We Finally Have a Family Photo Wall

July 18th, 2009

One of the things I managed to accomplish during my recent blog hiatus, was to re-paint the center hall, and finally hang up some family photos!  I considered painting the above bench in one of the colors on the paint chips, but by the time I had painted the hall (in the same boring off white that it was before) and hung up all the photos, I was far too limp and pale and weak and exhausted to paint that bench.  





To hang the photos, I found a pleasing pattern by laying them out on the floor.  Some of these photos were taken by Mrs. Mama last Fall.  Some of them are wedding photos taken by Rick Mitchell in Lawrence, Kansas and a few I took myself.

I got the frames with the wide mats at Target.  I couldn’t decide which style of frame I liked the best, so I eventually bought a few of each variety.  The wedding photos were framed a long time ago in the cheapest frames I could find.  





I cut newspapers to the size of the frames and hung them up just like I had laid them out on the floor.  I quickly decided that the frames were going to go up too high on the wall and they seemed to draw my eye right to the ugly doorbell and the unsightly wall vent… so I trudged back to the drawing board and started all over again.  





I re-organized the photos to have less height and more width.





I re-hung the newspapers….

And I re-hung them

and re-hung them

and re-hung them…

Until my freshly painted walls were covered in enough newspaper ink to completely disguise the fact that they ever were freshly painted walls.






I eventually found something that I thought I could live with and I started hanging photos.





I started in the center, screwing the wall mounts right through the ‘x’ I had marked on the newspapers.





I kept going…





And kept going…






I am not much of a perfectionist, so I was relying heavily on gestalt and luck and an innate reckless abandon that has guided me throughout my entire life.  














I think it turned out pretty good!  The hallway is not nearly as bleak and soul-less as it was.  Did you know that I did this exact same project once before?  The problem with family photos is that they just keep changing.  How many more times will I re-do this wall?  And what about that bench?  Do you think it could use some color?








And how long until I find a spot for all the left-overs?


  • Ohhh…I am so into painting furniture now…but I wouldn’t touch that bench..it is a beautiful piece and the wood colour is lovely.
    JMHO :-) for what it’s worth!

  • Martha in Kansas:

    Outstanding job! They look great. You must be very weak and shakey after all that?

    I agree with Sue that you should NOT paint the bench. The wood is beautiful. However, I would suggest you touch that vent cover with a bit of the wall paint. I think it would nearly disappear if it was the same color as the wall. (Can you paint the doorbell cover too?)

  • Rechelle:

    Paint the vent and doorbell cover? Brilliant! I would never have thought of that Martha. Thanks! I will do it.

  • Spinoff:

    No, no, no, don’t touch the bench! It’s gorgeous. The bench and the doorframes frame your arrangement. Beautiful.

  • notmuchofacook:

    The wall looks great. Don’t paint the bench, but you can add some color with a cushion or a few pillows.

  • Kathy from NJ:

    I agree with the majority, do not paint the bench. Also agree with adding a cushion or pillows.

    The next time you use newspapers on your freshly painted walls, iron the newspapers first and the ink won’t rub off.

  • Well, Rechelle, this is the first post I’ve read from you in what seems like eons, and you have managed to depress me by reminding me of TWO things I haven’t yet done. I have no wall of family photos. I do have a few on a display case and the hearth and a self portrait by my brother hanging on the wall. Most of my family photos are 5 or 6 years old. It’s disgraceful! Secondly, I have this big honkin’ return air vent in stark white. My walls are kind of goldish tanish splotchy, which means this big honkin’ vent sticks out waaaaay more than it would on a white wall. Danny keeps telling me I should paint it to match the wall instead of complaining. Ha! Do you know how much of a pain in the hiney that’s going to be? I really question the need for return air vents at all. Surely they can’t be that important. I did hang a two things on that wall in the last week that help draw the eye away from the big ugly vent, but it’s still there mocking me.

    Even though I’m depressed about my utter failure in this area, I’m very happy for you that you got this done. That must feel good. (Go ahead, pat yourself on the back. You deserve it!) The photo wall looks fab! As for the bench needing color, I think you should just stick some nice, brightly colored pillows on the ends or maybe throw a beautiful old quilt over one arm, but that’s me. I do not suggest an afghan OR an Afghan.

