stairway gallery wall

by | Oct 30, 2017 | My House | 41 comments

When we first move in, we all made a big push to get things unboxed and put away.  (Or at least put in a spot that made some amount of sense.)  But, as the weeks have gone by, I admit I’ve slowed down a bit.  There is still plenty that needs to be sorted, organized.  There are still some unopened boxes and items stacked in out of the way places.

And as we’re working to settle into a rhythm, it’s easy to overlook the piles and put things off until later…especially when there is stuff to do that is more fun!

But, I got a bee in my bonnet on Friday and decided it was time to tackle the piles in the dining room…

It was almost all decor that was homeless and family photos waiting to be hung.

So, I started to sort through it, moving some decor pieces to the storage room, finding a home for others, and then I finally hung the family photos on the wall up each staircase.

(Ooo…I need to give that long one a nudge to get it level again!)

Anyway, I didn’t have a plan, but I just wanted to hang the family photos in a grouping that looked interesting.  I started with the larger pictures and added in smaller ones from there.

It’s amazing how much warmth and personality they bring to the house.

Yes, the walls still need to be painted, but I decided the pictures might not be hung for months if I wait on that to happen, especially because the foyer is 2 stories, so we’ll have to hire that out.  I’m usually game to paint anywhere, but I’ve fallen off the top of an 8′ ladder and that’s enough of tall ladders for me.  I don’t even care if it’s scaffolding.  Nope.

But, one thing at a time.

I think moving in is about the little victories that inch you closer to being completely settled…


  1. Lindsay

    Where did you get that long one from? It’s gorgrous 😍

    • Marian Parsons

      It’s an antique frame that I found at an antique store and I cut a mat to fit some small family pictures from an old photo album.

  2. Brenda

    The staircases show off your family photo collection so well. So personal and that means such a big step forward in making this your family sanctuary. Well done, and a great place to start the finishing up process.

    Love the white pierced tin cupboard, and don’t remember it at your old house. Loving the white painted pieces these days. Adds to the serenity of that area.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Missy kenney

    I have 4 kids, 3 boys, who constantly run around making it feel like there is a stampede coming through. I also hate crooked pictures, so when i have its finally hanging place i put two small donuts of tape on the bottom two corners and i dont have any issues😉

  4. Marsha Kern

    It looks so good!!

  5. Wanda

    I love that they’re so cohesive with frame and matt color. I haven’t used old family photos in years because it was just so random. I really need to do something similar.

    Enjoying so much watching you settle in.

  6. Jay

    I have an insane amount of family photos and artwork that I have yet to hang. It’s intimidating. This post defined what I like about grouping family photos. The first grouping is so appealing to me because of the wide white matts with thinner frames, the wider spacing between the photos and the variety of shapes — especially the long horizontal. You did a beautiful job. This is what I needed to get going on this.

  7. Kim

    Staircase painting tip! You don’t need to use ladders or scaffolding, get a LONG-handled telescoping painting pole (several different lengths available at home building stores). They are not expensive. You might have to get a few poles and then decided which length is right, and return what you don’t need. Any kind of paint tool will screw into the handle.

    Then use a tiny 5″ microfiber roller that is fluffy all around, even at the tip. This will allow you to get into all the corners where the walls meet the ceiling and other tight spots for edging in. Stand directly below the area you’re painting and push UP, flat against the ceiling, while rolling, not on an angle.

    This pole is what many professional painters use (which is how I learned about it) and it is NOT hard to do, but I suppose it limits you to having walls and ceiling the same color for best results. The best part it is it saves a lot of money, but you might get sore arms and shoulders for a couple of days if you’re not used to painting.

    As a novice, I got professional results in my 2-storey stairwell and am not afraid to do it again!

    • Marian Parsons

      I have painted cathedral ceilings with some pretty big extension poles, but I don’t know if they make them long enough for this two story foyer!

  8. Teresa

    Love all your vintage photos, it makes for a beautiful gallery wall! Painting two story areas and steps can be challenging and if you aren’t good with heights it can be scary and dangerous. Sometime its just wise to hire this type of work out to the professionals.

    • Patti

      I agree with this. You have to look at the big picture when picking your “DIY” battles!

  9. Cindy

    Oooooo… love the gallery wall. …. and the placement is perfect! The house gets more charming every single day!

    • D.

      Amen. Couldn’t agree more!

  10. Diane C.

    Went to the Nashville Flea Market this past weekend and, while strolling around, overwhelmed by the size of the market (1800 vendors!), thought “What would Marion do?” Ultimately, I found my people under the five open sheds and was able to bring home some bargains. Keep going with your beautiful moving-in. The progress is inspiring.

