Magazine Collage Walls Have Grown Up, and Here’s What They Look Like Now

published May 28, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

When I was a teenager with a bright purple bedroom, my walls were covered with photos, pages ripped out of Seventeen magazine, and crooked posters. Now that I work from home, I’ve found myself wanting to decorate my office space in a similar way. It’s not that my aesthetic hasn’t changed since I was 14—I just want to be surrounded by happy images that help brighten my day because I spend a lot of time solo at home.

Turns out there are all sorts of different ways to create photo collages, and 2020’s version of these walls can actually be quite high design and far more sophisticated than you’d think. Plus, you probably already have some—if not all—of the materials you need to create your own bespoke collage wall covering at home right now. This is a pretty easy and cost-effective DIY, too. If you’re thinking about channeling your inner teen and getting your magazine collage on, check out some examples below for inspiration on how to tackle this project in an updated way. 

Credit: Jana Tomas

Stick to a Consistent Color Palette

Creative Jana Tomas has created the living room of her dreams, and her collage wall helped add an eclectic touch to the space. While collages can sometimes give off a “college dorm” feel, Tomas tempered that vibe by pairing her collection of photos with grown-up pieces like a blue velvet sofa and a fancy glass globe lighting fixture. There’s also a consistent color palette in her pictures—pops of blue from sky and ocean are woven throughout the composition, and blush pink is another consistent accent color.

Try a Curated Collage on a Half Wall

If you’re worried your collage might look out of place on a prominent wall, try moving it to a half or partial wall such as this dormer area. Photographer Sophia Evelyn created an Italy-inspired collage on the wall next to her desk, and since the nook was small, she was able to paper pretty much the whole thing pretty easily. Like Tomas, she stuck to a cohesive color palette with pops of orange, and that made the wall feel collected as opposed to chaotic. 

Credit: Vanessa Cobb

Paper It Diagonally

If you have enough photos and posters to cover most of a wall, try taping images in a diagonal line. This arrangement will look more dynamic than just papering half the wall horizontally. Also, try to match the colors of your images to the colors of your room like Instagrammer Vanessa Cobb did. She got her images from the Tezza Collage Kit, which is a curated kit of city, coastal, or dreamy photographs. This helped her create a curated wall. The kits are currently sold out, but you can bookmark the page or sign up for notification when a restock drops. 

Make a “Mural”

Nobody said you had to cover most of—or an entire wall—with a collage either. If your kitchen or another spot feels like it’s missing some personality, try papering a small section with a photo collage like Patricia “ChaCha” Garcia did. The restaurant and foodie images she chose really helped tie together the eclectic pieces in her cook space.

Credit: Meg Mathews

Cover a Corner

Do you have an empty corner that you don’t know how to fill? Paper it with travel photos like photographer Meg Mathews did. She used pictures from her Spain and Portugal trip to cover a good portion of where two of her walls meet and then rounded out the nook with a houseplant and small shelf. Easy and effective—plus, she has an Etsy shop where you can buy her travel photo collage kits so you can get this exact look.

Credit: Meg Mathews

Play with Borders

I’m thinking about taking another trick from Mathews, who’s clearly a collage queen. To help make certain images pop in her collage, she added white borders around select photos. This will give your absolute favorite images some breathing room.

Add Lights 

If you want to kick things up another notch, fairy lights always add atmosphere. So consider zigzagging them across your collage wall to increase the cozy factor in your room. That’s what Instagrammer Tara Wittwer did, and the end result creates the perfect ambiance for a bedroom.