Arranging a Photo Wall Display for Impact

In our Dallas house, we filled our entire stairwell space with a wall display of black and white family photos. It worked well in a space that would have otherwise been boring and blank.

Photos Along StairsAlthough for years we enjoyed the look, I wanted something different for our new Fayetteville home. Plus our Fayetteville stairwell is very narrow. I imagined if we hung our photos along the stairs, we would constantly brush against them resulting in forever straightening picture frames. That would make me crazy.

Instead, we chose an empty corner just outside our bedroom.

Empty Wall - Perfect spot for wall grouping

First off, this is not a post about how to measure so that you end up with flawlessly positioned frames. There are tons of pictures on Pinterest about templates and measuring if you are a stickler for perfectly aligned pictures. I’m just not that worried about it. Ask my husband…I think I make him nervous with my free-spirited hammering.

Unless we are hanging a heavy piece of artwork that involves screws and toggle bolts, I do minimal measuring and try not to sweat it. The only real “prep” I do is placing photos on the floor to roughly decide an arrangement. And the arrangement never ends up the way it starts. Even so, I do have a few tips that work for me.

1.) Pick a prominent frame/photo to serve as the focal point. 

arranging a photo display - start by laying pictures on the floor

my original general design laid out on the floor


2) Locate the center of your space (sometimes I measure this). Once I hang the focal point photo, I typically abandon my first arrangement and begin holding up various photos until I find the next one that speaks to me. (You can use Command Strips if you are worried about nail holes, but I use picture hangers.)

3.) Hang photos 1-2 inches apart for a stylish, modern look that doesn’t seem contrived. I like to think of my style as Elle Decor meets Billy Reid, a bit eclectic yet not too over the top.

4.) After hanging a few of the center photos, live with the look for a few hours before adjusting or adding more. If something is off, you will notice. If you have a large collection of framed photos like I do, usually switching out the picture with a different sized frame will rebalance the look (rather than making another nail hole).

5.) Keep frames and photos in the same color family. They don’t have to be identical in shape, color, material, but they should complement each other. I used different color wood, antique frames, black and white and sepia toned photos.

6). Break the look up with something different to add interest. I hung a wooden cross and small vintage oil painting.

7.) Wrap the wall with photos to make an impact in a small space.

how to arrange a photo display

The plant in the corner softens the whole look plus adding something alive always makes me happy. (SaraBeth if you are reading this, your plant is doing well!)

how to arrange a photo display

This look may not be for everyone, but after stressing about it (and calling in my sister-in-law for her opinion), I’m enjoying the final result. Plus I love having our family members together in one place.

photo wall display

Now, you know those photos you’ve been meaning to hang forever? Get to it.

Grace Grits and Gardening

Farm. Food. Garden. Life. 

“A photograph shouldn’t be just a picture, it should be a philosophy.”
― Amit Kalantri

Musical Pairing:

Paul Simon, Kodachrome

my 29 second gourmet breakfast

29 Second Gourmet Egg

There’s no reason not to eat a healthy and delicious breakfast. If you’ve got 29 seconds, you can dine on a gourmet-ish egg cooked in your microwave. This is one of my favorite quick breakfasts. Okay really you’ll need a full minute when you add in prep, but what a great tradeoff. One minute for protein and vitamins!

This egg is so simple.

Crack an egg in one of those small measuring bowls, the sort cooks use to line up all their ingredients on food shows.

Give it a stir.

Add your favorite spices. I added a smidge of tarragon, cayenne and freshly ground black pepper.

Stir again.

Cover with a paper towel and cook in the microwave for 29 seconds on high. (Every microwave is different. You will need to experiment to find out the perfect time for your egg.)

Top with a dab of goat cheese. I bought yummy White River Creamery (Elkins, Ar) artisan goat cheese at Fayetteville Farmer’s Market. (Follow White River Creamery on Facebook.) They are an Arkansas Made & Arkansas Grown company.

I added a few currant tomatoes from my sister-in-law’s garden and there you have it, an easy yet impressive breakfast. Oh and there was coffee, of course.

29 second gourmet breakfast

Grace Grits and Gardening

Farm. Food. Garden. Life.




Simple Pleasures #3

This was a week filled with friends, new and old, including my first overnight guest.

friends - simple pleasures

with Colene (left pic) and Donna (right pic)


I made a trip to Sharum Gardens with my sister-in-law. Pumpkins were buy one get one free. Pansies were $10/flat. Is there a happier flower? I don’t think so.

Pansies - Simple Pleasure

I finally made it to Rick’s Bakery on College. Omgoodness yum. Cookies = simple pleasure.

cookie from rick's bakery- simple pleasure

I spent the weekend in Eureka Springs—the quiet drive from Fayetteville was a simple pleasure.  Stunning landscape. Hillsides covered with grasses and flowers, the names I don’t know. Old barns. Hay bales. Cows and horses. Country churches and family cemeteries. I’m still pinching myself that I actually get to live in Northwest Arkansas.

I also wandered into a great organic market in Eureka and bought a huge cup of freshly roasted coffee on a drizzly morning. A simple pleasure indeed.

fresh coffee

Grace Grits and Gardening

Farm. Food. Garden. Life.