How To Create An Easy Gallery Wall

UPDATE - After writing this post, I was inspired to dig in a little deeper. If you want the expanded version, go to the bottom of this page (or any page on the website) to get a copy of “How To Hang Your Art Like A Pro” in exchange for your email. I’ll also send you a short note every time I write another post!

Oh, I had fun with this one! Be sure to keep reading - the first two examples are very simple, but then I started using a different piece of software that kicked my examples up about 100 notches! If you would rather watch a video of this post, just scroll down to the end and you’ll see that your wish is my command.

But let’s start at the beginning. During my two hour design consultations, I’m often asked about where to hang the art that lucky people have collected over the years. This is one of those topics where a fresh set of eyes can really make a difference. I’ve got lots of ideas about how to place art and make it feel brand spanking new.

I often create a quick layout plan on digital graph paper with the measurements taken during the consult. A plan isn’t much good unless it’s pretty close to scale. Here are 2 layouts I created for a recent client:

Map out where your artwork will hang on graph paper before installing the hooks!

She had a collection of antique floral watercolors. 3 were the same size, 2 were just a little bit larger and one was larger still. The wall was 11’-6,” so I spaced them out equally, but let the largest piece have a bit more space at the end of the wall.

Try a couple of arrangements before hanging up your art.

I gave her a second option, which I liked better because I’m not big on lining everyone up in formation. I like “movement” to the arrangement, and this option gave her that.

Here’s where it gets even better.

There’s an app called Homestyler that I decided to give a whirl. While teaching myself how to use it, I focussed on showing a couple of ways to hang art on large walls.

See what you think:

This is a digital room and I’m pretending that the art sitting on the floor is your collection. It’s bits and pieces of varying styles and you’re thinking that it’s going to look like a hot mess if you hang it all together.

It’s not a hot mess at all, is it? Isn’t this app fantastic?!! Much easier to visualize than looking at shapes on graph paper. “I can’t visualize” is the most common thing clients say to interior designers, so this is a handy tool! I can even take a picture of YOUR wall and virtually hang the art up!

In this room, what I did to make all the art play together well was to put the black and white pieces together, use the large colorful piece as a focal point, placed the 3 smallest pieces in a row to visually “end” the first grouping and then let the large piece on the very end, which is a very different genre than the rest, lead your eyes to the large windows. Hmmm, if that doesn’t make sense to you, it’s okay. When I’m placing art, I’m thinking like this and it may not translate to the spoken word easily. Doesn’t matter, as long as the placement is pleasing in the end.

Here’s another gallery wall in the making:

This is an easy, cozy room with big windows looking out at a nice view. I put an accent wall in the back there and “painted” all the other walls a very soft purple/gray. To me, a touch of color warms up a room.

Now lets’ put art on the wall:

Ta-da! In this make-believe scenario, the homeowner has a collection of Americana posters, but also a partner who doesn’t want the whole room to feature that theme. I installed the Americana pieces on both sides of the door opening and used the wall before the table lamp as one section. The wall space on the other side of the table lamp features a beautiful photograph of a lake and mountain landscape. That landscape relates because it’s an example of the beauty of America (purple mountains majesty, get it?).

Then, as you turn the corner to the window wall, I placed a series of smallish mirror that matched by shape, but not by color and finish. AND when entering the space from the front door, those mirrors will reflect the wallpapered accent wall, creating more interest and texture.

I’m having SO much fun with this!

Here’s one more digital room for you:

Rooms like this one are gorgeous, but sometimes feel cold. Remember, this post isn’t about how to furnish a room—I’m just placing art. So instead of putting bookshelves or furniture in those recessed spots flanking the fireplace, I’m going to hang art. But you’ll see how the art warms things up!

Yes, I added one piece of furniture - the console table behind the sofa. I couldn’t help it. Let’s focus on the art. Right now a big trend is big art. That Gustav Klimt on the left is the star of the room, right? A large piece of art doesn’t need lots of little pieces filling up the rest of the wall. In those recessed areas flanking the fireplace, I hung a collection of black and white photographs on the right side. On the left side I put a tall vase on the floor, balanced by a vertical piece of art over it. Doesn’t it look wonderful? I’m loving the zen vibe of that wispy tree over on the right, but you could easily replace it with more art.

