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Easy Artwork or Gallery Wall Using Free Photos

Hello Friends,

Hallelujah, it’s finally Week 4 of the One Room Challenge. And this week, we are sharing how to create artwork or a gallery wall using royalty-free photos.

Easy Artwork or Gallery Wall Using Free Photos

In this day and age, have cell phone, will travel. And while traveling, don’t cha know we are snapping a few thousand photos along the way? And with all of these photos, you’d think it’d be super easy to find just the right photo to print.

Well, turns out, it’s not always so easy.

Case in point.

For the artwork in the bathroom makeover, I started with an amazing photo of a highrise building under construction in Atlanta’s Buckhead area. When my son was in high school, we set up shop around midnight at a construction site (yes! I must have been crazy) and he caught this photo using about a 10-12 minute exposure…. well…..after about a gazillion false starts. Because, you know what lights (headlights, flashlights from the night guards, etc) do to long exposures.

Inspiration piece for bathroom gallery wall | #gallerywall #orc #oneroomchallenge #bhgorc #betterhomesandgardens | www.thechelseaproject.com

Well anyway, this photo inspired the general feel for the rest of the photos in the bathroom. The problem is that I don’t have enough small prints to complete a gallery wall.

Yes, a gallery wall…in this tiny bathroom. #trustme

Big art in a tiny bathroom. Yes, please | #gallerywall #orc #oneroomchallenge #bhgorc #betterhomesandgardens | www.thechelseaproject.com

Enter royalty-free photos.

These include just about every kind of image you can imagine and are allowed for personal use. Yes! For free.

Here’s how it works.

How to Create Artwork or Gallery Wall Using Free Photos

Step One – Choose a Royalty-Free Website

As an example, to find more highrises under construction, I googled something like “highrise buildings construction free printable.” And several sites offering royalty-free images popped up: iStockPhoto.com , Pixabay.com , and Unsplash.com

Trust me, there are a boatload of sites. Just keep surfing around until you find a site with your perfect image subject. It’s a little time-consuming, but totally worth the effort.

Step Two – Choose a Printing Service

  • Most printing services offer standard sizes so it’s best to evaluate the prints and buy frames with any printing limitations from the printer in mind.

  • Also check to see how the service prefers photos to be saved after resizing. I usually save in PNG.

Step Three – Determine Frame and Matte Sizes

Set up the framing system. I always set up the size and shapes of frames before committing the photos to prints. This allows for adjusting how the photos work together so that images are maximized for composition. 

Big art and gallery walls create a one-of-a-kind look in this tiny bathroom | #gallerywall #orc #oneroomchallenge #bhgorc #betterhomesandgardens | www.thechelseaproject.com

Step Four – Resize Photos

Resize the downloaded images using free software, like befunky.com,  before sending them to print.

  • Check with your printing service before resizing. Remember, most services provide prints for standard sizes so your frames/mattes’ sizes will need to coordinate with the printing service offered sizes.

  • As photos are manipulated to lighten, enlarge, or change the photo size, do think about how this could impact the printed copy. Some photos distort or the image becomes grainy when radically resized.

  • Photos will resize better if photos shot in landscape are kept landscape and photos shot in portrait are kept portrait. This definitely minimizes distortion, but please continue to be cautious as resizing the image to very large or small can certainly distort.

Great gallery walls start with a mix of sizes, shapes and textures | #gallerywall #orc #oneroomchallenge #bhgorc #betterhomesandgardens | www.thechelseaproject.com

Step Five – Send to Printer

Email the photos to a trusted printing service. I usually use Costco, but there are many.

  • The key is to carefully read through the website’s directions and MAKE SURE to click for the photo to be printed “AS IS.”

  • There may also be an option for the printing service to “auto-correct.” If so, MAKE SURE to click it OFF.

  • If not, the printing machine may resize or even mess with the color of the image.

  • At the same time, you may opt to pickup or have the prints shipped to your home.

  • If you’d like a photo printed on canvas, most printing services offer this, too. But do take time to compare prices because they will vary vendor to vendor.

  • Or you may opt to print photos on the super-hip printing on glass

Closing Thoughts

  • Technology has advanced to the point where just about any vendor can produce a good product as long as they are provided a good image.

  • Also be mindful that most images on the internet have 72 pixels per inch. For print, the image needs to be at least 300 px. When downloading an image, check this number. If it’s higher than 300, that’s even better.

  • And remember, it’s VERY important that the adjustment to the pixels (upping them from 72) happens BEFORE the image is sent to the printing service. 

And that’s all there is to it.

I do hope you will join me in Week 6 (the reveal) when all of these empty frames will be filled and the photos in the blog post become light and bright. As of this posting, the space is still pretty much covered in tarps and filled with ladders. I’m crawling around the construction just to grab a few shots.

After the reveal, I’ll circle back to this post and add some good photos. But until Week 6, I’m trying to keep the tiny space under wraps.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave a message in the comment section (below). 

In the meantime, if you’d like to share this post or keep it for later, please pin this image.

