Pictures are worth thousands of words. Decorating home with personal memories is one of our favorite ways to express our personalities and tell our family story. We love to decorate with personal photos to make our home inviting and inspiring, comfortable and stylish. Photos not only bring life to the place and convey moods and emotions, but also create talking points with guests.
There are many fun ways to decorate with photos, from photo mugs to wall murals. I just want to share our favorite ones. Number 5 is our most favorite!
1. Vignettes. When decorating a console table, dresser, shelf, or any other flat surface, avoid displaying too many photo frames, otherwise you will create a cluttered look. If not sure, always follow the rule “less is more”. To create a designer-worthy look, try to incorporate the pictures into vignettes (in interior design, a strategy to group decorative items in an eye pleasing way; usually items are place in odd numbers – one, three, five, etc.). In vignettes, you can use other favorite objects of different textures, colors, and sizes. I also recommend watching a free video tutorial by Jackie Hernandez on how to arrange your decor to instantly transform your home. There are 12 short videos with tips and tricks that you will use every time you decorate your house. Using those tricks, you will decorate like a pro, even if you thought you were not a decorator. You will learn how to decorate with the items you already own. I promise, you won’t need to buy new décor.
2. Hand-drawn portrait. If you have a talented friend who has drawn a portrait of you or your loved ones, or you got one from a street artist, it is worth being exhibited! This one was our wedding gift from our very talented friend. We displayed it using an oversized frame and a large picture frame mat to achieve a museum-like look.
3. Enlarged photo art. If you have some great photos taken by you, friends, or a professional photographer, consider turning them into oversized wall art that will create an atmosphere and make a big statement in your room. Our professionally taken pictures were absolutely worth being enlarged and displayed. This is why we took them! This particular one was taken during our “trash the dress” photo shoot by a very talented fashion magazine photographer. I love how its vibe compliments the look of our staircase with the cathedral ceiling and chandelier, and creates a mysterious atmosphere.
4. Photo books. In the guest room, besides displaying the regular picture frames, we printed photo books on Shutterfly and placed them on the floating shelf (the hard cover serves as a picture) in the guest room, so guests can entertain themselves before going to bed.
5. Eco-friendly gallery wall. This became everyone’s favorite place. When we created this wall, little did we know that it would become a favorite place of our guests. This wall is like a large magnet that attracts everyone. Now we can leave our guests to entertain themselves. We can go and prepare some coffee and treats without worrying that they will get bored. The trick is that besides family photos, we also displayed photos of friends from gatherings, parties, events, etc. They are not necessarily professionally taken. Some of them are taken with smartphones. Our guests (mostly friends, of course) enjoy looking at those pictures, trying to find themselves or other people that they know. It is easy to update, so it never becomes boring. I love to mix some old photos from our childhood with the latest ones. Our guests jokingly call this gallery wall “The Wall of Fame”.
For this wall, we mix-and-matched thrift store picture frames of various colors, textures, sizes, and shapes, displaying them in a floor to ceiling manner, so it adds a feeling of extraordinary to an ordinary space.
When we assembled this gallery wall, we did very little planning. We would rather hang the frames where they best fit, going with the flow. Part of the reason was because we didn’t have all the frames at once and had to add them gradually. We made several trips to the Goodwill store over several months before we finished this gallery wall.
However, there are better ways to arrange a gallery wall, especially if you have a smaller arrangement or use larger pieces.
1. Draw a sketch. When I decorated the gallery wall around the TV, I drew a sketch of the final look and then shopped around for the desired sized picture frames. After I had all of them in hand, I just asked my husband to hang everything in accordance with the plan.
2. Lay out on the floor. Again, this is more suitable if you have fewer and larger picture frames. Just measure the amount of wall space where your wall art will go and then tape it out on the floor. Arrange your frames on the floor, and take a picture of the layout. Hang them according to the picture. You can find more great tips on this method from Lauren Conrad.
3. Make wall art traces out of craft paper. Chriselle provides another great tip to hang a gallery wall. Just trim the cutouts of your frames using craft paper and tape them to the wall. Rearrange until you are satisfied with the result.
I also found some inspiration in these projects.
Picture rails in matching frames:
Black and White series in square identical frames:
Family photos displayed in mix-and-matched frames on two walls: