**This blog post has been written in collaboration with Anna of ReNue Home Studio. To see Part 2 of this project please visit ReNue Home Studio’s blog here.

I had been daydreaming about what I wanted to do with my entry wall since we moved in two years ago. Of course I scoured PINTEREST and per usual I created a my Gallery Wall Board and started pinning ideas. I knew I wanted it to be bold and also based around family. My original idea was to create a gallery wall based around both our family and extended family, parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews, etc. That all changed when my Grandad heard of my plan and gifted me with the most amazing gift, a photo of his mother, my Great-Grandmother Lillian, as a baby. I was blown away! This treasure is roughly 116 years old! As we set and talked about it my Grandad told me that he didn’t even know it existed until the passing of Great Grandma. The photo was discovered behind a large framed photo that hung above her sofa in her living room! All of those times we sat on that sofa not knowing of the treasure hiding behind a mass reproduction of Instantly I knew I wanted to go a completely different direction and create a gallery wall to honor our family history instead.

The search was on! I asked family members for permission to dig through their photos, many of which I had never seen before. Many of which contained grandparents that I had never seen before. This project turned into a wonderful memory for me. It was great to sit down with my Grandad and listen to the stories behind the photos. I look forward to passing these stories down to my own kids someday.

To honor my Great-Grandmother’s photo I had it professionally framed at Hobby Lobby. I wanted to frame it in a way to reflect the time period. I learned a few things about framing old photos from our friends at the custom framing department of Hobby Lobby.

    • Always get it professionally framed! You can always purchase an open frame like I did and have a custom mat, glass, and back added.
    • You need to use a mat! There can be moisture trapped in the paper that can mold if pressed directly up against the glass.
    • Type of glass matters. To protect your photo from the sun you need to use museum glass. There are different types including a no-glare option.
    • In the era that my Great-Grandmother’s photo was taken it was customary to hang your photos much higher on the wall than we do today. To compensate for this they used what they called a “weighted mat”. This means that the bottom of the mat is thicker (wider) than the sides and top. I loved this and decided to go with it!

As you can see Scarlett loves how it turned out as well.

Since I was borrowing many of the other photos, I took them to Staples and had them enlarged and copied onto photo paper. The prints came out great! You can’t even tell that they are copies. My wall is fairly good sized and my Grandmother’s photo was large as well, so I needed to scale my photos accordingly. I used mainly 5×7, 8×10, 11×13 sized photos.

When choosing my frames I wanted the color palette to coordinate with the look and feel of the rest of my home which is a mixture of metals, metallics, and wood finishes. I wanted the focus to be on the photos and not the frames. I recommend taking your photos with you to choose your frames. This made it much easier to see what frames complimented the photos.

To add visual interest to the gallery wall I chose to include various signs, unexpected items, and a set of awesome wooden chevrons from my friends at ReNue Home Studio. I recommend buying a variety of items in different shapes and sizes. You can always return the items that you don’t use. This strategy worked well for this project as we had choices to pull from when creating the design. (As you can see there are items in this photo that didn’t make it on the wall.)

One of my favorite items we used is what looks like a little shelf. Can you guess what it really is? It’s the hymnal rack off the back of our church pew sitting just below the gallery wall and coat rack! I’m so lucky to know Anna of ReNue Home Studio who came over and helped me pull the design all together. It was her idea to add the little burlap wrapped plant rack to the front of the hymnal rack. Isn’t that genius! Anna has an amazing eyer for design and detail. It was so fun to get to work with her on this project. If you would like to see how we pulled the design all together head on over to her blog Part 2 of this project that Anna so loving named my “Legacy Wall”. In her blog post she gives her tips and trick on how to create your own designer gallery wall.