DIY Artwork & Wall Decor DIY Projects - All John & Alice's Family Room DIY Projects John and Alice's Family Room Living Room Decorating & DIY

Sea-Inspired Gallery Wall

Last Updated on October 12, 2012 by Kristi Linauer

I think the last time I showed you the upholstered wall in John and Alice’s family room, it looked something like this…

j and a family room great wall progress 1

Since then, I’ve added the dark gray (pewter) ribbon to outline the upper panels (I still have to do the bottom panels).  And I’ve also moved the repurposed Craigslist dresser to that wall to hold the t.v.

craigslist dresser transformation 1

The dresser was looking very small against that huge wall, so the wall definitely needed something to give it some oomph.  It needed some drama.

So yesterday, I gathered a few supplies, and made a (somewhat) quick and easy gallery wall to give the wall the oomph and drama that it desperately needed.  I found eight frames on clearance from Michael’s for $9.99 each, and I also picked up a random assortment of shells, starfish, and sand dollars.    Then I added some spray primer, spray adhesive, hot glue, and dark brown linen to the mix.

gallery wall materials

And I created this gallery wall…

gallery wall 1

Obviously I have a few things to finish on the wall (like wrangling those cords, and finishing the bottom panels), but the wall finally has the oomph and drama that it’s been desperately needing.  And I love the additional texture that it adds to the wall as well.  (That’s the coffee table in the bottom of the picture.)

gallery wall 2

Now the t.v. is no longer the focal point of the wall, which is a very good thing in my opinion.

gallery wall 3

The entire gallery wall cost less than $150.  Not too bad for something that has such huge impact on the room!!

I have a couple more big projects for the room (like reupholstering the pair of mauve chairs that you see in the bottom right corner of the photo above), and then some accessorizing.  I can’t wait for it to be finished!!  I love the way it’s turning out.

Edit: Here’s how the gallery wall looks in the finished room…

Click here to see more of John & Alice’s finished family room.

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Katie @ Wildwood Creek
    June 15, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    This looks so amazing!  I must pay you the highest compliment and copy this.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    June 15, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    It looks wonderful!  How did you hang the ribbon border?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating
    June 15, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    I used a combination of my very favorite double-sided adhesive tape (specifically for fabric and ribbon, available at JoAnn Fabric), and hot glue.  I used the adhesive tape first, just to get the ribbon in place, and then went back and used a VERY thin bead of hot glue along the edges so that the ribbon would stay perfectly flat.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Anna Grace
    June 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Such a wonderful post…thanks for Share…
    check out my home products as well at home products.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Nancy U
    June 15, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Spray painting the shells and frames white was brilliant, it highlights the textures and makes the whole thing hang together by using the same colors throughout. My trouble is that I live in a very dusty area. I'd be cleaning that arrangement constantly! I'd have to either build shadow boxes with non-glare glass, or I'd use another color. I hear that gray is in… sigh.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    June 15, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    That looks so nice! 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    June 15, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    So I have a question that I have been wondering for a while.  You do all these projects that take a lot of work, know how, and time for your clients.  You save a lot of money by doing them.  But do they pay you full price for your work or do they get these services for a huge discount too?  I'm sorry if this is too nosey, but I have been wondering this for a while.  I'd love to expound on the three E rule for you.  Elegance, Ease, Economics.  You can never have all three together.  If you want something that is nice and economical, it isn't going to be easy.  If you want something elegant and easy, it aint going to be cheap.  And if you want cheap and easy, it isn't going to be elegant.  So if you are doing elegant and economical but it takes a whole lot of work.  Do you get compensated fairly?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Anne Sullivan
    June 15, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Oh man, I love the look of that!! I love the idea of painting them white and putting them on the same background color. It looks so classy!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating
    June 15, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Hi Jennie~
    I certainly understand your curiosity. To put it simply, the work that I'm doing in John & Alice's house isn't exactly "business as usual". With my other clients, I charge an hourly fee, and don't do tons of DIY projects (if any at all). I'm more of a consultant, purchaser, and overseer of contractors and projects.

    For John & Alice's house, I get a budget for each room, plus I charge a flat fee for my services. I can then determine how to use the money, how many DIY projects I want to put into the room, how much time I want to spend on them, etc.

