One of the perks of attending a dinner party, aside from a night off of cooking, is the chance to get some new decorating ideas. Almost every home has a family/gallery wall, am I right? You have probably seen some really unique layouts, using a mixture of frames and images. But I’m also betting there were a fair amount that were equally  cringeworthy.

For a lot of people, putting a picture wall together is a high priority in their homes. Knowing how to create a wall is essential in taking this from a painful project to a standout decorating addition.

If you hop on Pinterest and search for “family picture wall,” you’re going to find an overwhelming number of ways to put one of these together. There’s no one way to do a picture wall, since every taste is different. There are lots of things to consider while you’re planning your wall, though.

Don’t just start hanging pictures willy-nilly. Do some real prep work to ensure that your wall turns out as special as what you have envisioned rather than yet another #PinterestFail. These tips should help:

Pick a theme.

You need something concrete to get you started in the planning stage. Choosing a theme can be a good place to start, since it’ll inform your image choices as you go through your photo library. A theme could be anything from “vacation photos” to “photos with the color blue in them.” The best photo walls have some kind of unifying theme, choose one before you get started.

 

Use technology to simulate your photo wall.

Art.com’s iOS app gives you the capability to not just imagine what an image or set of images will look like on your wall, it actually can virtually add those photos to the wall using augmented reality. The same technology that powers Pokemon Go can help you get great results with your family picture wall.

Choose cool frames.

The frames you choose are just as important as the images. If you’re looking for something pretty unusual, scour flea markets and antique shops for old frames with unique designs. If you can’t find anything that tickles your fancy, your home improvement store’s trimwork aisle will have some really fancy trim that you can use to build your own frames!

Incorporate more than photos.

Sure, it’s called a “picture wall,” but who says you have to stop there? Memorabilia from favorite spots, items that reflect interests and hobbies, even accolades like medals have a place on a wall like this. Just make sure that you’re using sturdy materials and secure shelves tightly to the wall to avoid long term issues.

Sometimes, fewer is better.

Picture walls can get pretty overwhelming fast. Instead of hanging every photo you’ve ever taken of your kids, pick the two best from now and the two best from their early childhood. Capture those moments that really meant something and remember that sometimes less is way more. Besides, you’ll want to save some of those embarrassing pictures for leverage later.

Good luck! We can’t wait to see the results.