Before and After: A Wimpy Gallery Wall Gets a Super Dramatic Upgrade

updated Jul 2, 2020
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Gallery walls can be more affordable than other large-scale art options, but that definitely doesn’t mean they’re cheap. When Celia Williamson (of decor shop Sticki Icki) and her boyfriend moved in together, they confirmed this firsthand in their dining area. “We knew that this wall would be great for displaying the works we had been separately collecting, but we were hesitant to invest in frames,” Celia explains. “In our first attempt at styling the space, we used only what we had. Surprise, what we had just wasn’t enough! It wasn’t bold enough for my liking, and it felt rushed.”

Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Celia decided to revisit the area and give it a refresh. “We were lucky enough to be healthy and still have income coming in, so I knew it was the perfect time to rethink the space,” she says.

Celia decided to use furniture she already had around the apartment and instead upgrade the space via paint and accessories. First, she and her boyfriend painted the statement wall black and swapped in black light switches and plates too (a smart trick for helping them blend into the black wall). So much more drama!

And this time around, Celia invested in frames—about $100 worth of them from Michaels—and grew the gallery wall with more art and other objects. “I was very excited to try my hand at a bigger and badder gallery wall,” she says. “Adding nontraditional ‘art’ to the wall was really important to me, and I wanted to get it just right.”

Celia also decided to zhuzh up the room with rug for about $200, opting for a durable cowhide so that her 4-year-old cat, Mellie, wouldn’t be able to shred it.

“Once all was said and done, we’d spent about $400, but that money went toward investment pieces,” says Celia, who adds that she’d eventually like to add in some new furniture. “The frames and the cowhide rug can come with us and be reused in future homes. So, we blew the budget a bit but we love the finished product!”

To other renters, Celia says: “We can feel like it’s not worth investing in our space, but it absolutely is! Paint is relatively inexpensive and can make such a big impact! And if you hate it, it’s an easy fix!”

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