Changing The World

By Kate Riley August 29, 2012

There’s been an ongoing debate in our house over the past few months around the wall map that used to sit in the kids’ playroom which we’re converting to a study.  It was a giant 8’ x 10’ wall map in earth tones from National Geographic and a definite conversation piece in our home, it took up the entire wall, and it was very cool.  The debate was about whether it should stay or go. 

Then I got to the point where I loved the idea of a map but wanted to have more of a gallery wall instead to display a collection of special prints and drawings, so we recently changed the world and opted for a smaller map surrounded by family artwork.

framed world map above blue sofette cg

I actually bought second map from National Geographic (this one) and framed it in a Ribba frame from IKEA to save money.  You can see the old wall map here.  To frame the new smaller one, I had to trim the mat but that was easy, all it requires is a ruler, a box cutter or X-acto knife, patience, and precision!

Since the mat covered some of the countries on the new NG map, I subtracted as many inches as were necessary to reveal the “new world”, marked it with a pencil and carefully trimmed the mat with a X-acto knife on top of a cutting board.

trim back mat

trim with xacto

new mat for map


As for the other prints that surround the new map, I don’t have an exact method for hanging, I just lay it all out on the carpet and start playing with placement.

layout framed art

If you need help, I really love this idea for deciding on placement before pounding nails!

new world map


I picked up some landmark prints from street artist on our recent trip to Québec City and Montréal so those made it up on the wall.

print from montreal

print from quebec city

framed travel prints


The “golden” state print above is by one of my favorite illustrators Katie Daisy, so is the Emerson “live in the sunshine” print.

think good thoughts dahl quote


I followed this handy trick for hanging the wall art once I decided where it would go, using painter’s tape to set the distance between hangers for the wall.  You simply use the painter’s tape to establish the position of the nails on your wall, use a level to keep them straight and hammer the nail into the right spot, brilliant Aimee!

painters tape trick


Inspired by the new display, the kids turned the side table into an unexpected impromptu station to make even more artwork for the wall – yes!

impromptu art station

late night art station

rocket ship


It’s just the beginning of our curated collection, but I imagine there will be a many more masterpieces that end up there.   Although the bigger wall map was a great room accent, these little works of art are also great little conversation pieces plus they’re surrounded by prints of memorable places and created by favorite artists- it’s the best kind of art gallery in my world!

gallery wall in study cg

Do you have a special gallery where you display personal and/or kid’s art in your home too?



  1. Love this Kate! I’ve always wanted to do a gallery wall but I’ve been CHICKEN! I love that you mixed different kinds of pictures but unified them with the frames… and that one black frame mixes it up! It seems you are always doing some kind of project I’ve been thinking of doing but haven’t gotten around to yet… so inspirational!

  2. This is so adorable! I love how personal it is. We have a Family photo gallery that I have put a few other home made art projects in, and I also created a place for my kids to display all of their masterpieces. I love both spaces, and have even thought of hanging some things in our master bedroom that reflect my husband and I. Like maps of places we’ve visited etc. If you are interested here is the art display wall
    and this is our photo gallery

  3. I’ve recently decided to do a similar (though different method of display) thing in our own playroom. I have yet to figure out the exact details but I think it will be fun! Yours looks beautiful!

  4. I love this and that map is awesome! I have been working on collecting picture frames for my gallery wall for a couple months now and I think I finally have all of them. Thanks so much for the help hints on hanging the frames it is going to come in very handy when I officially start putting it together!

  5. I love maps! I have some large NG maps from the 40s and 50s over my sofa. I’m still working on a good place to display all my sons’ artwork. They make so much, I need something I can change out frequently.

  6. I love both the old huge map and the new lighter feel of the gallery wall with all those gorgeous prints and kids’ artwork! I have to ask though, at the beginning of the post you said that there’s been a debate in your family … I suppose I just missed the details in the post, but what’s the debate about?

  7. I have a wall in our family room full of art work and memorable art! And I am working on one up our stairwell too, it will be a mix of family photos along with art! Love the tape idea – ingenious!

  8. That is one hell of a great carpet! Can you please please tell me where is it from? I’ve been having huge problems with finding anything decent in my country (I’m not from US). I hope it is available in UE :)

  9. Awww, I loved the old huge map you had up, but I understand why you did this. I, too, have quite a collection of art and never enough room to get it up on the walls. It’s so wonderful to display kid’s art and meaningful works from places you visited.

  10. 2 things:

    1st – love the use of a wall map in a gallery setup. it’s given me the idea to do the same thing in our office/spare bedroom as part of my next project. i’m going to tweak it a little so that the pictures surrounding the wall map are photos, post cards, etc. taken from the places we’ve been & somehow pin that on the map & maybe “tie” or connect the pins to the photos (we’ll see about that part. maybe color coded matting instead to correspond to a pin on the map.