Artwork and gallery walls are easy to create using a few simple tips | #gallerywall #photo galleries #gallerywalls #orc #oneroomchallenge #bhgorc #betterhomesandgardens | www.thechelseaproject.com


To visit Fall 2018 ORC posts:

Week 1 – The Modern Traditional Bathroom Plan, please click here

Week 2 – How to Stain and Protect a Wood Vanity, please click here

Week 3 – Barn Doors: Tips, Tricks and Options, please click here

Week 4 – You are Here #artwork #gallerywall

Week 5 – Coming Soon

Week 6 – The Big Reveal

To visit Previous Challenges : 

Click here for the Dining Room Reveal

Click here for the Great Room Reveal

Click here for the Living Room Reveal

And don’t forget to stop by and say hello to our gracious hosts, Calling It Home , One Room Challenge and Better Homes and Gardens. You can also visit over 200 bloggers by clicking Designer Challenge and/or clicking Blogger Challenge. #oneroomchallenge #ORC #betterhomesandgardens #bhgorc #homelovenetwork

Thanks so much for stopping by!





  • Reply Susanne October 23, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    Great post! I always forget about upping the pixels when printing.

    • Reply theChelseaProject October 24, 2018 at 8:22 am

      Hi Susanne and thanks. Oh girl…gotta up those pixels. Always. XOXO

  • Reply Marie October 24, 2018 at 9:39 am

    Excellent pointers and tips in here Susie. I am so intrigued by this makeover and can’t wait until the reveal!

    • Reply theChelseaProject October 24, 2018 at 10:01 am

      Thanks Marie! We are thrilled, too!

  • Reply Tee at Beauteeful Living October 24, 2018 at 10:46 am

    Love your tips, Susie! No matter the space, there’s always room for a little gallery wall. Hehe. That light is so gorgeous! I can’t wait to see the whole space…just a couple of weeks!!

    • Reply theChelseaProject October 24, 2018 at 1:47 pm

      Hi Tee! Thanks, girl. We are almost to the finish line.

  • Reply JENRON DESIGNS October 24, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    Love this gallery wall I need to remember iStockPhoto.com , Pixabay.com , and Unsplash.com for printable’s because this prints absolutely beautiful. I love it! Almost there and everything is looking so good!!!

    • Reply theChelseaProject October 24, 2018 at 7:00 pm

      Hi Jen and thanks! Yes… free photos are the way to go for inexpensive and versatile artwork.

  • Reply Jeweled Interiors October 24, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    I always go to Unsplash. I’ve never used the other two. I’ll have to check them out! Thanks for the tips

    • Reply theChelseaProject October 24, 2018 at 11:22 pm

      Right-O. Different sites seem to have good choices based on the project. Thanks for stopping by! XO

  • Reply mysha October 24, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    such great tips. love the gallery wall

    • Reply theChelseaProject October 24, 2018 at 11:23 pm

      Hi Mysha and thanks!!

  • Reply Nicole @ The Inspired Hive October 24, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    What a great photo he took! And these are all such great tips!

    • Reply theChelseaProject October 24, 2018 at 11:39 pm

      Hi Nicole and thanks. I actually have a whole collection. So excited to finally get them up on the walls.

  • Reply Libbie October 24, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    Susie, love the prints you’ve chosen and thanks for sharing the royalty free sites! I always forget to check them.

    • Reply theChelseaProject October 24, 2018 at 11:47 pm

      Hi Libbie and thanks. Free photos printed at Costco are a super cheap way to fill in the empty spaces. Keep the sites on your radar!!

  • Reply Rebecca Plumb October 25, 2018 at 12:53 am

    I love adding art in unexpected places. Great post and tips!

    • Reply theChelseaProject October 25, 2018 at 8:58 am

      Hi Rebecca and thanks! I have to admit that the original plan did not include a gallery wall. But as I began working with the accessories, it just kind of happened. Totally unexpected art in an unexpected place.

  • Reply Emy October 25, 2018 at 7:12 am

    Love your gallery wall! I’m currently trying to figure out how to fill a very blank wall.

    • Reply theChelseaProject October 25, 2018 at 9:31 am

      Hi Emy and thanks! I just let my son’s photo inspire me to find coordinating freebies. Then I printed 5 small photos (largest 8 by 12) for about 7 bucks. So it was a total win for this small space.

  • Reply postcards from the ridge October 25, 2018 at 8:47 am

    That’s such a great idea, Susie. Free is always good! Can’t wait to see how your bathroom gallery wall turns out.

    • Reply theChelseaProject October 25, 2018 at 9:41 am

      Hey Ange! Thanks friend. We are closing in on the final two weeks and I’m sooooo ready for the finish line. The shower door will be hung on Monday and that is the last of the construction crew’s to-do list. So excited.

  • Reply jadoreledecor October 25, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    I’m just so into this space! I look forward to checking back each week to what else you’ve done. It looks wonderful!

    • Reply theChelseaProject October 25, 2018 at 6:48 pm

      Oh sweet friend, you bless my soul. Thanks Ola!!

  • Reply Jen @ Noting Grace October 27, 2018 at 9:48 am

    That Gallery Wall is amazing! And I’m still swooning over that door! Gorgeousness!

    • Reply theChelseaProject October 27, 2018 at 2:01 pm

      Hi Jen and thanks a million! I’m with you about the door. It makes me smile.

  • Reply Cristina October 28, 2018 at 12:07 am

    Your son took a great shot of that building! And I love what I see of your pretty bath! I can’t wait for reveal time!

    • Reply theChelseaProject October 28, 2018 at 10:11 pm

      Hi Cristina and thanks so much! The shower door goes in this week. I ended up getting a frameless slider because of the fit and the cost. Fingers crossed!!

    Thanks so much for your comment!

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