    So happy to see you blogging again! Sure, I know you’ve got a real life, too, but the next time it rears its ugly head and considers interfering with the blog, just tell it I said to stick it, okay? (Just kidding. I think.)


    PLEASE – don’t paint the bench! Seriously – it’s perfect.

    I *was* thinking you were going to use one of those color chips for the wall! (My Mom would have – but we’ll talk about dementia another time! :))

    Nicely done!

  • Excellent job; it looks GREAT!! Yes, BRIGHT colored pillows on the bench. :)

  • Margaret:

    don’t paint the bench. it’s gorgeous. Did you notice that the paint chips match the jacket you have on in the picture to the right of your writing? Use those colors for a pillow or two.

  • First and Foremost – Dina! I thought surely the color chips were for the BENCH – who said anything about dementia!?!?!? HA!

    Second – I imagine you are so proud to have this done – it makes me want to change my walls, as well.

    (…and who knew ironing newspaper whould keep the ink from coming off all over ?) I’ll be telling this little ditty at work on Monday!

    ~Mad(elyn) in Alabama

  • I’m with everyone else….the photo wall is fantastic. You did a wonderful job on that….and PLEASE don’t touch the bench….the wood is gorgeous. Make a cushion in one of those colors and it will look great!

  • Congratulations – it looks great! I like how you’ve matted and framed everything.

    I so need to do something like this. :)

  • Linda:



    I think the bench would look great with some color. Do it!

    You have inspired me to finally hang up some family photos. Your wall looks great.

  • Love the Wall!!! Love the Bench!!!

  • Kellye:

    Wow – it looks great. Congratulations on taking on and finishing such a big project. I don’t think I have the stamina to do something like that while I am raising these boys.

  • Edie:

    I would put some pillows, or a cushion, or even a small throw on the bench in the reddish color that is in several of the picture backgrounds. That will make it pop!

  • Tish:

    Don’t paint the bench! I love old wooden pieces. I agree with Edie and would add some bright pillows and/or a cushion to the bench, and a bright throw rug or runner to the hallway floor. And painting the photo wall one of the paint chip colors would certainly add a pop of color to the space!!

  • Dee from Tennessee:

    Wow…what a project. It turned out just right. (And , who knew? Paint the vent cover? Who knew!?! Love that!)

  • I almost computer slapped you when you said you were going to paint that bench… GAH! its great like it is!!! LOVE the way you hung the pictures!! Looks Great!

  • No-o-o-o-o! don’t paint the bench! It’s beautiful as is–I agree with the those who say paint the wall with one of those wonderful colors! Or if you’re like me and don’t wan to paint, get some colored cushions for the bench. It looks great! I love the large mats on some of the pictures.

  • Theresa from Alberta:

    Step away from painting the bench!!!!
    That was a BRILLANT idea using the newspapers on the wall to decide your arrangement of the photos. (saves on polyfil and time). You have such patience!!!! Excellant job.

  • Shay:

    Do not paint that gorgeous bench! It’s perfect just that way.

    Great idea with the newspapers!

  • Don’t paint the bench. I think the newspapers look great. why not just frame them? It could be a real converstion piece. Your Guests would be all “CDW why do you have a sale page from KMart framed on your wall?” See I should be an interior decorator.

    Oh and just for the record. I have NOTHING, I repeat NOTHING hanging on my walls. I still have to paint my walls. If I ever get to go home I WILL paint my walls, then Kahuna will throw a fit because I want to put nails in his freshly painted walls. ;)

  • Judy Lynn:

    Looks great, just needs a tailored but inviting cushion. Thinking pillows may be too much.

  • A bench cushion. I like that idea. That bench doesn’t lend itself to pillows.

    Gestalt, luck, and snap decision-making typically rule my life, too… and I haven’t screwed it up too badly yet! Yay for all of the above!

  • SoCalLynn:

    I love the bench the way it is, but I would add some pillows or a cushion. Your photo gallery turned out beautifully.

  • martina:

    The wall looks great! The bench looks good just the way it isl. If you paint it you will have to keep on retouching it as the boys throw things on it, etc. Just think of it as natural antiquing. A readymade bench cushion would look very nice.
    Can you cover up the doorbell speaker with a shadow box or something? Nothing that would block the sound but something that would make it less obvious.