    2nd – love the sofa! where did you get that & is it a pullout, sleeper, futon type as well?

  11. I am in love with maps and globes lately so this is really a fun post for me. Seeing your children’s artwork is the icing on the cake. I have a wall with three Ikea white frames in the playroom, one for each of my kiddos. I knew a long time ago that I did not want the front of the fridge to be an art wall so I did this for all their masterpieces and they love seeing their art displayed proudly. You can see it here if you like…….

  12. I LOVE it! What a unique idea! And I love the color scheme you used. Can I ask where you found that rug? It is exactly the colors I am looking for in my Family Room.


  13. I feel like I’ve never seen this living room sofa/rug combo in the time I’ve read your blog….love it! I have green sofas, and the room is so much green. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to break it up with not much luck (and I’m no decorator, so it’s hit or miss). I absolutely love this color combination! I may be headed back to the fabric store for some blue/green fabrics for some new pillows to see how it goes. I just fell in love with that picture! Thanks!

  14. Love your gallery wall! I’m a bit addicted to them in our house, but we have a lot of watercolors and prints from places we’ve visited that I like to display. They make for an interesting collection, and the “theme” isn’t something that smacks you in the face. It’s almost like secretly personalizing our art!

  15. I love it..I did the same thing..with the maps, for my boys bedroom..and in the center put a picture of them..its cute and different..glad you love the “map” pictures as well..


  16. LOVE how you’ve changed up the old playroom (which I thought was equally fab:). Did you do away with a playroom altogether in lieu of the new study? I’m struggling with a terribly underused playroom playroom upstairs for my three girls, but have been paralyzed not knowing whether or not I should just abandon the whole playroom idea anyway!! They are 8, 12 & 14, and I’m sure are ready for a change too! I love all your inspiring ideas!!

    • Hi Leigh, yep we purged all the toddler toys and kept only games and a few interactive toys they still play with – I tucked them into the built in window bench storage. Mostly the room is now for homework, art, games, and creative play – a much better use of space as a study now that they’re in elementary school!

  17. Love your gallery wall! I’m collecting art for one now and appreciate the Katie Daisy link as well as the tip for hanging the frames! And woo-hoo, your daughter is a lefty! ;)

  18. Love the gallery wall and love your art. I am sure the kiddos love their art displayed. Very good art!

  19. I love this idea! My husband has always insisted on having a map in our sons room when he is a little older, but I love the idea of creating a more ‘family’ inspired gallery based around a map. I don’t think I could ever have your patience and precision to frame all that stuff, but I would be willing to try if it would end as nice looking as this… I think I’d like to try it with a few antique frames added in. That sounds fun. Thanks for the idea!


  20. I think Katie Daisy has a FB album with pictures of her artwork hanging in other people’s homes/spaces submitted by customers. She would probably love to see how you incorporated it into your gallery wall — which I LOVE!

  21. I truly love your art gallery and especially the color scheme of your living-room. This carpet is simply adorable and I’m wondering whether they ship to Germany. Thanks a lot for sharing the link. This carpet would match perfectly here.
    Love, FrauSchmitt

  22. Kate, thank you so much for posting this! We have a large bare wall in our living room that I have been searching for inspiration for for so long… and you have provided that inspiration! I’ve been wanting to do a Gallery of sorts, but wanted it to be a bit different. I love the idea of having a map as a centre piece and talking point, and I think what I’ll do is surround it with our favourite photos from each of the places we have visited. So excited!

  23. I really like this idea, although our kids are grown so we’d just use the landmark pictures we’ve picked up in our travels to surround the map and complete the gallery wall. I’ve been trying to figure out how to do a cohesive display with the disparate photos, paintings, and prints that we’ve collected. This is a WONDERFUL way to do just that!

    We don’t have a wall big enough yet. In fact we’re getting ready to move from the rental where we’ve lived for four years (3 bedrooms/1 bath) into a teensy tiny two room casita, where we’ll live while we build our house. (The casita will eventually become our guest house.)

    The house we’re building will have a really long wall in the main living area which will be perfect for a gallery wall! We really won’t be able to put much, if any, furniture on that wall because that will be the path leading from the front door back to the kitchen. I’d really like to make that wall brick, but even if we can’t, it will still be a great wall for a gallery display. Thanks for the inspiration!