  11. Kim P.

    It looks wonderful, sometimes I want things perfect and bc of that I don’t tackle a small project… this is a good reminder that it does t have to be perfect, it can look Nike says, Just Do It ! You can always go back later

  12. Betsy

    As I’ve followed the adventures of your new house, I never had a doubt that you would be able to make it warm and homey and “yours”. I will admit that I wondered how you’d manage it, though! I can see it all coming together now. Suddenly, it seems to not only have become a home, but YOUR home.
    As we are hoping to purchase our next home within the coming year (we have been full-time RVers for 3 years), I realize I don’t have to find a home with built-in character, I can give it character, as you have!
    Thanks for always sharing the process with us. You’ll never know how many people you inspire!

    • Cindy in Oklahoma

      Great comment. You reminded me of something Nate Berkus said a long time ago. “I believe your home tells a story about who you are and who you aspire to be. We represent ourselves through the things we own. I don’t believe in trends. I believe in collecting things that you connect with. We should surround ourselves with things we care about, that have meaning.”

  13. Janet

    Thank you for sharing this project-I would love to do a similar arrangement, but can’t decide on the color of frames…I have color, sepia-tone, and black and white photos-HELP!

  14. Marlene

    Hanging family pictures always makes a warm statement, they are the core of a home i think. Yours look wonderful.

  15. Marlee

    I know you are planning on redoing that red chair but I have to say I love the way it makes everything else pop… maybe think on it awhile longer. PS that long photo with the accent at the top just slays me! so pretty!

    • Peggy

      I thought the same thing about the red chair!

  16. Renee

    The gallery is beautiful even in its temporary state. This has been on my bucket/to do list for years. You have given me a kick in the pants to at least get it near the top of the list.

  17. Sandra

    Love the pop of color in the corner with the red and white chair…gorgeous!

  18. Mary Crozier

    You have such a gift of making what looks like a relatively new home, into a warm, farmhouse styled space. It just reinforces to me that home is in your heart and any space can be personalized and cozy. I especially love the blue cabinet in the dining room and all that gorgeous china.

    Also getting ready to use the muslin sheets I bought from you quite a while ago on an upholstery project!

  19. Mary Lou Dishop

    I moved to Williamsburg, VA about the same time you moved to MN. You have inspired me to keep going. We are living with white everywhere for now. We have added pendant lights above island, back splash, etc. Love the pictures. A little “teacher’s putty” at the corner will keep them in place. I have a collection of chocolate molds that I will arrange on a dining room wall as you did your pictures. You have come a long way in your house becoming your home.

  20. Jeanie

    Love the gallery wall! I am glad to see the red and white chair is still not recovered!! love it…

  21. Lillian

    I think there is no complete settling under heaven. This is no our HOME. As I read your heart more, I guess you’ve been roaring through the FUN stuff. Bless you! You inspire me to roar up some FUN!

  22. debbie

    I love entering a home and seeing family photos. I also have a family gallery bouncing down my front stairs and I like to view and say hi to the gang on my way up and down. Your home is all the more inviting and I can’t wait to see your next project. I bet you will have fun decorating for the Holidays. Many blessings!

  23. Darcy

    Good job! Also, a little sticky putty (usually found in the office supply aisle by the tape) will keep your long one where it should be and not wreck your wall. 🙂

  24. Marilee

    Museum wax is excellent to stick on the back of pictures that shift. It’s made for the purpose of keeping things put. In our house, whenever anyone closed the living room door rather zealously some of the pictures on that wall shifted until we began using the wax.

  25. Norma Rolader

    So beautiful I love the way you have done the photos at your stairway

  26. Mary

    Pictures always add so much to a home… old and new ones! Love the photos of my Father in his Army uniform when he was 18 and my Mother’s Senior picture. They make me happy.

  27. Kathy Riddle

    You know there is “the rule” that anything still boxed up after 6 months should be donated.

    PS. I have some items still in boxes. Going on 15 years. LOL

  28. Pamela Fife

    I know you are not set on keeping that chair in the corner the red fabric, but for some reason it seems so perfect. When I look at your photos, each time, it seems so perfect. I think its beautiful like it is.

  29. Berta

    We moved (major Downsizing) a year ago in June. We unpacked the last cartons just this last Sunday. I suppose patience is a virtue, but it was hard.

  30. Debbie

    I was thinking the same thing about the red chair. It sets off the blues and greens so beautifully. And it will be perfect for the Christmas season. I hope you keep it for a while…

  31. Jackie

    I really like the stairway – I look at all of your pics and then you mentioned the dining room!!! It just seems your house is so huge! It seems you have lots of energy to do all of your projects!!! Those last couple boxes can be such a pain to unpack – usually because by then you don’t have any room!!! Your home is lovely!

  32. Pamela

    I agree completely. we are 5 months in our new house and tomorrow is my first gathering with bestie girlfriends from our other town. I was so happy picking up the food I’ll prepare and picking out flowers for the table, it felt like I was walking on air all afternoon…it felt like a small victory.

  33. Nat

    What color of paint are you planning on using? If you’ve chosen already that is!

  34. Nora Sudetic

    It was nice to see the chippy rocking horse in your foyer. I remember when you bought and painted it. I’ve been following you for quite some time now. Love all you do. Your style is perfection.


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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