A New Lease on Life: The Picture Perfect Picture Wall

Often times, the need for self storage is transient. There’s a temporary need to store, either for a move, for school, for a home renovation, etc. In other situations, the timetable for storage is more murky, and belongings can stay stored for an indefinite amount of time. With the latter in mind, chances are you may have some cool (and even one-of-a-kind) items that are just sitting in your storage space gathering dust, begging to be utilized in some way. Fret no longer! StorAmerica is here to help give your forgotten items new purpose and polish!
This Entry’s Topic:

Picture Walls

Before we go deeper, 2 questions:
  1. Do you have a blank wall in your home that’s boring and uninspiring?
  2. Do you have a pile of printed media in your storage space? Anything from old newspapers, magazines, comic books, gift wrap, wallpaper, maps, written notes or letters, and more commonly – photographs, posters, and artwork?
Great news! All of these items can be refined, repurposed, or used as-is to adorn those blah surfaces. Here are some ideas you can use to get your walls ready for their close-up using what you may already have:

  • Two words: picture frames. A simple picture frame can go a long way in truly revitalizing and refining the appearance of your printed materials. Not only do frames add texture, but they also assist in focusing on the  visual medium itself, and draws the viewer’s eyes to what’s important — the image.
  • No need to match frame styles. Use a mixture of materials (wood, metal, plastic), colors, shapes, and styles (modern, traditional, etc.). This will help diversify your look. But you can go a more straightforward route and go with more consistent, matching styles, and/or arrange your pieces symmetrically.
  • Photos, posters, and art prints are fairly easy to work with, as they’re designed to be displayed. Less obvious options are newspaper and magazine clippings, pages from books, notes, letters, and sketches, and they can be impactful if formatted and arranged properly. Nearly anything of personal significance or sentimental value is fair game. Anything from your great grandmother’s handwritten recipe to the flowers you kept from your wedding can get the hanging treatment.

  • Ordinary materials such as wallpaper and gift wrap are also great options. Patterns and repetitious prints are great as a main focal point, but are also good options to augment your bigger statement pieces and to fill out your wall. For example, if arranging a cluster of pieces (read further below for a how-to), place these patterns around your centerpiece to embellish your look and to tie in to your main attraction.

  • Don’t limit yourself to paper-based materials. Textiles are technically hangable, and therefore, totally ok! Anything from rugs, t-shirts, quilts, and flags can hang as-is, or be modified for hanging.

  • Additional items to throw into the mix include clocks, mirrors, hanging plants, light fixtures, monograms, and hangable sculptures. Dig through your storage space and you might find some of these wall-friendly objects.

  • Consider painting your wall a non-white color. Otherwise known as an accent wall, this will serve as the backdrop or canvas for your arrangement. If you have a common color thread across your pieces, try pulling from that selection when choosing a paint color, or choose a color that compliments your arrangement. Conversely, a white wall may also be a great choice if you’re going for a clean, museum-like look where there’s a maximum focus on what’s on your wall.
  • Picture mats can be used to add an extra visual touch. Use them to enhance the image inside the frame, and to help fill out the frame (for example, if you have a small image inside a large frame, use a picture mat to fill out the negative space).

First off,  you can pre-visualize by arranging all of your artwork on the floor, just to get a rough idea of how everything will look together.

Once you’re ready to visualize how everything will look on your wall, we suggest you use templates to help you plan your layout before you start hanging. After all, if you change your mind or make any errors, it’s much easier to remove a piece of tape from a wall than it is to patch a hole in your drywall.

Template kits can be bought pre-cut, but we’d recommend making your own. Use newspaper or butcher paper, this way, you can measure and cut the exact sizes and amounts you need at little to no cost.

Another route is to print out templates found online. You can forego paper altogether by using painter’s tape to map out your plan of attack. Now, onto styling.


Gallery walls are a cool, fun way to arrange your pieces, and it involves clustering them together in a large group. But don’t mistake “clustering” with “random,” as executing a gallery wall involves thoughtful planning and will likely require some measuring. Follow these guidelines when putting together a gallery wall.

  • Start your gallery wall by placing your largest piece first. This will act as the focal point for your wall, so you can plan and space smaller artwork around it. Your largest print doesn’t have to be dead center in your configuration. Consider flanking your anchor piece on either the left or right side of your arrangement.
  • Space your pieces between 2-4 inches apart from each other, and try to be as consistent as possible to avoid looking haphazard or sloppy.
  • While definitely not a requirement, be mindful of a theme. Consider having a common through line that ties all of your artwork together. It doesn’t have to be reductive or obvious; it can be subtle or symbolic. The theme can be as simple as color or art style, or you can choose to tell a story in which seemingly disparate, individual pieces come together to convey a personal narrative.
  • You can decide what type of gallery wall works best for you and your space. A grid-type gallery wall is more symmetrical and has a cleaner appearance, whereas a casual gallery wall is more playful and can be more visually dynamic.


If nailing a ton of holes in your wall turns you off, or if you’re of an indecisive mindset, shelves or picture ledges may be right up your alley. While installing shelves does require making some holes in your walls, once they’re up, you likely won’t have to touch them again. You can simply lean your artwork on your shelves and up against the wall — no individual nails required! Here are some tips if going this route:

  • When choosing shelves or ledges, try to find a style that has a lip along the outer edge as opposed to a style that is completely flat on the surface. This lip will keep your artwork in place and prevent it from falling off.
  • Using this method, you can even incorporate non-hangable items such as vases, plants, lamps, candles, books, and other freestanding objects into the mix – things you can probably find in your storage unit. Best of all, you don’t have to commit to any one layout, as you can easily swap out pieces at any time.
  • Play around with symmetry and space before committing to installing the shelves. You can layer identically-sized shelves one above the other, equally spaced apart. Or you can hang a shorter shelf above a longer shelf. Offsetting or staggering your shelf arrangement can also be an interesting option. Let your available wall space dictate the best configuration.
  • Also determine quantity and volume. 1 to 2 shelves would probably suit most situations. Those with a ton of wall real estate can possibly afford a floor-to-ceiling shelf arrangement.
We hope you’re inspired! We encourage you to rummage through your storage unit and find anything that speaks to you. Give it a second (or third, or fourth) shot at life and you could potentially be really pleased with the results!

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