The guide to a well hung gallery wall

Gallery walls are hard. Heck, art in general is VERY hard. I find it to be the most personal, most difficult and therefore most fraught decision with my clients. Often I give them my favorite sources and make them narrow it down to what they like, and then with our approval we pull the trigger because if I shop for them they will end up being billed for hours and hours of my time to maybe find a print they might like. This is why I wish there were art dealers who specialize in more moderate art consulting for residential homes – someone who knows the market better than myself, but isn’t going to try to sell us $10k paintings when our budget is $1k. Know anyone? (I’m working on an updated version of ‘best online art‘ right now – stay tuned).

Anyway, once you have finally bought some pieces of art that you love then its time to curate them into a gallery wall (unless they are huge and can stand on their own). Just like we did in the January issue of Family Circle.

EmilyHenderson_FamilyCircle_January2015

So what really makes a good gallery wall???

Well, before I get in to the steps I want to preface it by saying something that might be perceived as discouraging – your gallery wall is only as good as the art you have in it. A really good gallery wall, like a really good living room, either takes a lot of money (art can be VERY expensive) or a lot of time scouring and collecting from different resources. It absolutely doesn’t need to be expensive – I’m a MASSIVE fan of thrift store and flea market art as well as prints of originals, but it takes a while to curate that.

So if you have some random pieces lying around and you attempt a gallery wall, it may not work. Be patient. The art below is a mix of my friends art, prints that I like, originals that I borrowed, some splurges and flea market art. But it did take me a while to curate it and I’m a designer and a shopaholic. This is not to discourage you – but instead to encourage you that it just takes a bit of time to curate the right collection, so have some patience and don’t just throw a bunch of random pieces on the wall.

Emily Henderson Gallery Wall Family Circle

Art (L to R): Oil Landscape with Clouds: Vintage | Abstract Neon Painting by Kate Smithson| Tree Collage: Vintage | Polaroid Collage by Jen Gotch| Flower Photograph by Jen Gotch| Blue Circle Sun Print: DIY | Pink Abstract Drip Painting Jamie Derringer| Beach Photograph by Max Wanger| Huge abstract Green and Blue Painting: Vintage | Abstract Shapes Sketch by Ken Horne| Pen Ink Drawing: Vintage | Pink and Purple Abstract by Kate Smithson| Man Portrait: Vintage | Blue and Purple Abstract  by Kate Smithson

OK, so the first step is to anchor the collection with a larger piece. Like so:

Emily Henderson Gallery Wall Instructions1

If you have one million smaller pieces it will look bitsy and messy. You need at least 1 piece that feels commanding to start the collection.

Emily Henderson Gallery Wall Instructions2

Vary the sizes and orientation of the art – You need both horizontal, vertical and if you can, square, to make it feel balanced. I bought that skinny tree collage 2 years ago at an antique store for $125  after eyeing it for 2 years. It was kinda expensive which is why it took me 2 years to commit. But I think it does something interesting to the collection – it throws it off in a good way. So if you see pieces that you like that are oddly shaped or sized, don’t skip those. That is a very good thing.

And while you want a big pieces to anchor, smaller pieces are really nice to fill in and keep your eye bouncing around. So big, small, vertical and horizontal.

Next – keep your rivers kinda even (they definitely don’t have to be exactly the same) – just make sure they aren’t too close (looking crammed) or floating too far away from each other (looking accidental).

Emily Henderson Gallery Wall Instructions4

What about frames, you ask?

Emily Henderson Gallery Wall Instructions4_

If your art is INCREDIBLE then don’t worry about your frames – just collect and hoard and it will most likely look rad because ‘pretty always looks good next to pretty’. Frame for the piece not the space, as they say.

BUT, one way to help make a collection look cohesive and still high-end is to curate the frames and keep them in your color palette. Here we used white and light wood tones. Had there been a black frame in here it would have been jarring. Of course if you had many black frames in here, and tied it in with the pillows and perhaps a rug, then that would look great and intentional. But I promise that a more refined curation of frames will elevate the entire collection. We used all Target frames except for the vintage pieces or the pieces that were already custom framed. I love the white or light wood ones from the Room Essentials line; they are super simple and their mats are surprisingly high-end looking.

Frames: Wood Frame with White | 2 Opening Frame (similar, that one was custom framed when we bought it) | White Gallery Frame Large | White Gallery Frame Small: Target | All Other Frames: Vintage or custom framed.

