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Empty walls
Post image for Empty walls

Empty walls

by Karen on April 16, 2012

It’s been almost a full year since we bought our house (can you believe it?), and I STILL have nothing on my walls. You think I’m exaggerating, but sadly, no. Literally, the only thing I have hung on my walls is a television (it became evident that our TV wasn’t going to be able to stay on a table shortly after Judah started walking) and a dry erase calendar in my kitchen. No art, no pictures, no shelves. Nothing.

In my defense, we have been “going to paint” since we moved in. Our walls are plaster, so I didn’t want to deal with filling in nail holes and moving things around when we finally painted. But now that the living room, dining room, and kitchen have fresh paint, I’m starting to feel more guilty every day about my empty walls.

On a recent trip to IKEA, I bought a ton inexpensive photo frames, and I have so many great pictures from our travels and Judah’s first year that it should be a cinch to decorate my living room walls with family photos. But every time I think about it, I just get overwhelmed and put it off for another day. I need to choose which photos I want to include in the gallery (out of literally thousands), make prints in the right sizes, and then decide which configuration to hang them. I’m usually pretty decisive, but when it comes to this sort of thing, I second guess myself until it makes me crazy.

The kitchen and dining room are not so easy. I don’t want family photos on those walls, but that leaves me wondering what to do instead. I don’t typically like store-bought art (not at the prices I can afford anyway), but I sort of like the idea of cheap framed prints. Here are some ideas I’m tossing around.

Framed post cards

I’ve bought post cards for each of the cities Tony and I have traveled together since we started dating, and I want to frame them and hang them somewhere in the house. I don’t know if they’ll fit in the dining room, and definitely not the kitchen, but I might hang them in the hallway or den? We still need to paint the den, so I’ve got some time to decide what to do in there.

Kitschy kitchen prints

I found these kitchen prints on Pinterest, and I love them. They’re available for free download in these colors, and customizable through the artist’s Etsy store for just $5. I have a tiny bit of wall to fill between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling, and I think they might look cute there.

All You Need is Love prints

I think these cute prints will work nicely in the dining room, and since we’re big Beatles fans, it’s even better.

Kitchen conversion chart

I am in love with this measurement conversion print from Chasing Delicious (available for purchase for just $24!), but I don’t know if the red will work well in my yellow kitchen, and I’d also like it to be a bit bigger than the largest available size (11×17). I’m on the hunt for a similar large print in colors that will work better in my kitchen.


I’ve seen ideas all over Pinterest with framed maps, and I’d like to do something like that with the three major cities where we’ve lived. I want something more creative than just framing the maps, though, so I’m still hunting around and thinking it over.

I want creative but cheap wall decor, and it’s turning out to be much harder to find/create than I expected. Frames alone cost a fortune!

What ideas can you share with me? I’m dying to know what’s on your walls.

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1 Amanda April 16, 2012 at 3:42 pm

I, too, loved the “All you need is love” prints, but I could justify spending money on them. Instead, I got a cheap Ikea frame and put InDesign to good use, that way I could use the color/font that suits my room. I got it printed at Kinko’s for $2 and I love it. I feel kind of bad about ripping off the idea, but not that bad. For simple prints like that, it seems that, for me, it’s easier just to DIY it and save myself the cost.

Another reasonably cheap thing I’ve done is get photo canvases made through CVS. It’s really easy to do and I’m really happy with the quality. Plus, if you sign up for an account, they constantly have sales and promos going on, so you never have to pay full price. And you can pick up in-store so you don’t have to pay for shipping.

2 cheryl April 16, 2012 at 5:50 pm

I have really large walls and cathedral ceilings, so I needed LARGE art. I found a used garden trellis and spray painted it ORB, then hung it with an oversized wall clock. I love the look and it was in the budget!! Don’t stress, it will all come together in time! :)

3 Katie April 16, 2012 at 7:51 pm

My walls are filled with a mixture of garage sale oil Paintings and family photos… Unique & inexpensive!

4 Kacie April 16, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Do it! Hang those pics. Don’t forget about wall decals for places like Judah’s room andwhatnot. LOVE THOSE

5 Michele April 17, 2012 at 8:28 am

I like the idea of one wall in the house being just photos. Do you remember I had that in the Stone Ave house? Loved your other ideas.

6 Pam April 17, 2012 at 10:07 am
7 Kendall April 17, 2012 at 10:33 pm

You could always space the frames so they can be hung vertically or horizontally in a group. That way you can pick any pictures and rotate them as often as you feel like. Then it should cut down on the stress of picking the right photos the first time.

8 Darna Hingson April 18, 2012 at 5:43 am

Wow! Those prints are great. Maybe I can get a space in our kitchen wall for them. Thanks for the printable posters. More to come. :)

9 Michael Scott May 14, 2012 at 3:22 am

I also have nothing on our walls. We recently moved across the country from Richmond Va to Portland OR. I plan to go to goodwill tomorrow and try to get some really cheap frames. Have you ever thought about making your own frames? I am sure there are tons of resources out there for it.

If you are interested I can tell you how my hunt goes.

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