    Am I compensated fairly? It's fair in that they pay me the amount we agreed upon. But yes, it's only a small fraction of the amount they'd be paying me if I were charging them my standard hourly rate. BUT…the payoff for me is that I get to do what I love (I had gotten incredibly bored with being a regular 'ole interior decorator, and I much prefer the hands-on DIY projects), plus I get to share tons of projects here on my blog and website. As a result, my traffic has increased drastically, as has the amount of money that I make on my website. So really, this experiment with John & Alice's house has been a win/win for both of us. They get beautifully decorated rooms on a relatively small budget, while I get to do what I love and blog more.

    Now with that said, I won't be keeping this pace for much longer. These are the last two rooms I'll be doing for John & Alice. After that, I might be back to more "business as usual", while focusing more on my own home in my free time. We'll see, though!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Ashley @
    June 15, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    LOVE the upholstered wall!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    June 15, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    The shell pictures look great…you a correct about the cords.  I am thinking one beige, white or grey extension cord with everything plugged into it behind the dresser.  Then everything will look neat and tidy.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kim Perdew
    June 15, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    LOVE the wall. I love shells so it really appeals to me….. are you doing a beachy type feel in the entire room????

    Also, along with other questions today……do you work with several clients at the same time? That is how I always had to work in the design field and I always wonder how you have so much DIY project time if you are juggling several clients. I think I know the answer tho…. are you the REAL Wonder Woman????

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating
    June 16, 2011 at 12:00 am

    I think there will be hints of a beachy feel, but nothing overt.

    I used to work with several clients at a time, sometimes up to 12 at a time.  But I stopped taking new clients at the beginning of this year, and finished up with existing clients so that I could just concentrate on getting John & Alice's family room and kitchen finished.  When I'm through with these rooms, I'm honestly not sure what I'm going to do.  I really don't want to go back to business as usual.  I like the DIY stuff way too much to go back to business as usual, so I'm still trying to figure it all out.

    The real Wonder Woman…lol!!  I wish!  😀

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Beverly Johnson Pennington
    June 16, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    That is beautiful!  The gallery wall makes that whole area sing. 

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    June 16, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Thanks for satisfying my curiosity.  You are amazing at what you do!  I wish you lived closer to me!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jayme Stewart
    June 17, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    How did you adhere the linen to the wall?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating
    June 17, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Are you talking about the blue fabric?  It's actually chenille, and I adhered it using Loctite 300 spray adhesive.  It's the super-strong stuff.  It's the only kind I'll use on this type of project.  I actually installed my own grasscloth in my bedroom using the Loctite 300 spray adhesive after having terrible results with wallpaper adhesive.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    The Outlaw Mom
    June 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Wow, I love this and it's such a great idea for something to add to the new black and white portrait wall I'm creating for our family room – thanks for sharing!  You made it look so easy, but I'm sure mine will not come out so clean – I'll try it anyway 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Melissa Riker
    June 22, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    That is beautiful!  Definitely one of my favorite ideas I've seen recently!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Beverly {Flamingo Toes}
    June 24, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    This really is so gorgeous Kristi!! I love everything about it! Thanks so much for linking up to Think Pink Sundays! I featured you today!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    June 24, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    I love this.  How did you attach the brown linen and the shells for the wall art.  It looks so beautiful and I would love to try that. 

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    just gorgeous! I need some art like this for our bedroom! I think I need to see if I can find some of those frames at Michael's! 🙂 The dresser turne out amazing as well. Love the colors. following!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Caron White
    October 30, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Hi!  Great idea, and just my style!   Hope you don't mind that we share on our Facebook page this week.  Great job.


  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    2011 Year In Review:: Favorite DIY Project Of The Year (Link Party!!)
    December 26, 2011 at 9:10 am

    […] Spice Rack, and the Fancy Chalkboard, but in the end, my favorite DIY project from the year is this Sea-Inspired Gallery Wall that I created for John & Alice’s Family […]

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Lesli @
    February 11, 2012 at 11:58 am

    What an awesome idea! I’ve been needing a solution like this for the bedroom. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Gene Tilby
    March 16, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    You are very talented, I love what that does for the room. The painted shells and starfish are a great idea, it all looks rather comfy!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Your room is beautiful! I was totally inspired by your shell art, and it was one of my “pinspirations” for the Pinterest Summer Challenge, you can see it here-

    <3 Alyssa

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Melinda Findell
    June 3, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    One word….STUNNING!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 21, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    I am decorating my new home and I come to your page for inspiration and ideas. Thank you so much for your beautiful and creative mind!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    May 28, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    How did you prepare the sand dollars and glue them to the frame? I collected sand dollars and some shells at the beach but hadn’t come up with an idea to display them. What you did is pretty!