  24. Hi Kate! I actually just started hanging our gallery wall last night! Ive been collecting the kids artwork for months just waiting to start creating it. Ours is on a large wall just as you enter the front door. I really like the painters tape idea! I’m sort of a “free spirit” hanger when it comes to placement. I like to let it happen organically without any forethought as to where going to hang each piece.

  25. Hi! This idea is appealing because it’s tangible: anyone can do this and it promotes creativity at home! We have artwork from our daughter Olivia sprinkled all over the house in pretty frames. And I LOVE the map! I’ve never thought of framing a map until now and the idea is one I’m definitely going to try! I have one small wall of art in my living room and I want to try the idea again in our guest bedroom and a map is a great focal point!

    Here are some pics of my daughter’s artwork in our home!

    I always look forward to reading your blog and I love your ideas!


  26. Okay, about that rug … I am re-doing my home office over the Labor Day weekend and have been searching for a rug. I did see this one on Overstock, but on my monitor it looked too greeny yellowy. When I saw your rug in today’s post, I was going to ask where you got it … and was pleasantly surprised to find out it was the same one, only it looks much better than I thought. I just bought it. :)

    And I love the idea of a giant map wall. Wish we had the space for one!

    • Oh great Eileen, I think you’ll love it, it’s a bright apple green mixed with blues, and durable too!

  27. What a great way to recognize your kids, too! I’m sure they absolutely love having their work on the wall, too! Your kids are at such a precious age! Lots of work, but wonderful! After my parents passed away, I recently chose my dad’s map he order from NG years ago and had framed. It’s hanging in our living room and I love it!

  28. Oh this looks so clean and nice! I love inexpensive framing ideas. I get frames on sale at HomeGoods and repaint them and/or replace the mats to make them suitable for my artwork (which is often children’s drawings!). Thanks for the great pictures! Your room looks great!

  29. We are having the exact same conversation in our house about our very large over-sized map. While it’s great, I’ve been wanting to make the space more of a gallery area but my husband isn’t buying in to my design plan…yet. I also adore Katie Daisy! Such sweet work. Nice work, Kate!

  30. I LOVE the “live in the sunshine” print! We have a gallery wall that is currently all pictures and one quote, but when our little one (currently 6 mo old) starts making his own masterpieces we’ll have to either add to it or switch some out. I love the idea of keeping things fresh and exciting!

  31. I love the art work your children did. I run a daycare in my home and we are always crafting. It’s nice when I see parents of children that have long since left daycare and they tell me they still have the Christmas, Easter, Halloween etc. crafts that their kids made in my daycare. I warms my heart.

  32. You can actually by a special angled cutter to cut mats for framing. I’ve cut my own mats, and it’s probably MUCH easier with the angled cutter tool. Just FYI!!

  33. I love the light, bright, optimistic, and personal touch it adds to the new study room for your kids. I also absolutely loved the giant map that used to live on the play room wall. I have to admit, a little part of me was sad that it’s gone. (How can that be, it’s not even my house?!) It sounds like a fabulous touch to add to your husband’s waiting room for his office.

    Your photos really struck me today, too. I just realized that one of the things I’ve grown to love about your blog are the beautifully lit photographs of your home. Looking at a few other blogs, it amazed me to look again at your post and truly appreciate just how many photographs you put into this post, and how beautiful each photo looks. Kudos!

    • Yes that’s the outside width Haley! Just make sure to trim the mat to 21″ x 33″ inside…

  34. I’m loving this… We are trying to decide what to do with the living area of what used to be our children’s quarters. Something like this would be so cool! What a great starting point for the ever growing collection of our young grand children’s art!

  35. Looks great!! I bet the kids are proud to have their art included..Thanks so much for the tip on hanging..I may just get brave and try to hang my new shelves all by myself..Also I am in love with that carpet Kate!!

  36. I put the best of my kids artwork from the time they were wee ones up through high school on our hallway walls in acrylic frames. They are in college now, but I still love to look at their artwork and can still remember when they created most of it. They also love to playfully argue about which one is a better artist since some of the school-made artwork was done with the same teacher. Boys! We also have a world map that has been in our family room since they were in grade school. We moved it to a side wall but we still refer to it often. I may have to get a different frame for it – just to change things up a bit!

  37. Hello,

    I am absolutely in love with the “live in the sunshine” print and was wondering where you got it from? Also, I am a huge fan of this blog and I just love your style! Thanks for all the tips and ideas!

  38. Wow, that is what happens when you work four 13 hours shift in a row I guess :-) I saw the link last night but for some reason my brain interpreted it as only for “golden” print. Thanks so much!

  39. Hi Kate,
    love your blog & the new light pendants but have been meaning to ask you if you are putting the original world map (bigger one) on sale. might be interested if you are ready to ship it to another state.

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