Our Spring Living Room + An Easier Way to Hang Frames Straight & Level

I don't normally decorate with the seasons (besides Christmas) mainly because I don't want to store seasonal decor nor am I quick enough but I managed to do so in our living room this spring thanks to some springy fabric finds I made pillow covers out of.   Just changing those up made all the difference and was all I needed to do to go spring in here since our furniture can already pass for the season.  I ventured out of our norm and threw in a little bit of blush pink (I made those pillow covers out of this curtain panel* - it's semi-sheer so I layered it over the existing pillow cover) that nods to the abstract painting that's hanging in the breakfast nook.  You can't see it in the photo below but here it is up close and personal.  Just adding that pink really unifies this whole, big space. 


The kitchen in the background will hopefully soon look more like it belongs (paint!) and maybe even the fireplace (mortar!) but even still, I'm liking the fresh new view.

It looks especially fresh when you look back on what it was two years ago:

No doubt taking that far wall out and painting the paneling are the big winners here.

The view from from the breakfast nook is pretty good too (in real life, the tv looks more like real art but for some reason it's more saturated behind the camera - I've been trying to hack the ever-popular frame tv and once we add a frame, I think it'll look even better.  That'll be a fun tutorial to share.)

It's a totally different view than it's humble beginning:

But one thing I really wanted to share with you is how we hung those updated photos of the kids in the living room.  Let me tell you the quick backstory first though.  I really, really, really want to take the big ole, builder-grade mirror down in our master bathroom and hang it over the couch.  My sister did that in her previous house (except they found their big mirror on a curb) and it just opened up the space so much and bounced all this extra light around.  Well, Anthony isn't quite on the same canoe as me as regards the mirror.  Hanging that mirror would require lots of drilling into the wood paneling because it's so heavy and, you know?  I get it.  It's hard to patch wood paneling if and when you take down things you previously hung up.  But it would look so good!!  We haven't remodeled our bathroom yet though so there's still time to change his mind and come up with a genius solution to hang the thing that wouldn't cause lots of damage to the paneling.  Pssst...I'm all ears if you've got a solution!  Maybe 3M will sponsor me with 204857 Command strips?  Ha!  Anyway, until the mirror happens, hanging these enlarged photos I took of the kids was a great way to fill the wall.

You might remember similar photos hanging over the couch in our rental:

Only there were only three - with the twins taking up a frame together.  (I got this whole idea from Chris loves Julia.)  This time around I thought we'd go wider since the room is bigger and give each kid his/her own frame plus go gold.  So, I ran to Michael's to grab one more frame (the last one they had, phew!  Also, I bought them all during a 50% sale!), and painted all of the frames gold with this spray paint + primer*.

I painted them months ago, took new pictures a month later, and then didn't get those pictures edited and printed until a month after that or two weeks ago.  Life, I tell ya.

All great and grand, we all know we work pretty slowly over here.  But here's the thing, I was so excited to get the new prints in the frames that I didn't notice they were ever so slightly larger than the frames, causing the top and bottom to wrinkle like this:

Argh.  There's nothing like a quip like this to make something look like it was as cheap as it actually was.  ;)

Even though I had them printed at the same place both times, the old prints were slightly smaller than the frame so they fit perfectly without any wrinkling.  To remedy the situation, I cut a few millimeters off one side of each print, cut a little bit more off each corner, stretched and smoothed the ends as well as I could, and taped them down. 

I had to be careful to cut only what I needed to secure the corners to the back of the frame - still keeping everything hidden behind the front of the frame.  It helped a little and the prints definitely aren't as wrinkled as they were but I should've done this right off the bat or at least right after the first time I put them inside the frames.  Instead, I sulked and let them sit in there until I could get around to redoing them which probably ironed in my wrinkles.


So as not to ruin any paneling hanging them, we used Command Velcro strips* to hang (I bought in bulk because I knew we'd use the rest later).  The back edges of these frames are pretty narrow, so I cut each strip in half and stuck two on the back of each side of each frame, one on top of the other vertically and starting about six inches down. 

Once hung, the strips are thick enough that they're visible from the sides of the frames which isn't ideal (maybe I'm the only one who notices?) but sticking them to the top would have made the next part of the process a little more tricky.

To get the frames to hang at exactly the same level and spaced apart all the way across, I started by hanging the first frame where I wanted it (far left) and using it to guide the next one.  Then, I measured six inches over to the right of the first frame and stuck a piece of tape on the wall so that the right side of the tape fell on that six inch mark.  I knew that that's where the left side of the new frame would have to sit.  Then, I had Anthony hold a piece of scrap wood on top of the old frame so that it sat on top of the new too.  With him holding it down pretty firmly, I could butt the top of the new frame up against the wood and know it'd hang right in line.  

So that the velcro didn't stick to the wall before I had a chance to make sure the frame was exactly where it needed to be, I held the entire frame an an angle - the top touching the wall and the scrap wood and the bottom several inches from touching the wall - and had Anthony set a small level on top.  When the side of the frame was in line with the tape, the top in line with the scrap wood, and the level saying we were perfectly balanced, I slowly moved the bottom of the frame closer to the wall until the whole thing was vertical and the velcro strips sticking.  A little extra push on the frame where the strips were ensured it wasn't going anywhere.  The frames aren't very heavy so they should stay put for as long as it takes...to get that mirror up on the wall.  ;)  


Even if you're not worried about damaging wood paneling; if you just don't want to damage your drywall, you're in a rental, or you just want a simpler way to hang frames straight across (this would work hanging vertically too!), velcro strips and this process are pretty much fool-proof!  Just make sure you've got an extra set of hands! 

Let me know if you try it and have a great rest of your week!

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