Other tips that are fairly crucial –

Make sure to have a consistent color palette BUT don’t get OCD about it – give yourself some room to bring in small hits of other colors so you don’t look like a crazy uptight person.  We started with blues, pinks and whites but there are a lot of oranges, greens, purples, etc – it’s really just a smattering of colors but they all feel light and happy.

The more different mediums of art, the better. I this one we have abstract paintings, an oil painting, original photography, prints (the Ken Horne piece is a collage but we just have a print of it), abstract drawing, pen drawings, Polaroids and collages. Clearly you don’t need ALL of those, but a collection of just prints might look a little junior, and to help elevate it to looking more grown up grab yourself a painting or two from the flea market.

Pepper around the heavier pieces evenly on the wall – in other words don’t hang all the visually heavy (dark) pieces together.

Family-Circle-Gallery-Wall-1

I mean, I could watch that GIF all day. So fun.

Lastly lets talk about how to actually hang it up there. You either need a lot of patience or a lot of guts. If you are ‘anti-random accidental holes in your wall’ then you should go to the trouble of making templates of the frames and taping them up to make sure you like the composition. This takes patience and time but delivers a solid no-fail result. A lot of those frames actually have a template inside them (on the white backing paper) that tell you where the nail hole is which is very handy.

I don’t have the patience for templates. If I think its going to be a complicated job then I will lay it out on the floor in front of the wall with a rough idea of where its going to go, but most of the time I simple just go for it and if I have to patch a hole, then I patch the hole (lets face it I RARELY care enough to patch a hole). Most of the smaller pieces just need a tiny nail so the hole is really small and frankly usually get covered up by the art anyway.  The larger pieces might have a bigger hole or two holes but if you start with them and if you are intentional about where they go, you won’t need to move them.

gallery wall

And there I am, looking very satisfied with my art wall (and kinda snarky!) in the magazine.

Couch: Amsterdam Modern (vintage) | Blue Throw: Vintage | Side Table: Vintage | Ceramic Table Lamp | Brass Cup: Vintage | Pink Box

*Family circle photography by Daniel Hennessy. Hair and makeup by Danielle Walch, with extra styling help from Scott Horne and Brady.

In case you aren’t satsfied by ‘Gallery Wall Porn’ yet, here are a few others that I’ve done that have a bit of a different look, but you’ll notice the same tips still apply:

art-wall

Cup of Jo home makeover Shot By Ryan Liebe.  The art helps take the focus away from the TV.

Emily-Henderson-+-Curbly_diningroom01

The Curbly family dining room makeover. Shot by Melissa Oholendt. A more modern family photo ‘grid’ where the entire collection fills a the shape of a square instead of an organic shape.

gallery wall

Oh Joy studio art wall (click for link/resources). Shot by Zeke Ruelas.  A wild smattering of fun art – floor to ceiling, wall to wall.

gallery-wall-in-living-room

And this one was in Orlando’s house (he designed it, I just helped style it and featured it on my blog).  Shot by Zeke Ruelas. This one is a more masculine art wall, again from sofa to ceiling and wall to wall. Watch this video we did about it.

There you have it. Keys to a good gallery wall. Any questions, folks?

12 days of instagram with target

The other day my friend Target called. I answered, ‘Oh hey, Targe’, and after a few pleasantries and maybe even some internet gossip we came up with a good idea for a new collaboration.

We decided to shoot a bunch of sneak peeks of my house for the holidays and to leak it slowly all over the internet – not celebrity nude photo style, nay, but on my own Instagram. Totally legal, just way more beautiful than my usual Instagrams. Win, win for everyone.

emily henderson christmas

I’m writing this as I’m watching “Peter Pan” live on TV and I now realize how ahead of the trend we were two weeks ago coming up with this idea. Next year, Targe. I’m open to either The Little Mermaid or Sound of Music. No need to rehearse either, I know every word by heart, folks. EVERY. SINGLE. WORD.

christmas nutcracker

So welcome to a few instagram outtakes (and some repeats) of a shoot we had a couple of weeks ago at our house. We actually finished REALLY decorating (and shooting) for the holidays yesterday so I’ll have those for you soon, but this is more ‘little ideas’ and ‘visual fun’.

