Since I’ve upgraded my living situation from one room to four rooms, finding ways to decorate all this space has been quite the (fun) challenge. Today I’m revealing a bit of my living room, and sharing how I created my modern African living room gallery wall!
The general theme for our apartment decor is black, white, and gold, but I also wanted the living room to feature African elements, since our culture is very important to both Jonathan and I. When we first moved in, I hung up a lesso (a Kenyan traditional cloth, like ankara) that Jonathan’s mom had given me as a tapestry. It was beautiful, but the words on it translate to “may this marriage be on good terms,” so I felt weird having it be the first thing people see when they walk into our apartment. Once we sent out our wedding save the dates, I knew I wanted the photo we chose to feature on them hung up in our place, and the idea to do a gallery wall around our TV was born!
Before getting started with the frames, I knew we needed a bookcase to maximize storage, so I decided to get the Ikea Vittsjo shelf unit in white to go with the matching TV stand. My love for Ikea is beyond the scope of this post, but the clean white lines of the Vittsjo series make it too hard to resist! I may or may not have the coffee table in black… don’t worry, I bought it off Craigslist before the move and I’m hoping to switch it out once I find the perfect coffee table.
Once the bookcase was up, it was time to start planning the gallery wall layout. This wasn’t my first time doing a gallery wall (check out my office gallery wall here), but since I didn’t have any existing art for the living room, I decided to do a digital representation of what I wanted the wall to look like to help me make smart purchasing decisions. I started with our engagement photo in a gold frame, and then went down a rabbit hole search on Etsy for work by black artists. After hours of poring through shop profiles, I came across this Wakeema painting by Philece aka ThatArtista, and a whole bunch of printables by Kizzie M of Wishful Printing. By indicating the measurements of my existing furniture, I was able to figure out what dimensions I wanted to order of each piece of art. Btw, Canva is an AWESOME tool for all types of graphic design.
After deciding on dimensions, it was time to order the art! Since printables are just digital files, I had to figure out how to get a few of my pieces printed. Enter AdoramaPix, a Brooklyn-based printing services company, who provided me with a credit to use to print out our engagement photo, an engagement photo book (to be revealed later!), and the small black and white abstract print. Their online interface is super easy to use, plus the print quality on our items, especially our engagement photo (which is HUGE) is absolutely astounding.
I knew I wanted the Not All Who Wander Are Lost printable on canvas, so I ventured to Groupon to find a deal on canvas art. The print quality on this was not as impressive as that of AdoramaPix, but it works for the space for now. I already had the barely noticeable 8×10 white frame, which was from Walmart, so I placed the abstract print there.
I was worried about being able to find a beautiful gold frame to highlight our focal image, but the folks over at Framed & Matted stepped in by providing custom framing and matting options. I received a gorgeous Crocker frame in Gold with a White Ice mat for our engagement photo, and the Addison frame in White with a White Ice and Goldenrod double mat for the Wakeema print. The narrow Goldenrod mat on Wakeema really helps subtly tie in more gold throughout the whole gallery. My favorite thing about my Framed & Matted order was the assembly process! I’ve broken a frame before (glass everywhere is NOT fun), so I appreciated the high quality acrylic glass and super simple assembly instructions.
We live in a rental, so I used my trusty favorite decorating brand Command to hang everything up. Usually I just buy hooks and velcro snaps individually, but in Target I found a Command picture hanging kit that had more than enough options to hang everything up, with some picture strips left over! Definitely a must-have if you’re going to attempt a gallery wall.
I love that the gallery wall is a conversation starter when we have people over (the number of times I’ve been asked if Wakeema is a drawing of me…), plus I get to look at myself and Jonathan during commercial breaks while watching TV! As you can see, the minimalist Africa map that was in the rendering is missing from the finished product. That’s because the print shipped from Poland and took FOREVER to arrive, and when it did, it had spelling errors! So I am still looking for some kind of minimalist print that reflects Africa to fill that space in the wall – please leave suggestions! Once I decide about our sofa pillows, get a coffee table I like, and finish styling our bookcase, I’ll show you guys the rest of the living room 🙂