tips for updating a photo wall

As a Navy family, we move pretty frequently, and this move is definitely no exception. Moving isn't easy, but I've found that hanging pictures on the walls helps make a new home feel like our home in no time. It makes all the difference. Today I'm sharing a few tips for updating a photo wall - something I'm usually able to knock out pretty easily.

When we moved into this house, I quickly broke out the hammer, nails and level and hung frames on the walls. The black Pottery Barn gallery frames hanging in our dining room were scattered throughout our last house, but this time I went for a simple grid pattern.

I used a large level to make sure I didn't hang anything crooked, but I also used it to guide my spacing by placing it next to each frame as I hung them and using the width to mark the edge of the next frame. Unfortunately, I got these frames on the wall and then left them sitting like this for the next four months. 

Here's what the wall looked like before, with random photos that carried over from our last house and blank frames where we had vertical-oriented photos - thankfully I had the sense to remove those from the frames four months ago! This is the view from my kitchen counter.

First things first, I printed the photos. I knew I wanted a mix of color with black and white, and I wanted snapshots rather than formal photos. I figured I'd leave the color photo of my sister, brother-in-law and nephew up there until we have a new family photo to replace it this spring.

I think I'm going to keep this wall just the four of us, but I didn't want the photos to be too matchy-matchy. So there are a couple of more minimalist shots of the boys mixed in with "busier" shots of the family. I laid them out on my desk before I got to work hanging.

I used washi tape to adhere the photos to the mats. The washi lifts really easily from the paper and photos without tearing.

Once I got the photos up I couldn't believe how much better I felt looking into that room. We'd moved the microwave in there when an outlet broke in our kitchen, but we've since had it fixed so the microwave doesn't have to be on our sideboard anymore. I returned it, then tidied up the table, dusted everything and felt my blood pressure start to decrease.

Here's a shot of the wall with less glare.

I couldn't believe how such a small project made such a big difference, and I'm left wondering what took me so long! Do you ever put off small projects like this? Do you have any small-ish projects you're currently putting off? Any tips for creating photo walls and collages?

further reading: designing a collage-style photo walla DIY frame series in the nursery, thoughts on moving with the militaryI decorated my nieces' bedroom (lots of ideas for frames)