flannel pajamas | gold tinseljoy pillow | snowflake pillow | gold foil pillow | monogram mug letter E | gift wrap from target check local store for different patterns

polar bear ornament | nutcracker lumberjack | festive clochebottle brush trees

white christmas tree

I went for a bright, happy, young, modern, holiday c/o Los Angeles. Shocking, I know. For this shoot we brought in a lot of pink which makes me so happy – although you might be surprised to see next week that there is very little color in my holiday house – in fact there is brown … BROWN!!!! ON PURPOSE!!!

similar christmas tree | joy pillowgold foil pillow | gift wrap from target check local store for different patterns | vintage hot pink balls | glitter star ornaments | large gold ball ornaments | small gold ball ornaments | animal ornaments | zebra – gifted | pink pillow custom made with vintage velvet | large gold bow | pink bow

charlie henderson

Without flooding you with cliches, i’ll just say this: Children make everything way more work and yet WILDY more fun. He loves the tree, the ornaments, the glitter, the sequins, and the garland. He squeals every morning when he sees the sparkles and every night when he sees the lights.

He can’t wait to rip apart my hours of finger bleeding styling. In fact yesterday I thought we had gotten rid of all the glass balls so I gave him a ball to play with while he sat on my lap and he smashed it (and shattered it) on his head. We were both startled and then he started crying because he was scared, meanwhile Ginny, Brady, Shauna and I picked glass out of his neck and pajamas. Don’t worry no cuts, but a good lesson that A. that baby is THE HULK, and B. it’s just easier to childproof with a one year old then it is to protect them (and to protect my vintage glass ornaments). Charlie 1, Holiday decoration 0.

Also please note the large gap between Charlie’s top teeth – I don’t know if it will stay but it’s possibly the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

santa suit | copper ornaments

white christmas tree

deer ornament

christmas pillow

joy pillow | snowflake pillow | furry throw |

christmas presents

Because we weren’t ready to actually decorate for the holidays we set up little sweet scenarios like this that look like my style, yet with all Target product. Boom. We hadn’t yet figured out what style we wanted to do this year – and NO, you don’t have to change styles every year but its my duty as a stylist/blogger to do something different. At least that’s how I’m rationalizing it. It’s like a celebrity wearing the same dress at The Oscars and The Golden Globes – she wouldn’t get arrested, but its kinda part of the job to don something different.

faux fur stool 

elf

Speaking of red carpet … that is my little elf looking 100% innocent  – although he’s not these days, folks. He looks me in the eye, smiles and then throws his spoon after I’ve asked him and scolded him 3 times in a row not to. But in this photo, he is the poster child of innocence.

elf suit | glasses

christmas pillows

The ‘Red and Green’ combo is always in fashion during the holidays. If you feel like doing something different, do it, but if you want to stay classic, then STAY CLASSIC. It’s a ‘never fail’. Especially with these extremely adorable and dare I say ‘hipster’ accessories. That van/tree in the dome is just so cute.

festive cloche | monogram mug letter B | knit pillow | holiday scooter pillow | fur throw

christmas dome

festive cloche | small gold ball ornaments | small red ball ornaments

charlie henderson

That belly is on sale starting never and there are approximately zero in stock. Keep walking, folks, that little ball of white belly is ours.

christmas stockings

Here’s the biggest holiday stylist secret  – wrapped presents are the best for creating different levels, adding color/texture/reflection/pattern and come in a million different sizes. Obviously wrapping fake/empty presents doesn’t make sense (although I have done it for YEARS and YEARS whilst styling for the holiday in August), but just think about buying a few presents really early that you can use to decorate because they really help with the decor.

Those stockings are beautiful, by the way. It’s hard to tell in the photos but they are metallic champagne color and so simple, classic-shaped and yes, on trend. Win, win, win. We are using them, with the champagne glitter stocking holders and we love them.

ball garland | stockings | stocking holder 

emily henderson christmas

Here’s where I gave Charlie my ‘We are all unique snowflake monologue’. He agreed and we both cried poignant tears.

gold nutcracker

This is one of my favorite vignettes in the house. I love the colors, the tones, the way a glass dome quickly elevates ANYTHING.

