Why You Need Your Own Real-Life Instagram Wall

In January of this year, I decided (after a pretty respectable period of thoughtful deliberation) it was time to make a change and pursue a career that would allow me to combine my skills/talents with the things I am really passionate about (just for example, let’s hypothetically say coffee) 🙂 I am really excited for this new phase of my career, but there are number of details I needed to get lined up before beginning it. One of those things was setting up a home office so it would be both practical and productivity-enhancing.

This task is what inspired me to create my real-life Instagram wall. Having color and texture and interesting images around me is really really important to my sense of well-being, and my sense of well-being is important to my inspiration and productivity. The other reason I wanted to make a real-life Instagram wall is because I don’t like the idea that my photos are all hidden away in my digital devices. It is nice to have photos of my friends and family around me in my physical surroundings – not just tucked away in the deep space of my iPhone’s storage. I am telling you all of this because I think it is important for people to think about what makes a space feel good them… to feel, you know, “right.”

I have always used the space next to my desk as a kind of pin board – taping up a variety of photos, friends’ holiday cards, and mementos. For a long time I really liked the mishmash look of this wall. Until one day, I didn’t. I loved all the things that were represented on the wall, but, almost overnight, it started to look cluttered and messy. I blame Marie Kondo

Anyway, all that matters is I got it in my head to replace all of the things on my wall with rows and rows of square photos. (I think Marie would be proud, except that I kept much of the original knick-knackery and stored it away… let’s not tell her.)

This is how I converted the mish-mash to a clean, streamlined, dare-I-say pretty slick-looking Instagram wall.

  1. For the things that were already photos, there were two options.  a) If I only had a paper version of the photo (e.g. old family snapshots and holiday cards from friends), I snapped a new digital photo of it with my phone, using the “square” options – so I wouldn’t have to crop it after photographing it. b) for the other photos, I already had a digital image, and for the few of those that weren’t already square, I just cropped them square using the editing tool on the camera app.
  2. Then there were other non-photo things on the wall… actual items like encouraging cards from friends, a decorated coffee bag, drawings by my niece and nephew. In some ways, those non-photo things were maybe even more inspiring/encouraging than the pictures of friends and family, so I definitely wanted to include them. With those items, I just took them down off the wall and snapped a photo of each.
Took picture of an encouraging card and note I got from my dear friend Jenny.
A picture of an encouraging card and note from my dear friend, Jenny.

Then it was time to find a service that would print my photos as squares. I am a loyal Shutterfly user probably for no other reason than they have a lot of my photos already stored on their site, and it is the path of least resistance to use them when printing photos. However, surprisingly, they didn’t offer square prints at the time* I was creating my Instagram wall, so I started looking for other options. As I looked for square photo printing services, I found many are based in the UK or Germany, but Social Print Studio, formerly Prinstagram (a-DOR-able), is based in the US, so I went with them.

With Social Print Studio, you upload right from Instagram, but you can also upload images from your phone or computer. The 4×4 size is $12 for 24 prints and 3×3 size is $15 for 48 prints. Both sizes are printed on archival-quality cardstock made from 50% recycled paper with a matte finish. And each square is printed with a 3mm white border around your photo. Heads up: production time is 2-3 days plus whatever shipping speed you choose, so don’t expect to get these overnight.

instagram photo of stumptown coffee bag
My actual skydiving coffee bag (“Jumpton Coffee Roasters” – haha) and a photo of my skydiving coffee bag.

Social Print Studio, like many photo printing services, also does books, and posters and calendars, etc. All with a really hip design. Especially easy if everything is coming straight from your Instagram feed, but easy enough even if it isn’t.

The end result (picture at the top of the post) was a clean-looking wall with a lot of really great memories and encouraging images.  I love the look and know it will contribute to a good energy for my new work space.

What do you think? Are you tempted to create your own real life Instagram wall?

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*Shutterfly does now have a 4×4-inch photo option, but I found their square photo feature to be a lot less user-friendly than Social Print Studio. Presume that will change as more and more people start to print square photos.

About The Author

Anne Stericker

City-dweller, designer, writer and lifestyle consultant practicing the art of living well in the 21st Century. Fixated with good coffee, great design, and any little thing that makes life better.


  1. KJ Luker | 21st Mar 16

    Ok Anne, this is weird: TODAY I was looking at Shutterfly to see whether they print small square photos on canvas, the way they do large prints. I decided it was time to get some of my favorite photos out of my devices and onto our walls. Wow. Synchronicity.

    • Anne Stericker | 28th Mar 16

      I LOVE that stuff! So coooooool!

  2. Steve Heller | 21st Mar 16

    Love it Anne. Always admire your ambition and your insistence on approaching with a sharply-honed aesthetic. Clearly you are, indeed, unrepeatable 😉

    Our surroundings, the vibe of our personal space – well, in a way, what else could matter more? I like that you take on a new way of looking at your space and then execute your ideal.

    I like spending time creating the right ‘feel’ where I live … but get lazy about halfway through and let it percolate [coffee word] for a while until a fresh perspective steals in.
    Will likely be moving again in a month (far away … across the driveway to a different duplex), and will get a chance to re-create a space all over again, which is good. Change, and re-imagining and re-creating one’s space, is a Good Thing. Instagrantastic.

    • Anne Stericker | 28th Mar 16

      Thank you, Steve! I love that you are moving, literally, across the driveway. And also love that you will get a chance to re-create your space. Very cool! It is really fun being able to re-create/redecorate (and purge!), 100%! Thank you so much for your great feedback. Means a lot!

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