DIY One Room Challenge

The One Room Challenge Week 4: Gallery Grid

October 24, 2018

Master Bedroom Budget Gallery Grid

Holy crap it’s week 4. Week 4 of the Fall 2018 One Room Challenge that is! If you’re not familiar, every spring and fall, 20 featured designers selected by the ORC team participate in a 6-week challenge to decorate one room. The event is hosted by Linda Weinstein of Calling it Home and Better Homes and Gardens. In addition to the featured designers, hundreds of other folks with blogs (and Instagram this season!) join in on the challenge as Guest Participants <— that’s me.

If you’ve hopped over to this post from the ORC website – welcome! I’m Emily, this is my blog, and I’m working on undecorating the 1929 tudor-ish home I share with my husband, Andy, and our corgi, Penelope. This is my second One Room Challenge (last season I made over our guest room). I am glad you’re here!

We’ve got this big blank wall in our bedroom that we’ve never done anything with. You may remember it from my One Room Challenge Week 1 Main Bedroom Plan. I tackled a big blank wall in our guest bedroom for last season’s ORC by DIYing abstract art and building custom canvas frames but this season, we’re showcasing our photographs in a grid wall.

How to Make a Budget-Friendly Gallery Grid

Budget Thin Frame Chunky Mat Gallery Grid

Sources and Supplies

  • Frames – $29.99 each
  • Mats – $8.95 each (with shipping)
  • Prints – $5.00 (with express shipping)

Each frame cost us $43.95 with all 8 together totaling at $351.52. That seems like a huge number but for art that takes up an entire wall, that’s not bad. And you can always get cheaper frames with coupons at Michaels or Jo Anns.

For our gallery grid, I wanted a custom look without the custom framing price. Custom framing is totally worth it (Framebridge is great and even has Gallery Walls), but I needed a quick project with a very short lead time. I found 16×20″ thin metal black frames on Amazon and ordered 8 of them. I wanted a chunkier mat to give the prints more breathing room so I quickly customized mats from I chose the Arctic White mat color with a white core with the 4ply thickness. I decided to center my photos in the frame but you can totally do a bottom weighted mat where there’s more mat space below the print than above it. Then I played around with print sizes and landed on 8×10″, setting the mat window size at 7.5×9.5″. When you’re choosing your mat window, make sure your window is smaller than your print size so you have room to tape it in.

My husband, Andy is a skilled nature photographer and has seen the prettiest mountains and trees and sights this country has to offer. This means we have access to an impressive library of beautiful photographs ready at a moment’s notice – perfect for this project! We took a family trip to Yosemite in September and I snapped a few photos too as proof that I was a good sport and went outside. We selected 4 of Andy’s photos and 4 of mine for this black and white gallery grid and had them printed by Mpix on their True Black and White Paper.

How to Hang a Gallery Grid

Of course, I planned this in SketchUp because I can’t make a decision without it. Putting the frames in my SketchUp plan helped me decide on the size of the frames I needed, the number, the spacing, and where to hang everything.

How to plan a gallery grid with painters tape

My plans put the center of the grid at 57″ high centered horizontally on the wall with the frames spaced 2 inches apart. Andy used painters tape to help perfect the spacing and placement.

Master Bedroom Budget Gallery Grid

Budget Gallery Grid DIY

Black and White Prints in Budget Gallery Grid

I am so happy with how the grid turned out!

So where are we on that big ol’ list of to-dos?

Things that are done:

  • Gallery grid is finished
  • Curtain rods are up
  • A mattress has been ordered!
  • Fireplace tile has been ordered
  • Fireplace building has begun!
  • Bedding

The still-to-do list:

  • Rug(s)!
  • Lamps
  • Hem + pleat curtains
  • Other art?
  • New dresser
  • Selling/hoarding existing bedroom furniture
  • End of bed bench?

If you’d like to catch up on the previous weeks’ updates:

Week 1: The Main Bedroom Plan

Week 2: The Fireplace Plan

Week 3: Curtains + Rugs

Remember to follow along and see what the Featured Designers and Guest Participants are up to!

One Room Challenge Guest Participant

Hey heads up: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

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  • Reply Cate October 24, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    Hi Emily! I did a similar gallery grid in my bedroom this week, too. I love the way you planned and illustrated it in Sketch-up. Two more weeks, baby!

  • Reply Jenn October 24, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    I’m obsessed with grid gallery walls!! It turned out beautifully!

  • Reply Create/Enjoy October 24, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    Looks so crisp! Love the thin frames and black/white. Looks great with the wood trim!

  • Reply Jewel October 24, 2018 at 11:18 pm

    You nailed this wall! Nice work girlfriend!

  • Reply Melissa Lynch October 25, 2018 at 10:15 am

    It looks perfect! Every time I hang a gallery wall I end up with 100 nail holes! haha

  • Reply tim@designmaze October 25, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    great tip on how to get the frames all lined up and be perfect on the wall! Nail once and you are done! I didn’t know you can get mats online and shipped … now I have to look into that!

  • Reply Marci October 25, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    Looks really good! I love those frames!!!

  • Reply Ashley - The Gold Hive November 13, 2018 at 1:09 am

    Yet another way our masters are sisters is we both had a blue quilt with contrast stitching in the old iterations of the design <3

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