robin | nutcracker | white bottle brush tree | gold bottle brush tree | gold tinsel | (blush ornaments are all vintage glass and now in boxes :(

christmas garland

Our chandelier is really simple which lends itself perfectly to being adorned by a garland. And I LOVE this garland. Its organic (burlap and metallic) and modern (just balls) at the same time. It works so well on all my shelves, credenza and yes, chandeliers. If you have a more ornate chandelier then think about getting something even simpler or going balls out and dripping it with decor – just keep it in your color palette so the whole space works together.

ball garland | chandelier

noel sign

This drink container is ridiculous. Its glass and its beautiful (plus it as a no-drip faucet). I just realized that you have to put it on the edge of the table to pour. But between that and the simple ‘NOEL’ and some amazing vintage brass mugs this shot makes me want to get my figgy pudding on.

noel sign | drinks dispenser | wallpaper

christmas candles

Silver dollar eucalyptus, white pillar candle holders and some baubles = the easiest tablescape.

pillar candlestick | gold votive candle holder | white candle holder

christmas joy

Kitchens are people, too. Don’t neglect the potential merriment of your kitchen windowsill. Let it be full of, yes, joy.

joy sign | white bottle brush tree | tree garland

christmas garland

I worry that one stores holiday decor will never match my personality as much as this years does at Target. The animals, the gold/white trees, the geometric garland. Sure, I work with Target, but I didn’t design these pieces. It’s like I’m Patrick Swayze and the Threshold designers are Demi Moore and we are turning a pot together – only I’m not really there. I like to think I have something to do with it, but I don’t, its just a good fit. Thank god.

mini gold christmas tree | large white christmas tree | small white christmas tree | sitting deer figurine | standing deer figurine | rabbit figurine | geo garland from target – check store

festive sheets

So, thats the end of the sneak peek at the Henderson Holiday Compound. Charlie looks like a doll in that photo (literally) and I look like a woman who JUST discovered flannel pajama sets (because thats true). You guys, They are WONDERFUL. So comfortable and cozy. Plus you can answer the door in them without being embarrassed. Look, we have a lot of early morning callers so that is kinda important and jumping for my robe isn’t nearly as sexy as it is in the movies. Going to bed fully clothed is wonderful in all ways (except one).

And naturally we posted a video about it so you can see how much of a crazy snow show it is at our house when we shoot there. Warning – the first half of the video i’m makeup-less (makeup video soon, i’m so excited) but the second half of the video I look like a human being.

Enjoy.

Happy Friday (and holidays) folks. May this month bring you an incredible amount of happiness and joy.

flannel pajamas | charlie’s pajamas | snowflake sheets | fur pillow

All photos by Tessa Neustadt. Video by Scrunch Media Hair/Makeup by Danielle Walch

24 Merry Days of Giveaways

24 Merry Days

 

Would you or have you ever wanted to win some awesome (and pretty expensive) stuff? If so you should probably know about  24 Merry Days of Giveaways which is basically 24 Days, 24 Bloggers, and 24 very good giveaways. It started on Dec. 1st but don’t worry you can still enter to win each prize. As you can probably tell, I don’t normally do too many giveaways but these are VERY good so I couldn’t resist.

They’ve got a Madsen cycles cargo bike, Loeffler Randall handbags, a Smeg fridge, a Public bike, gift cards from,  Anthropologie, The Land of Nod,  Lulu & Georgia, UncommonGoods, and many more.

Be sure to head over to the 24 Merry Days website and their facebook page so that you can check out and enter for each new prize everyday, and don’t forget to come back to my page on December 18th which is when I will be doing my giveaway. I cant tell you what it is but I can tell you that its awesome, useful, and everyone in America should have one…

24 Merry Days site design & logo by Gloria Chen.

Target Styling Video: Chapter 6

The next Target Holiday video is up today, you guys, and its channeling my inner goth. Its about decorating for the holidays with black, white, a little bit of whimsy and a lot of Target. Duh.

Target Holiday Emily Henderson Black White Gold Dining Room cake

We styled the tables with a blog of black, white, gold and silver. These shots are tricky because this kind of styling is best with dim lights, candles lit, moody ambience and lots of people canoodling – not hot overhead studio lighting. But you can still see the beautiful product shining through.

