how to create the perfect picture wall

Hey, guys! Remember last week when I said I had some exciting news and then I didn’t even tell you what it was? Now I’m ready.

I added another mother to the mix of RAD mom COOL kid and I’m so happy and excited to see where the blog will go from here!  Her name is Stephanie and she’s my sister-in-law. You can learn a bit more about her here. Her first post is below, so show her some love and welcome!  Take it away, Steph…


So excited to be joining RAD mom COOL kid!

For my first post, I thought I would tackle the illusive picture wall.  Because, let’s be honest, how many pictures like this do we come across on Pinterest?


 Photo Credit: Pinterest

Gorgeous, right?

 Applying it to our homes in real life= Measuring? Level? Nails? Hammer? Frames?  Do I even know how to use a hammer? Confusion.  Intimidation.  Cue defeat.

Until now.

Let me back up a bit.  Growing up, my dad refused to let us paint our walls or hang pictures up.  He grew up in an artistic home where his dad valued clean lines, white walls, and sharp angles. My dad carried that philosophy in to our home as well.  Seriously though, guys.  I finally talked my dad in to letting me hang a picture of horses above my bed  one year for my birthday (HUGE deal), and it stayed there from age 6-21.

So, I promised myself that when I got married, I would decorate my house however I wanted to.  And if that meant I painted my kitchen green, yellow, red and maroon—my husband would just have to deal.

And then, I married an industrial designer’s son.

Who had opinion’s about decorating.

Which brings us to this post.  It took Lane and I over a year of living in our current home to decide what to do with the wall behind our couch.  We both had really different opinions on interior decorating and were constantly disagreeing on what to hang there.

In order to spare ourselves more sleepless nights, tears and smeared mascara (bahaha jk guys), we decided on a picture wall.  I LOVE picture walls, but they seemed pretty tedious .  But, we did research and took the time to make it look good.  We are so happy with the results! This was SUCH a great choice for us.  A picture wall can be done in a bazillion different ways and can reflect whatever style you want it to.  It was the best solution for our different ideas.


Step #1:  Decide on a style.  Picture walls can either be extremely abstract or very symmetrical.   Deciding which style you want on your wall will determine the kinds of frames you want.  If you want it to be more symmetrical, I recommend buying frames that are similar in shape and color.  If you are doing a collage that is a little bit more abstract, pick out some pops of color you want to appear on your wall.  You can also play around with different shapes and styles with a more abstract wall.

Photos Credit:,

Step #2: Buy your frames.  We hit up Ikea and Hobby Lobby.  Hobby Lobby alternates their sales over the course of 3 weeks.  So, if picture frames aren’t on sale this week… they will be either next week or the week after.  Or, you can always use their coupons found here.  Either way, you don’t need to spend a lot to make a picture wall look great.  Amazon is another great place to look.

Step #3: The next 2 steps should be done simultaneously.  Lay out your frames on the floor.  This was the best way for us to arrange things with out lots of taping and tracing on our wall.  It made it super easy for us to get an idea of how things were going to look.  I found a few different diagrams of picture walls on Pinterest that helped us figure out the best way to lay things out.

Picture Credit:

Step #4:  This is the most IMPORTANT step in creating the perfect picture wall.  Create lines of symmetry. An abstract wall collage without lines of symmetry will look off.  Always.  I promise.  If you haven’t seen picture walls without lines of symmetry, go look on Pinterest.  They look messy and unorganized.  Not fun.  Now when I say create lines of symmetry, here’s what I mean.  Create a line, or even a few lines, to work around.  Create an imaginary line below all of the frames, above the frames, in the middle, or if you are working on a stair case; a diagonal line, that you can line all of the frames up against.  Here’s a few guides to help.

design formula2 design

Picture Credit:,

And here are the lines I created in my collage.

picture wall 1

Don’t feel like the wall has to be evenly weighted on both sides.  That’s the beauty of a collage!  If you have these lines of symmetry, it will make it so much nicer to look at because things will be aligned, even if they have a bunch of different shapes and sizes of frames.

Once you’ve got stuff laid out how you want it, take a picture! It’ll help make it easier to transfer it to the wall.

Step #5:  Hang the frames.  Grab a pencil and a level.  Measuring is key here.  Don’t be afraid to make marks.  Pencil comes off of paint super easy.

Step #6:  Fill your frames with your own pics!  You can do this step whenever you want to in the process.  For me, it helped to do it after I had everything hung up so I could see which pictures would look best in the different frames.

Picture wall 4

As you can see, we still have one frame filled with the generic  picture that came with the frame.  If anyone has seen The Switch with Jennifer Aniston, we like to make up stories about the fake picture models in the frame and pretend they are our friends (one day we will agree on a picture to put there).   Best conversation piece ever.

Even though it took us a year to get something up on this wall, I love it.  I was able to personalize it and make it my own.  I think a picture collage is such a great idea for a big wall.

What idea’s do you have for your picture walls??

Sponsors // Affiliates


  1. Haha, I know how you feel! My husband is an electrical engineer and is so analytical and has an opinion about how decorate in our house too. It can be a bummer because I have all of these creative and eclectic ideas and most of them get shut down. Love your wall, it looks great!

    • So glad someone out there feels my husband-actually-cares-how-my-house-is-decorated pain! Haha! I’m just glad they invented Pinterest so that I can live vicariously through all those designs :).

  2. I have been wanting a picture wall for so long! I love, love, LOVE pictures and have a million of them. I just need to do it – this will help :) Pinning!

    • Picture walls are the best! Especially if you have tons of pictures. I love swapping my pics out every once and a while… best way ever to display everything you want to remember!

  3. I love how your wall turned out. I need to be brave and pencil out some lines!

  4. Love all these examples and tips. Love your wall!

  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE this! Great post. I used this concept when putting up pictures in my living room. I want to try out the different patterns that you’ve shared though. Thanks for the great post!

    • Thanks Kami! I love that rearranging frames or trying a new pattern can completely change the feel of the room. Cheapest/best revamp ever!

  6. Great job. I enjoyed this post a lot. Very informative.

  7. Hahaha! I also married and industrial designer’s son & it surprises me how many opinions he has. Also, I LOVE The Switch! Great film.

  8. I am married to the industrial designer’s other son…he missed the ‘designer’ influence though and has ZERO thoughts/idea/cares about style in general. This trait is annoying because I don’t get any feedback except, “sure, okay, or, ummmmmmm….” Come on!

  9. The lines in the collage diagrams kind of remind me of the game Tetris!

  10. I have a similar wall behind my couch that NEEDS photos. I’m so glad I found this. And your ‘lines of symmetry’ tip is genius!

  11. That’s so symmetrical and organized! Oh, boy, we have easily a hundred framed photos on one of the walls of the house. We’ve been just adding them over the years. It’s like a jungle in there. I could have used this post when I just started out…

  12. Welcome! This is a GREAT post! I have wanted to do a picture wall on the stairwell for years and have been too scared to try it! This post outlines the steps so easily…it will be on my summer to do list!

Rad Mom Cool Kid

Rad Mom Cool Kid