How to make a gallery wall with your old photos

It’s a familiar feeling. You’ve found a bunch of old photos that would look great peppered about your home, but there are almost too many cracking snaps to put on show. How do you choose? My answer: Make your walls into a gallery. That’s right. Your humble home can become the canvas upon which you sketch the storyboard for your own family’s memoirs.

Before you go the gallery route, there a few things to consider first:


  1. Frame or print

The frame is a classic. It will never go out of style. Depending on your mood and your tastes, they can contribute to your interiors nicely. Match the rest of your house’s theme or go crazy and play with a mix of sizes, colours and styles.

Frames too predictable? There are other options. Nowadays you can print photos directly onto canvas tiles, and for you renters out there, you can use velcro strips if you are worried about leaving nail holes and losing your deposit.

Be creative. A gallery wall doesn’t just have to be for family photos. Mix them with surrealist paintings, the university degree you never used, old cigarette ads. Favourite sayings to get you motivated and mirrors to get you demotivated.


  1. Neat or jumbled

Starting a gallery wall is almost like repainting or getting wallpaper. When choosing the right frames, their sizes and colours, it all needs to fit with the feel of your space. With family photos, the layout is totally up to you. You can be neat and place them chronologically left to right, or be more surprising and mix them around. Hang up a mix of sizes and styles so close they are touching, spread them out for a minimalist feel, or be good and have them lined up just right, flush with the walls and ceiling the exact same size and distance apart from each other so you can end the voices and breathe normally.

Whichever way you choose, another way to breathe easy is to save the originals by digitising them first. Then you will always have the image if the originals fade, get damaged or get lost. The Times agrees. In fact, they wrote an article about gallery walls recommending Vintage Photo Lab as the place to go for quality scanning, saying:

Scanning photos enables you not only to view and keep them on your phone or tablet, but to tag them with location, date and keywords so it’s easy to find them. You can do it yourself — many printers have a built-in scanner, and standalone ones are inexpensive … If you have boxes of prints to get through, however, you’re better off using a scanning service. Vintage Photo Lab will pick up your photos, scan them and return them by courier, along with a secure download link and a DVD of the digital files…The firm can also scan entire album pages, so handwritten notes can be preserved. 

  1. Lean in or sit back

The problem with most photographs: they were usually printed in the 6 x 4 inch format, or even smaller. That can be too small if you are trying to make a gallery wall that your friends can see from more than two feet away. Do you want your guests to lean in and scrutinise, or stand back and appreciate? If it’s the latter, then you will want to play with different sizes.

Whether it’s enlarging your photos or printing them onto different surfaces, you’re going to need to get them digitised first. Luckily, that’s what we do, and we make sure that the quality of the image remains no matter how you want to resize them. Browse our services for digitising photos, slides and albums. Or get in touch and we can chat through everything you wish to do with your old photos.