Ok, stepping out of the digital world now because I want to leave you with one more very easy tip that everyone can do. When the art you want to hang is feeling sort of small and lonely on the wall—or it just needs a little something, do this:

I’ve shown you this before, right here. Find a bigger frame somewhere —antique store, flea market, Goodwill, the attic, etc.. Use it as-is or jazz it up like I did with some leftover purple paint. It becomes the frame for the smaller art and will make you happy every single time you walk by it.

Here’s another version of this idea:

This sweet painted needlework, created by Elena Caron is about 4.5” in diameter. The faux wreath also isn’t very big, but it really gives that sweet lady a little more importance on the wall. I put this up during the Christmas holidays (she was a wonderful gift), but I can assure you that this will stay up all year long.

And of course I made a video for this blog post too! I promised myself that I’d keep making videos until they get better or I throw my hands up in surrender. They may not be better yet, but I’m not giving up!

I hope this was helpful!



P.S. Do you follow me on Instagram? It’s fun to post photos of easy, DIY projects there and it’s not quite the black hole that so much of social media can be.

I provide the BEST 2 hour design consultation, but my videos are pretty bad!

It’s true - I’m the self appointed Queen of Consultations in the Triangle. I’ve done a TON of 2 hour consults, leaving a trail of happy clients; many even schedule a second (or third!) consultation as they move through updates and renovations in their homes. I really enjoy my job.

But just like it’s a must for a thriving business to have a website, now it’s also a must for said business to make videos and attach them to that website. I’d rather chew off my arm than star in a video! I’m not looking to bedazzle anyone with my on-screen presence. I’m a working interior designer, guardian to an awesome (yet snarky) 13 year old grandson, wife, homeowner, friend, sister, pet owner, etc. You get my drift. Don’t I have enough to do?


It’s not enough that I help homeowners in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel HIll, Apex and Holly Springs create homes that make them smile, make entertaining easier and just make life a whole lot nicer? Not enough that they get results like this?

I’ll write a post about this homeowner’s update very soon - it’s nothing short of spectacular and finished on the DAY before Thanksgiving!

I’ll write a post about this homeowner’s update very soon - it’s nothing short of spectacular and finished on the DAY before Thanksgiving!

Or this:

Form meets function and falls in love.

Form meets function and falls in love.

Or this:

A fabulous window-seat update in the the arts & craft style of William Morris.

A fabulous window-seat update in the the arts & craft style of William Morris.

Or how ‘bout this one from an incredibly talented DIY client:

Adding trim, warming up the wall color, art, rug, lighting - all ideas from my design consultation. What a difference!

Adding trim, warming up the wall color, art, rug, lighting - all ideas from my design consultation. What a difference!

And we teamed up on this one as well (and many more):

A navy blue accent near the ceiling, stacked stone tile sandwiched between copper molding, copper framed mirror. This guy is fun to work with!

A navy blue accent near the ceiling, stacked stone tile sandwiched between copper molding, copper framed mirror. This guy is fun to work with!

Oh, I could go on and on, but Mr. Google wants videos as well as words and pretty photos. So here’s the first video I’ve made in a very long time. Truth be told, my older ones are even worse.

I send this video to potential clients who are on the fence about scheduling a 2 hour consultation. It lets them see my face and hear me say “um” about 100 times. Then they know I’m friendly and won’t bite and I’ve got enough ideas and enthusiasm to help them in a big way. Try not to laugh too hard. Do you want me to spend my time making videos or designing beautiful rooms?

I’m a MUCH better designer than video star! Go on over to my Contact page and let’s get the ball rolling on YOUR 2 hour consultation!

With sparkle and texture,


A GORGEOUS Master Bedroom Update!


Everyone deserves to have a gorgeous master bedroom. It’s where you start and end the day. I don’t care what else is going on in your home, starting and ending in a beautiful, restful space is a must.

This project was fun to work on.

Here’s the Before:


There’s nothing wrong with this bedroom other than it’s a bit dated. It was stunning about 10 years ago, but these clients were ready for a big change from all the dark red. I’ve helped them with much of the rest of their home and the other rooms lean toward a more casual vibe that brings the outdoors in.

We started with this Design Concept:


I think the only tweak we made in the end was the nightstands. Here’s the After:


The existing rug and the window treatments stayed, but everything else is new. The upholstered headboard, nightstands and bench are all from Ethan Allen. The custom bedding is from Eastern Accents. The accent wall was created with Stikwood.


I know, that wall is spectacular! The homeowner installed it himself—with the help of his brother-in-law, who is a carpenter. Both guys are meticulous, which is what you have to be to get everything nice, neat and even around window moldings.

