Creating a Wall Gallery – The Difference Between Primary and Secondary Wall Galleries

We talk a lot about displaying photographs and creating a wall gallery, but we don’t always define exactly what those terms mean.

A wall gallery is an arrangement of frames on your wall and the photographs that fill those frames. Creating a wall gallery is the perfect way to decorate your home in a way that communicates comfort, personality and togetherness.

The custom wall galleries we specialize in are the primary wall gallery in your home. This wall gallery usually consists only of photographs from your portrait session, and is often found in your living or family room, or gracing the walls of your kitchen in your breakfast nook.

But there can be another type of gallery in your home as well, one made up of pictures of memories from years past.

Both have a place in your home, so today we’ll explore the different types of galleries and the areas in your home you might want to consider for each.

Your Primary Wall Gallery

Your primary wall gallery generally consists of fairly recent photographs of your family, likely taken within the last two years. The outfits and location for the family portrait session, as well as the frames used to frame those portraits, were carefully selected to complement the room they’re displayed in as this wall gallery is the main artwork for that room.

These portraits certainly capture your family at a moment in time, but this wall gallery’s primary goal is to convey a certain feeling to the room while at the same time decorating your home.

Of course, those photographs help you remember specifics of when they were taken, such as your son’s crooked teeth and how small your daughter was only 12 short months ago, but the main purpose of the gallery is to convey emotion—how much your family loves each other and how much fun you have together.

Your primary wall gallery can consist of as little as one large framed portrait, or as many as eight, but usually has between 3 and 5 framed portraits. The most important aspect of this gallery’s size is that it perfectly fits the wall space it’s hanging on—not too large and not too small. Just like Goldilocks, it fits just right.

This gallery changes every one to two years as you have new family portraits taken, or when you change your room décor.

A primary gallery can be designed for any room in your home, but most families like this gallery to be in the room they use most—usually either the living room, family room, or in the kitchen or dining room above the table.

Your Secondary Wall Gallery

A secondary gallery consists of all of your favourite memories from years past—waterskiing up at the lake, the trip to Hawaii for your honeymoon, and the entire family together at your grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary.

These are the photographs the bring a smile to your face as you turn to the person next to you and say “remember when….”

This wall gallery can consist of as many frames as you have room, but generally consists of between 10 and 30 frames. The gallery is added to as you create new family memories or, if you’ve reached the end of the wall space, photographs can be swapped out.

A secondary wall gallery is usually located in a hallway or staircase, but sometimes in a den or rec room. Because the pictures used in this gallery are small (4”x6” and 5”x7”, or 8”x10” at the largest), it needs to be located somewhere people walk up close to the wall.

Because this gallery is less refined than a primary wall gallery, it’s usually located in an informal space.

My purpose has always been to create emotion-filled family portraits for the custom primary wall gallery we design for your home, however, due to popular request we will soon be offering design services for those who want support creating secondary wall galleries for their home.

If you’d like more information, sign up below and we’ll make sure you’re one of the first to hear about our new offerings. You’ll also receive our new download, ‘The Top 3 Mistakes to Avoid When Displaying Family Photographs’.

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