How to Make a Family Photo Wall

Several years ago, a photo in Traditional Home magazine caught my eye. It showed the second-floor hallway of a house with its walls completely covered in framed pictures.

This is the picture from Traditional Home magazine that inspired the photo wall on my basement landing.

This is the picture from Traditional Home magazine that inspired the photo wall on my basement landing.

I love decorating with family photographs, so I clipped out that page, thinking that if I ever had an opportunity, I would make a wall like that in my own house.

Sometime later, we moved into our current home. With its more open layout, it doesn’t have near the wall space for pictures that our previous house had.

But there is a landing on the basement stairs that is visible from the entry hall and living room. And as soon as I saw it, I knew it would be the perfect spot for one of those statement picture walls.

Other home-improvement projects took precedence in our fixer-upper, but eventually, Randy had repaired, refinished, remodeled and repainted practically everything in the main living areas, including the basement stairwell. Finally, it was time to tackle that photo project.

I unpacked box after box of shelf and wall décor, collecting every black frame I could find. My plan was to do a family photo wall of pictures from both sides of our family—some in color, some in black and white.

I spread all the frames out on the basement floor and began moving them around to form a rectangle. My original batch of frames didn’t cover enough area to fill up the wall, so I started adding garage-sale finds to my collection, with Randy spray painting the ones that weren’t already black.

Landing in progress

I used the basement floor to lay out the frames. The final wall design featured 30 frames containing 50 photographs.

I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to transfer what was happening on the basement floor to the landing wall without a lot of measuring and frustration. That’s when Randy came up with the great idea to spread wrapping paper under the frames and trace each frame in its proper spot, making a diagram of sorts.

Next, we would set all the frames to the side (after taking a picture to use as a hanging guide), tape the paper diagram to the wall, install the hangers for the frames right through the paper, and hang the pictures.

Once all the nails were in place, we would remove all the frames, take down the paper and rehang the pictures.

It was a brilliant plan and made the entire project come together beautifully.

Photo wall

The end result!

The only bit of pushback I got from my picture-hanging husband was when he realized the outside edges of the rectangle created by all the frames were not going to line up exactly. He likes things to be symmetrical and evenly spaced, but in this case, I was going for overall effect, not perfect symmetry.

I convinced him my design would work, and he agreed to hang the pictures, with the caveat that I would only be allowed to adjust four frames once they were all hung. (By this time, he was ready to be done with the project and didn’t want to spend hours moving every picture an eighth of an inch to the left or right.)

Photo wall on basement landing

Here is the photo wall as seen from the living room above.

The end result was even better than I had imagined it would be. Photographs of Randy, me and the girls at various ages mingle with our parents’ wedding pictures and group shots of extended family from decades past. It’s like a scrapbook on a wall, filled with love and warm memories.

Our laundry room, office and home theater are in the basement, along with my treadmill and the only television in the house, so we all pass by the picture wall numerous times every day.

Since you also can see the wall from the main public areas of the house, it never fails to draw people down the steps when we have company.

I don’t know what I enjoy more—pausing on my way up or down the stairs to reflect on a specific photo, identifying people in the pictures for friends, or explaining how we put the wall together.

And to think, it all started with a picture in a magazine.

Lois Flowers

P.S. Linking up this week with Kelly Balarie at Purposeful Faith, Lyli Dunbar at #ThoughtProvokingThursday, Crystal Twaddell at #FreshMarketFriday, Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory and Dawn Klinge at Grace & Truth.

10 Responses to How to Make a Family Photo Wall

  1. Crystal says:

    Oh this is beautiful! I have wanted to do this but just never knew how to begin. Set all the frames to the side (after taking a picture to use as a hanging guide), tape the paper diagram to the wall, install the hangers for the frames right through the paper, and hang the pictures-this is the part that always stopped me short. Brilliant! I think I have a new summer project:)

  2. Lisa notes says:

    This is absolutely the best, Lois. You did a wonderful job with your wall of photos. I wish I had the oomph to start such a project! I do have lots of family photos on the wall, but not arranged so beautifully. 🙂

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Thank you, Lisa! There are other special spots in my house, but I think this wall is my favorite. I don’t usually write posts like this, but it seemed like a fun way to celebrate Father’s Day! Glad you liked it!

  3. What a great wall of beautiful family memories!!!
    Blessings and smiles,

  4. Linda Stoll says:

    What a warm greeting each time you head downstairs, Lois!

    Sure beats boxes of memories tucked away never to be seen again …

    • Lois Flowers says:

      That’s so true, Linda! Why keep it if you can’t enjoy it, right? You also should know that your “Creating a Haven” series is what inspired me to change things up here a bit this week and do this post. I don’t think I’ve got a future as a DIY blogger, but it definitely was a fun thing to write!

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