10 Things to Display on a Gallery Wall That Aren't From Department Stores

Think on an art gallery with me, just for a second.

When I was in high school, I walked into the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University and stood before historic Spanish paintings that told incredible stories of patience, skill, history and more. Every piece was curated. Every room was handing over a spell of awe to your eye. Works of art I had studied with reverence were hanging delicately in front of me to be heard for the first time. The space was set for beholding. The walls were storytellers, and with it we were also audience members and participants and storytellers. The word gallery was an understatement.


Now let's step into our homes. Gallery walls have been on our radar for a while now, and we curate them to decorate our walls and share a few memories. Sometimes we hang up trendy textured items, and sometimes we hang up common phrases written in nice calligraphy like "Dream" and "Believe". Those things aren't bad, and I'm the first to admit that I've spent my fair share of time buying these things. But what if I told you that we can do better? That our homes and our walls, just like museums cautiously curated, are also for beholding? That our walls can tell stories, our stories, and that everyone who steps into our space can also be audience members and participants and storytellers with us?

This sounds fantastic. This sounds worthy, and if you're like me, you're ready for the things in your home to be intentional and storied and beheld. You're ready to have less things but greater impact. You're ready for your space to be just that - your space.  So I'm here today as a champion with you to share 10 things to display on a gallery wall that are storied, personal and worthy of beholding.

1. Letters


Letters demonstrate a desire to express an emotion so strong that it deserves to be handwritten, thoughtful, and packaged with more patience in order to express a depth of connection. What letters has someone written you that can keep you motivated, encouraged, or true in your own space?

2. Local shop prints


When people visit your home or work environment, what better way to show your local support and share your local love than by showing off your favorite hang out spots? Stickers, business prints/papers, logos and more are all fun ways to share the nooks you love in the places you live.

3. Maps


Here are a few ideas of maps to display: maps of where you live, subway routes of your city, maps of your travels, maps of places you would like to go, maps of your home (blueprints!), maps of fantasy worlds from your favorite novels.  The roads are endless! (See what I did there?)

4. Souvenirs

Display the world you've seen on the walls of your homes. What's in my souvenir display? The number 9 circular sign from Fenway Park, Nicaraguan pottery, Haitian jewelry and more. This is a simple way to remind you of your travels and stir up a good conversation with friends!

5. Wedding Invitation Packages (or other party invitation packages)


Remember that awesome wedding you had or party you created, with all the time spent in the details of color scheme, mood, and expression? Why leave those moments at the party? Framing the invitation package is a practical way to not only continue savoring the moment but allow others into the after party as well.

6. Handmade Goods

Yes! You, too, can craft! Think about anything you've made or want to make with your hands, such as paintings drawings, woodcrafting, calligraphy, sculpting and more. There's no better way for someone to behold your space than something made by you, for you, to tell your story!

7. Old Fabrics


Sometimes we have some old fabrics laying around that we just can't get rid of. Maybe it's an old t-shirt that doesn't fit anymore but it carried us through our youth, so we cherish it. Maybe it's a ratty old blanket that reminds us of home. Maybe it's a strip of fabric used for our wedding. Whatever it is, old doesn't negate the story. The story should be shared proudly.

8. Family Heirlooms

The sky's the limit on this one. I have an old hat from my grandpa that claims a spot. My dad eventually wants to mount his grandpa's gun for display. You may have fine china, a family photo, or an old tool. No matter what, don't get it dusty in a closet. Let it be bold on your walls!

9. Motivational Printables

These are especially great for workspaces, but any place where you want to be constantly reminded of who you are and where you're going are great fits for motivational posters. You can always peruse Pinterest for great printables, and change them out easily as seasons change.

10. Messageboards from The Cozy Keep!


Of course we couldn't talk about personalizing your space without a messageboard, right? I love these boards, I believe in these things, and I believe in what I'm doing. I believe in making your space an intentionally storied piece. Want to learn more about using a messageboard and stories you can share throughout the year? Check out this post HERE. Want to check out the shop and see which messageboard would be a great fit for you? Find your fit HERE.