Target Holiday Emily Henderson Black White Gold Dining Room cake and plates
Target Holiday Black White Gold Dining Room Emily Overall

The set was shared with the last holiday video about styling with unconventional colors and everyday items. Its a bit more dramatic, but also great because the color palette is more year round, with very few ‘just holiday’ items in there. For this video it was more about a circular buffet table, not a sit down dinner party but more desserts and candies displayed on a table. Obviously you could have drinks, apps, cheeses, etc, but we had to make room for a lot of good holiday decor so we kept it to just deserts and candies.

Target Holiday Black White Gold Dining Room Emily Lights1

This string light chandelier idea inspired my own garland-on-chandelier idea at my own house. I’m not totally sure how we plugged them in (i’m anticipating your questions, here) but i’m assuming we rigged it up because we were on a set. You could put a conduit on the ceiling (they are sticky) or white tape it to the ceiling down the wall. Oh, don’t we all just wish we could live on a set where all your cord problems disappear?

Target Holiday Emily Henderson Black White Gold Dining Room deer tabletop candles

I looked around yesterday and I officially have 4 of those deer, 5 of those candles stands, 2 of those gold dipping bowls, the polka dotted napkins and the white/gold mini hurricanes. There is no black in my house this year (we are keeping it low contrast over here, check out some sneak peeks that we were playing around with). All resources at the end, don’t worry.

Target Holiday Black White Gold Dining Room Emily Cake1

Target Holiday Black White Gold Dining Room Emily Train

For a while we tried the idea of putting a toy train around the table. It worked in theory but because all the colors were so dark and the ‘snow’ was so lumpy, it just looked kinda janky and sad. But good idea and next year we will be racing a train around the tree, I promise.

Target Holiday Emily Henderson Black White Gold Dining Room pillar candles

Target Holiday Emily Henderson Black White Gold Dining Room overhead

Target Holiday Emily Henderson Black White Gold Dining Room plates

Target Holiday Black White Gold Dining Room Emily Door Knob

White and Gold Deer: Target | White Gold Silver Napkin: Target | Black and Gold Star Tray: Target | Silver and Gold Dip Bowls: Target | Black Candle Sticks: Target | White and Gold Pillar Candle Holders: Target | Silver Cake Stand: Target | Gold Tray: Target | Gold Bowl: Target | Gold and Silver Beaded Place Mat: Target | Bottle Brush Tree: Target | Snowflake Bowl: Target | Black and White Dessert Plates: Target | Silver Snowflake Candy Dish: Target | Mercury Glass Dinner Plate: Target  |

The chandelier is vintage. :)

Enjoy the video, folks!

The final big kitchen makeover post

For those that read the blog often (THANK YOU VERY, VERY MUCH) you have kinda seen the ‘before‘, ‘process’ and some of the ‘afters‘ of the kitchen in various posts. But since its been 9 months since we started the process I wanted to do one big epic ‘THE KITCHEN MAKEOVER’ post so it’s all in one place. I find that when I’m reading makeover blogs I like to be reminded of the before and other posts often so I don’t have to click all over the internet to get the full story. So let’s get into it (briefly, don’t worry):

Here is what our kitchen looked like after we moved in.

Yes we had a toaster over that we baked almost all of our food in because the oven didn’t work. Also, does anyone need a toaster oven?

kitchen_before1

kitchen_before

The formica countertops were bad (although EXTREMELY durable) that flooring had already been replaced (I actually can’t remember what was in there – linoleum or bad wood flooring maybe? The cabinets were simple and nice – just needed refinishing and new hardware (which sounds easy and of course wasn’t … keep reading).  Plus all new appliances, faucet and sink. No knocking out walls or any major reconfiguration. Easy peasy, right?

kitchen_before_1

We started with the demo. We had dudes to do it, don’t get me wrong, but Brian and I kinda got our hands dirty on this one because we thought it would be fun. The blue taped up mountainscape is a failed backsplash design you can see here so just ignore that.

kitchen_demo

Also demo-ing is pretty satisfying. and strangely easy – well if you are as strong as us – VERY. Of course the removal of it is annoying (which is why demo-ing can be kinda expensive, hauling and dumping ain’t cheap, folks). Next up was installing the new countertops.

kitchen_new counters

In case you haven’t done this before here is how it goes: A granite/marble dude comes in and measures, then gives you a quote (I believe mine were around 3k for the materials and installation. OUCH) and they make a template out of paper. Then they cut, glue (the sides to the top) and polish them at the shop and then bring them in three pieces to install and cut holes for the sink and stove. Look how instantly different the kitchen looks.

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