So, I've got this wall...
A big-ass plain long boring white wall. It's upstairs in the hallway that leads from one end of the house to the other. It's huge. It has a light switch (that we never use) smack dab in the middle of it. It's the first thing you see when you come upstairs. And it's BORING.
I have been trying to figure out what to do with this white wall for 4 years now. I thought about painting it a fun color, but that didn't seem like enough. I thought about painting it with stripes or a fun wallpaper, but that seemed like way too much. I was at a loss. UNTIL I saw this picture...
I'm sure you've all seen this one before. It's all over the blogosphere. And it spoke to me. It said, "Sara, you should do a map wall upstairs in the hallway." And I agreed. Hallelujah! (And then I realized I should probably stop drinking and get off the internet before the picture of that Gucci bag I've been eyeing spoke to me and convinced me to buy it.)
So, I had an idea. Now I just needed maps. Fun maps. Colorful maps. Maps of all different sizes. Maps of places that were special to me. Maps that didn't cost a small fortune. Enter Etsy.
I decided that I didn't want to stick to "traditional road/land maps" - I wanted to mix things up a bit. Etsy had everything I wanted and then some. I had trouble narrowing it down to around 20 prints. There were so many awesome ones. I starting picking prints based on color, size and significance. I knew I wanted to do bright colors (orange and blue) and I let the prints do the rest.
(we got married in Wyoming)
(we're going to Italy in the fall)
(my hubby is Irish)
(because I studied abroad twice)
(because I liked the orange)
(because Ryan is obsessed with going back to Alaska)
(the first big trip Ryan and I took together)
(we're going there for our friends' wedding in November)
(where we vacation and I love the colors)
(because we have family there and visit a lot)
(where my alma mater is located - MIZ-ZOU!)
(probably my favorite map of them all and what I based the entire color scheme around)
And a few others.
As for frames, I had no idea where I was going to find fun funky bright-colored frames in the sizes I needed. I was worried that this was going to cost me a fortune. I looked high and low and couldn't find anything I really liked. So, I did what any good crafter would do. I bought cheap ol' ugly frames from Michael's (whatever was on sale) and then spray painted them. Yep, spray paint. Krylon spray paint, to be exact. Pumpkin Orange, Blue Ocean Breeze, Raspberry, Black, White and a couple other "complementary" colors.
It took me about six months to collect the maps/prints, get frames and mats in the right sizes, get them all painted the colors I wanted. And then it took me another three months to get motivated to actually hang them. Much to my husband's horror, they've been sitting in my office in piles taking up space and wreaking havoc, plus I had about 15 cans of spray paint strewn about the garage which he would trip over and kick every time he entered the house. He really deserves a medal for putting up with me and my crazy ideas sometimes.
Next, I had to figure out how to arrange them all. I used wrapping paper and traced and cut out each frame to match the size of the frames so I could get a visual on what it would look like once they were hung. I placed each framed map below the corresponding paper cut-out, so I could balance color distribution.
At this point, I recommend getting a helper to assist you with placement. Someone with an eye for this kind of thing. I was worried that it might be too overwhelming/bright, that my arrangement was off-kilter or that it was going to look cluttered. I had to call in the big dog for help.
My assistant, Sage.
We discussed my concerns and she told me that she loved it and to trust my instincts that it would look great. And then she licked me, knocked over seven frames with her tail and began chewing on the hammer.
Finally, it was time to hang!
And here's the finished product.
So, now I have a map wall.
And I love it!
Sage was very happy with it too.
And since we had all these bright wonderful colors to play around with, I also redid the landing right across from the map wall in the same colors and made myself a little reading nook. I love the way it turned out.
One final before and after photo of the map wall.
So, what do you think?
Do you like?