I realised the other day that this is a question I am asked a lot. Along with being asked to promote various poster shops and art galleries and designs. And, to be honest, it’s not something I tend to do because what you hang on your walls is so personal isn’t it?
I mean budget can often dictate that we buy our sofas in broadly the same places and when one person discovers a good source of lamps we all go rushing over to see, but when it comes to what you choose to hang on, or lean against, your walls it’s a chance to really do something different.
Although, not everyone does. Instagram has certainly meant that we see a lot of the same prints from the same places and while there’s nothing wrong with that if you truly like the work on offer I thought I would share some ideas of ways to find things to hang on your walls that might be a little different from everyone else’s.
So yes we do have a gallery wall of pictures of the boys taken in front of the same statue outside the same restaurant that we go to every year. I don’t show it here because it’s their privacy but visitors to the house either friends, colleagues or those coming for location shoots will have seen it on the landing outside my office. It starts when they are two and four and will hopefully continue this year as they are 19 and 17 and if that isn’t the perfect reason to make them come on holiday with us for at least one week every year I don’t know what is.
But family photos aside the joy, for me, of a gallery wall is that it can be a vertical diary of a family. We have envelopes of maps, postcards and museum tickets from various trips to America (way back before the boys were born), we have tickets from gigs we went to and olive oil splattered menus from favourite restaurants and memorable meals. All these things can be framed and hung on the wall to create massive, living gallery wall which will jog happy memories every time you walk past.
One of my favourites is a tiny drawing on the corner of restaurant table mat when The Mad Husband asked my then 14yo what was the music playing in the background. Back came a swift Venn Diagram (based on his father’s musical tastes): if it’s a solo artist it’s Bob Dylan and if it’s a band it’s The Beatles. Mounted and framed, that never fails to bring back memories of a beautiful summer evening. For the record it was David Bowie.
The pictures in the top photograph are all magazine covers, sourced initially from an antiques market in Italy and subsequently on Italian eBay. The only rule being that we must have visited the place in question before it is allowed to hang on the wall. There is currently one exception: Lake Como (bought because we liked it and before we made the rule. It’s our 20th wedding anniversary this year… I remain hopeful.)
Elsewhere on our walls we have photographs we (well all right he) have taken, pictures by the boys – both at nursery and for GCSE, as well as one by his grandfather and one or two that we have bought from galleries over the years to create a modest collection.
The point being that none of it is expensive, much of it free – apart from the framing and every single piece brings back a memory or means something to us.
More recently, during the lockdown of the last 100 days I have acquired two more pieces. One of which is waiting to be framed and the other the Stay Home plate by Laetitia Rouget of Shoopy Studio, is below.
So don’t throw away the cinema ticket from your first date, keep some of the avalanche of children’s drawings and print out your phone snaps. They will all look beautiful on the walls of your house telling the story of the people that live there and that, ultimately is what it’s all about. Your home should be your personal art gallery. Do share examples of what you have hanging on your walls. We might all like new ideas.