  • Melissa:

    When I saw the paint chips propped on the bench I thought you were going to paint the wall one of those colors. I think you should paint the wall again! Maybe a lighter version of one of those colors. But wait until you are no longer weak and shaky. Maybe have a scone and a cup of tea first….

  • Don’t shoot me, but like a few others have said, I would so (re)paint that WALL one of those deep rusty-orangey-red colors.

  • Me too!! I would use some bold color on the wall and then you would not have to commit a sin and paint that wonderful bench. Besides with some color on the wall you will be suprised how great that bench would look! You will wonder what took you so long to paint tha wall!

  • ms martyr:

    Leave the bench alone. It is perfect as is.

    Nice job with the photos. Do you have another large wall somewhere for the extras?

  • Nice job with the photos. Can you come do a photo wall for me??? Others have already said it, but don’t paint the bench … go with the bright-coloured cushion or cushions!

  • Lisa:

    I agree with those that say don’t paint the bench, but I would definitely paint that wall with one of the colors you’ve chosen. I love them!

  • Debbie S.:

    Photos look great. And I wouldnt touch the bend either. Paint the wall one of those colors you chose. Although I’m sure you dont want to repaint now.

  • Debbie S.:

    Oops, I meant dont paint the “bench”

  • Tammy:

    Don’t touch that bench — it’s gorgeous!! Your wall is lovely.

  • marewood:

    Don’t paint the bench. It needs a pretty pad to cushion the blow when everyone drops books, backpacks, bats, gloves… (you get the idea) on it as they pass through. Love the wall – thanks for the inspiration; although, now I’ll have to take a week off work.

  • Do not paint the bench. A #1, it is great the way it is – au naturale. B #2, if you ever change your mind it will be horrid to strip.

  • jo:

    I agree with the others, don’t paint the bench, it’s perfect the way it is and adding some cushions, throw rug or indoor potted color will give you that “pop” you’re looking for! I think the photo placement is excellent. Good job!

  • Laura:

    How about some colored Mats on the pictures to match pillows or a pad on the bench?

  • You are SO orgnized Martha..er..Rechelle. I just plop the dang things up there and see what happens…they’d look better if I had used newspaper first, tho. Looks great!

  • M.R.:

    I am right in there with the “Don’t Paint that Bench!” crew. It is a beautiful bench. Cushions, yes, to add splashes of color. But DON’T PAINT THAT BENCH!

  • Margie:

    Noooo, please, please do NOT paint that bench. As others have said, add some colorful pillows or a throw. But please do not paint the bench.

  • Okay! Okay! I promise not to paint the bench. I will happily cross painting the bench off of my list! Besides! This frees up more time to stare into space and I am always desperate for that!

  • I love your picture wall but I agree with those who said paint the wall behind the photos with one of the paint chips. Then use a cushion on the UNPAINTED bench with some of the wall color in it. Definitely paint the register and doorbell cover to blend in.
    I think a print of some sort with the wall color in it would be great and maybe with some yellow and green and blue to pull the colors from your hutch in the kitchen….just a thought. I do think the hall looks a little blah without much color to spark it. Just my thoughts but as one former art major to another. 3rd floor Strong in the old days!!

  • oklahoman:

    Paint the wall in one of those gorgeous orange colors..the pictures would pop and you would salvage the integrity of the bench!! Color, girl, color!!

  • angela r j:

    please don’t paint the bench. add color with pillows or a seat cushion if you must, but i really like the look of the wood, and since i know what i’m talking about all the time… oh wait, never mind. but i say keep the bench as is.

  • How about a small throw over one of the arms (if not pillows) and a colorful runner on the floor?

    I enjoyed this, the garden, and the roasted tomato sauce.

  • I already knew to arrange pics on the floor first, but the newspaper templates is a new one that I should’ve thought of. Thanks! (Don’t paint the bench!)

  • Just happened in here and enjoyed your picture hanging — the hall looks great but I have to agree with Margaret and Joanna– don’t touch that bench!!!!! Wax it, oil it, but don’t paint it please. The wood is beautiful and it goes soooooooo well with the staircase and the woodwork– colorful cushions are the answer yes yes yes