One of my favorite things about our beach house is the gallery wall of family photos on our staircase. These photos are from our family vacations taken over the years. Every time I go up or down the stairs and glance at these photos, I relive a happy memory.
A Traveling Family
Our family loves to travel. For several years, instead of doing Christmas presents, my parents would take my family and my brother’s family on a fun vacation. Sometimes we would go snow-skiing, other times we would travel to a warmer climate. A Mediterranean Cruise was probably our biggest trip. We celebrated my parents’ 50th anniversary, mine and my husband’s 25th anniversary and our daughter’s graduation from high school and 18th birthday. We definitely made a lot of memories on that trip.
My mom and I decided that a blank stairwell would be the perfect place to showcase some of those memories. So, one rainy weekend at the beach, about seven years ago, I created the gallery wall we now enjoy so much. This is how I did it.
How To Create A Gallery Wall
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the original website I used but this one is pretty close. You can also google how to hang pictures and get some great information — much more than was available in 2013. This website also had some good ideas.
I picked out my pictures first and printed some in landscape and some in portrait and in a variety of sizes. I included some group pictures as well as individual pictures, especially of each grandchild. I did a few pictures of the iconic landmarks we visited like Stonehenge and the Ponte Vecchio. I used all dark brownish black frames but you could mix it up just as well. Once I had the pictures I wanted in frames, I used some construction paper to make a pattern for hanging the photos.
The website I referenced said to measure the same distance up from each stair step and use painter’s tape to make a diagonal line from top to bottom. My measurement was about five and a half feet but I noticed different websites suggesting different measurements. (I forgot to take a picture of this step).
Next, I hung the pieces of paper along the diagonal line, putting the center of the paper on the diagonal. That is the most important step because it creates a line of photos that will be pleasing to the eye. I then added the rest of the papers above and below the main line.
Once I had the shape of the pictures placed, I hung a photograph that corresponded to the paper shape. I tried to spread the pictures around so family members wouldn’t be clumped together. And, I have room to add a few more if I want to.
Seeing these photos as I’m going up and down the stairs warms my heart. I’m taken back to that tea in London with my daughter and my mom who took the photo. I can feel this woosh of the wind blowing up the skirts of my young nieces as they climbed some stairs in Santorini (the blonde in the white dress just turned 16)! I can remember the awe of looking up at the ceiling of the Sistene Chapel, like my niece.
Every photo tells a story. Every photo brings back a memory — a memory of good times with family before everyone grew up and traveling together became too difficult. We’ll always have our memories and this gallery wall will be a reminder.
If you have any questions about building a gallery wall on your stairway, I’d be happy to answer them for you.