As a decorator I have my own design and décor philosophy that includes some critical components to creating a beautiful sanctuary for my clients to live in. Making what I call “positive impact statements” is part of this philosophy. As I wrote in a recent post, Positive Impact Statements In Your HOME, one way to make a positive impact statement in your home is to artfully display family photographs. Without a doubt displaying family photos is one of the things on my list that can take a home from ordinary to extraordinary. Why you ask? First of all, displaying your family life in this way is unique in that no one else will have the same pictures. Everyone can have accessories from Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn, but your family photos personalize your space. Second, displaying family photos gives your space comfy, cozy warmth regardless of your décor style, as these personal glimpses of family life are art from the heart. Finally, displaying family photographs is what I call “decorating with intention”. In other words, the family pictures are displayed with the specific intention of artfully enhancing your homespace décor.
Like any other form of decorating you do in your homespace, decorating with family photography needs to be well planned and well thought out. Look through your homespace. Pay attention to where you are displaying family photographs and ask yourself these important questions:
- Do some of the frames look outdated or badly worn? Unless you are intentionally using antique or “repurposed” frames for your pieces, be aware that outdated and damaged frames will absolutely, positively take away from your artful arrangement of family photos.
- Do the frames fit the photographs they hold properly? Though this question might sound silly, you would be amazed at how often I go into homes and immediately notice that family pictures have been put in frames willy-nilly without really taking the time to carefully select the appropriate frame. Remember that decorating (even with family photos) is in the details.
- Are you displaying family photos in too many places and spaces? If you truly want your family photos to become a part of your décor, choose very specific places and spaces to display them. Two areas I specifically like are: a focal place such as a hallway wall and a focal space such as a piano, sofa table or bookcase. Remember however my decorating mantra, “less is more” and steer clear of becoming over zealous with places and spaces you display your family photos.
A Wall of Family Life
My personal favorite way to display family photos is to create what I call a “wall of family life”. Over the years I have enjoyed creating many of these in the homes of friends and clients. Here are some points to ponder if you embark on your own creation:
- Consider a theme for your display. My favorite theme is to use all black and white photos with black frames. By keeping to a theme you achieve more than just a way to display family photos. You also create unique art to accent the beauty of your homespace.
- Consider arranging the pieces to create a family timeline or story. By doing this, your display becomes a conversation piece to return to over and over again. Best of all you can mix and match frames and photo content since the idea is to simply tell the story of your family. My mother did this in our home growing up and believe me, the frames and the photos were a total hodge-podge. But it worked! And with six kids and dozens of grandkids my mother created a look that told a story on the wall of each family as the Balzer Clan grew and grew. Talk about creating a space for walks down Memory Lane! Talk about creating a space for interesting conversations!
- Consider the overall look of your arrangement and what you want to express. Carefully consider what you are trying to achieve with the display. Be as conscious of the pictures and the frames you choose as you would be when choosing what knick-knacks get placed where in your homespace. Also, remember your audience that will be seeing your photos and thoughtfully choose which ones you share. (For example, more intimate family photos such as “pregnant belly shots” make beautiful art in more private areas of your home.)
- Consider hiring a pro. If you are planning to display a large collection of family photos I highly recommend that you have your display hung professionally. The average John or Jane doesn’t have the knowledge to properly hang a large grouping of frames of varying sizes.
- Consider making a trial run of your display. I highly recommend this. Arrange your framed photos on an open space such as the floor so you can visualize what the grouping will look like on the wall.
- Consider leaving what I call “room to grow” in your collage of photos. This is particularly important if you have a growing family.
Have fun with this wonderful way to make a positive impact statement in your home. You, your family and all those that get treated to your display will enjoy celebrating your family life, true art from the heart for years to come!
To celebrating family…