Inexpensive Minimal Gallery Wall



I’ve got another installment of the great Zero Budget Project. I don’t know why I’ve been dragging my feet on styling our bedroom. It’s not like it took that long or wasn’t fun to do. I guess I just needed to channel the right creativity.


I walked past these ribba frames while on a routine run to Ikea. They were $1.99 – and that spurred an idea. What if I did an entire wall out of these awesome cheap frames? I think the best part about these frames is that they’re an inch and a quarter deep. They don’t look as cheap as they are. So for just over $20 I was able to decorate this wall. Easy peasy.


It took a measuring tape, a level and a pencil. I measured out the width of the wall and graphed out where each piece should lie. It worked out to 10 inches apart. I went through old artwork and cropped down the pieces that would work (really only taking the pieces I liked that were just about 5×7). I had a few holes in my 11 piece series so I looked through Penelope’s stash and made a few new pieces as well.


Curating, prepping, cleaning, painting and hanging artwork took a few hours. All the while Chris was MIA, it was fun to reveal the newly cleaned and decorated space to him. Making him excited about our space really makes my efforts worth it.


The ribba frames come with these pre-cut mats, I didn’t use any of them for the artwork on display so I sandwiched an engagement photo of ours in between two of them using a flower frog (from Gather & Hunt).


I didn’t go with any specific style or color theme with this gallery, and I like it that way. I went with pieces that I liked and tried to arrange them in a way that would make them balanced.



I believe I made 5 pieces specifically for this gallery, it was a much-needed exercise to bust out the watercolors. Details on each painting after the jump.


I painted this last night. I’ve painted a few versions of this very iris (1, 2), but the one that I still have was too big to be cropped into one of these frames. I had some blue in the gallery already, so I wanted something that would balance out the blue, so I painted another one. It was a great exercise, and been much too long since I busted out the watercolor!


This is how Chris asked me to marry him, but it’s not his own. It goes back to how my dad asked my mom to marry him. They were staring at the stars talking about the universe and he popped the question. Totes romantic.


This piece you’ve seen before. You can read about it here.


While searching through my portfolio of old artwork, I came across a few sheets of paste paper I made back in my bookbinding class in college. It’s so pretty, I had to make some artwork with it. So I lettered a phrase I’ve seen everywhere, but I still love it. The four hearts on the bottom are the four of us that make our We.


I went through a serious phase where I painted really graphic flowers. I’m not sure that’s my style anymore, but I still like it. Maybe it still is my style.


The background on this piece is a cropped mono print that Penelope made in art class last summer. I cut the E last night. I didn’t want to paint over this, so I just hand cut an E and placed it on top.


This piece was a demo I did while teaching watercolor classes in California. I loved our time in the SF bay area, this reminds me of all of the things we did while there.


More graphic flowers.


I painted this while demo-ing during that very same watercolor class. This was based on a photo of my mom’s garden back when they lived in Utah.


More graphic drawings. I believe I made this my senior year of college while prepping for my senior show. I did computer-based pieces that had a very similar aesthetic.


This is based on that LO VE poster, was it Warhol that did it? You know the one that’s on two separate lines? I wish I knew who the artist is. If you can enlighten me, please do! Leave it in the comments.


Here’s the last part of our bedroom that needs to get resolved. This frame is much too heavy to hang on the wall (It’s well past 35 lbs). So I’m looking into getting a new mirror for the space. I’m having a hard time finding a reasonably priced mirror that’s not boring or too cheap looking. Any suggestions?

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    1. phil says:

      like it

    2. Emily says:

      What a romantic quote. Love the look of your room!

    3. Hayley says:

      Robert Indiana made the LO VE poster. He later did the large sculptures of the same type.

    4. Mandie says:

      Melissa- it’s beautiful! I stupidly gave away 9 of those same frames the last time we moved and you make me wish I hadn’t!! I love all of your artwork. It’s just stunning.

    5. Alex says:

      Looks fabulous – and LOVE the orange wall!

    6. Mim says:

      Those watercolors are so beautiful, you totally inspire me to want to bust out the watercolors, although I’m positive nothing so lovely would result. You’re so talented, love your wall color too.

    7. juliette says:

      Ikea sells a very large mirror, I have it in my bedroom but I am sure you saw it already. I like your very very much though, maybe you can prop it up on a low table/bench…

    8. Kristin H says:

      Brilliant! I love that you incorporated Penelope’s art work, such a great idea. I love a carefully curated gallery wall, where the installation reads well as a whole and as individual pieces of art.

    9. Nicia says:

      This looks amazing! And I loved that you had a story behind each piece of artwork. SO much cooler than just store bought stuff!

    10. meredith says:

      i see awesome mirrors at thrift stores all the time! we already have like 6 mirrors in our apartment so i need to start passing them up. i’m a sucker for mirrors in cool frames.

    11. samarahuel says:

      We have a pretty heavy frame hanging on our wall right now, I don’t know if it’s 35 pounds, but if you go to a hardware store (such as Lowes) they have some heavy-duty frame-hanging hardware. I would think that the right thing screwed into studs would be able to handle the weight, but of course you’d be able to find out better going to the store and looking at what they have and talking to the experts.

    12. […] working on the gallery wall for my bedroom, I had an idea. An idea that I’ve used in some of my work in the past and […]

    13. Leah says:

      I think what you’re thinking of is the Love sculpture in Philadelphia:
      Here’s more info:

    14. emily cav says:

      LOVE the art work. makes me want to get lost in some watercolor and doodles for a couple days. :)

      mirror – can you build a simple stand for it?? i love the over-sized scale!

    15. […] shared with us a very inexpensive gallery wall project she did in her bedroom with IKEA Ribba frames.  I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a […]

    16. Cassidy says:

      So lovely! I love the bright orange wall in contrast with the white and colorful prints!

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