dawson, the magical interiors stylist, writer and content creator herself (who I've harassed into becoming my friend) and asked her to do it all for me...worth a shot right? She told me to do a mood board to help clarify it all and although it's not the best mood board I've ever made in my life it really did help bring some ideas together. Her blog about creating Mood boards is WONDERFUL and I'd recommend it to anyone decorating a room...
Get a move on!
New build homes are great in many ways, yes you might have a neighbour overlooking your garden from certain angles and they may be severely lacking in character but generally they're clean, shiny and have amazing guarantees if anything goes wrong. HOWEVER my biggest issue with a new built is how very plain they are. I find it so intimidating all that white wall space. It practically panics me thinking about hammering nails into the (shitty plasterboard) walls, 'What if it's in the wrong place and then I want to move it and it'll be SO OBVIOUS because everything is so clean and white?!' (there's a chance I need to get a grip...I know, So what if that does happen?! But still, I don't like it!) So back to my point... this is my longwinded explanation as to why there were about 40 prints sitting on the floor of my unloved lounge for a year and a half (and why there's another box of prints in the garage)
But, once painted I find it a lot (ok, a little) easier to throw things up on the wall and so it was finally time to hit up IKEA for some new frames and to get the buggers up on the wall, a gallery wall was clearly the answer to all my problems (excluding any problem that isn't the lounge)
Go gallery or Go Home
Yet again, Lisa Dawson has helped us all by writing some magnificent blog posts about gallery walls, she has some amazing advice (including how to tackle my above fear, essentially - "just get on with it") and so yet again, I refer you to her with her Biggest Ever Gallery Wall & Why she loves them and How to create one.
Working it out
To create mine, I measured out a space roughly the same size as the wall space I wanted them to take up and laid them all out on the floor (I was going to use the rug but it was stuck under the coffee table and it seemed like a lot of effort to pull it out sooooo.... that's why it's all a bit 'approx'. I started with all of my favourite paintings, prints and pieces and moved them all about, I took photos as I went so I could scroll through and see if somethings worked better than others. I soon realised I liked it better with a mix of sizes so added in some more photographs and I also LOVE buying cards and framing them up.
After a while playing round I realised I liked it best with a limited colour palette so went for more neutral tomes of white, wood, gold and green with just hints pink and blue. This did mean I lost some of my colourful faves but there's always more wall space to pop them up on! This limited pallet also made it easier to narrow down which frames I should buy and try not to put too many similar ones next to each other.
The final decision I made which I think was the best one for this space was to not keep it square. I took prints away from the top right and bottom left corners and made it a lot more fluid. We then started getting it up on the wall using a selection of picture hooks and nails (the IKEA Ribba frames are a nightmare for this because they're so boxy - you need a long nail/screw to stick out quite far so that it reachers the fitting on the inside of the frame)
With it all being a bit 'approx' meant that I roughly stuck to the layout on the floor but also did a lot of stepping back and looking to see where we wanted things.We started in the top left corner with the big stars and kind of went diagonally down from there, we left some spaces to fill afterwards with smaller pictures and 'bits'.
The big reveal
So after all that, here it finally is...
This was my first gallery wall and I'm rather please with it, I've got heaps of wonderful pictures and prints left so will certainly be doing another one elsewhere. The lessons I learnt from this & things I want to remember for the next gallery wall are:
- Mix it up - different shapes, sizes, textures and themes
- ...But not too much - Personally I like to keep one/some key elements i.e. the colours or the overall shape etc. (I also love a gallery wall thats all black and white prints but different sizes and frames or that's all the same frame sitting beautifully in line - key elements that brings it all together)
- Don't worry too much - plan a bit so you know what you like, then throw it on the wall and trust your instincts....and a good 'step back'
- Framing Cards is the best - you can't beat a little card in a pretty frame. They are perfect for filling gaps and are so easy to find they can really help to enforce your style.
- Take Photos - When you're planning and laying it out, take photos of different set ups so you can look back and see what works.
- Be Flexible - remember there's different ways of doing things, sometimes it helps to take your favourites out and use them somewhere else and sometimes it's nice to not have an outline...that's OK! There isn't a rule book so just go with what feels right and have fun with it!
A quick worD
While we're here, I'd like a quick word about Katy Pillinger's beautiful 'Boy & Bear' print. Not only is it a gorgeous print with a lovely message it's also for a great cause. Katy is an illustrator from Cornwall who I absolutely adore, her friend Max is sadly fighting breast cancer and to help with the financial burden Katy designed this print for her and donates 100% of the proceeds to Max and her family. I'm so honoured to have it on my wall and love that my £14 is helping just a tiny bit. If you'd like to get your own to enjoy and help you can do here. Thank you x
Quick list of where everything else is from!...
Teal Plant Pot on legs - Lark Topsham
Kate Moss Print - The Poster Club
Pot Plats - IKEA
Blankets & knitted cushions - LAD
Leaf Print and Green Cushions - IKEA
All frames - IKEA
Metal Stars - Lark Topsham
Wedding pictures - taken by our Photographer Jo Hastings
Boy and Bear Print - Katy Pillinger
Harry Trotter Card - Paperchase
But First Champagne sign - More Than Just
Dept of Ridiculous Horseplay sign TBC
Leave prints - The Motivated Type
Embroidery Hoop - TBC
Single Ladies Print - Fy
Who let the dogs out print - Fy
Hendricks Print - Fy
You're a Goddess Card - Bodil Jane
Botanical Embroidery Hoops - Liz Padgham Major
best get back to IKEA!
I hope you like it team. Thanks for checking it out!