Stikwood is an awesome product. It’s reclaimed wood with peel and stick tape on one side. Please just use the tape to position everything, then use finishing nails to adhere the wood to the wall.

The lamps on the nightstands are from Franklin Iron Works - they’re handsome and well priced.


We wanted a quiet vibe, but not a boring one. Here’s a design trick to keep in mind: make sure to have varying amounts of texture everywhere. The pillow shams have a nice sheen to them, the bedding is quilted and the bench at the end of the bed is velvety.

Is it time to for you to have a gorgeous master bedroom update? Call me for a 2 hour design consultation in your home and I’ll tell you how to do it!



Renovating Your Bathroom? I've Got 5 Designer Tips That No One Else Talks About!


I promise that I’ve never heard anyone talk about most of these tips that I want to share with you for your bathroom renovation. They make SUCH a difference to the final result! 

Our small master bathroom got a big update last year, but I haven't had a chance to show it to you until today.

Actually, we had two of the bathrooms in our sweet house completely renovated over the summer, one right after the other.  A little brave, but we wanted to bite the bullet and then be done

We learned a couple of things that form the basis of my tips.  The above picture shows the coffin, I mean, the shower.   Dark and narrow with a lowered ceiling. Who does this? Actually lots of builders in the 80’s did this. Here's another view of the room:


tallwood mba before 8.jpg


The vanity had two sinks--a really important feature in a tiny bathroom.  There's also a toilet, but you don't need that picture.  You know what a toilet looks like.

And now - the "After:"





Same space--can you believe it?  We knocked that coffin down--and discovered that the shower pan had been leaking underneath for YEARS!  Talk about good timing. Now there's light, glass, white subway tile on the walls, chrome accents and beautiful recycled glass tile on the floor.  The renovation was a journey (as all renovations are, right?).  




Good lord, look how pretty this is.  I don't mean to brag, but we really do love how this looks and functions now.  White Marble, acrylic pulls, pretty mirrors and that gorgeous Sea Salt interior paint color that Sherwin Williams has blessed the world with.

Home renovations aren't easy for anyone.  Here's my short list of what I learned on this one:


Gray_bathroom_cabinets copy.jpeg


Bathroom Renovation Tip #1 - Pay attention; no detail is too small.  Did you notice this in the photo? The contractor put white quarter round molding between the floor and the cabinet toe kick. I understand why he did it--he was "matching" the base molding in the rest of the room.  I didn't even think about it until everything was done.  That piece of molding should have been painted to match the cabinet.  I'll get around to it. Someday.  In the meantime, it bugs me.  First world problem.




Bathroom renovation tip #2 - look at the Big Box store's online selection of pulls and knobs.  These came from Home Depot.  They look very similar to ones carried by Restoration Hardware, at half the price,  I love them.


bathroom_before 2.jpg


Renovation tip #3 - pay attention to lighting.  Look at the "Before" above of the light fixtures.  The famous clown lights that every builder seems to adore. 

Since it's a small space and we were using LED bulbs in the new fixtures, we were able to remove the light inside the shower.  There's glossy white subway tile in there and a recessed can outside of the shower (you can see it reflected in the mirror) along with 2 lights on each side of the sink.  With all the glass, we could also taking better advantage of natural light coming through the window.  Any more lighting and it would have felt like showering during an interrogation (now that's a weird thought)!  Too much!




Reno tip #4 (the day is long, I'm obviously conserving my characters). Choose your wall color carefully in a tiny room with light and mirrors.  I LOVE Sherwin Williams Sea Salt on walls and I swear it often feels like  everyone in the U.S. has Sea Salt in some room in their home.  It's a well loved color and rightfully so. So soothing.  But when it first went up, everything suddenly had a greenish blue cast to it.  The floor, the walls, the tile.  I gave it a couple of days and all was well.  Some of the change was because of the LED bulbs.  Incandescent bulbs give off a very warm color, so switching to the LED meant we shifted to a soft white color.  In the end, soft white is a true-er color.  True-er?  Is that a word?



Tip #5 - don't tile anything all the way to the floor.  When a vacuum cleaner hits that tile, it will crack.  Sigh.  We'll fix that someday.


Soon I'll show you the results in the other renovated bathroom, which Grandboy uses.  If you have updated your bathroom in an older home lately, I'd love to hear what you learned!