Personal photographs….we all have them – usually lots of them – and it’s so hard to leave all those favorite pictures put away in boxes. We want to see and enjoy photos of our friends, family and vacations. The trick is how to display those photographs in an attractive way so they don’t take over every tabletop and every inch of wallspace. Another challenge with photographs is that they are usually small. That means you need/want to get up close and personal to enjoy them.
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Cindy wrote a couple of great posts about the technical aspects of how high and where to hang art and before that I explained why it’s one of the 8 biggest decorating mistakes. Today I’m going to explore the creative aspect of it – how you can create attractive groupings of your favorite pictures. I’ve been collecting photos for some time to share with you about how you can group smaller pictures for greater impact.
Inspirational Wall Galleries
This is a very expected and common way to display multiple photographs. Free flowing in overall shape, you wouldn’t have to take things down and totally rework the arrangement every time you want to add something new. The use of black frames and white mats to tie all the various sizes together. The other technique I particularly like is the they used really wide mats to give each individual picture more importance. (and notice the great gray wall – it’s an excellent neutral backdrop)
Another version of the same idea – using a hallway to share your family photos. The person has used all the same frames and no mats this time. An interesting effect has been created by having the frames line up – giving the impression of a chair rail or stripe.
Lots of us have stairway hallways and aren’t sure how to treat that angled and often really tall wall space. This treatment caught my eye because it’s different, it’s easy and I love that all the frames fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. A mix of black and silver frames helps it from appearing too heavy and densely packed.
This display is not as effective. Even though it is symmetrical, the display is too big for the furniture under it. Remember to keep your displays proportional to what’s around them - surrounding wall space and furnishings make a huge difference in whether or not your photographs look their best.
These large photographs give dramatic presence to this dividing wall. The very low table provides an unsual anchor and allows the photos to be hung much lower than normal. If the photos had been hung at the usual 48-54″ height they would have lost all relationship with the table. Notice the consistent space of just a few inches between each of the photos.
Emphasizing the tall narrow brick wall, this display in two rows is very effective – it’s symmetrical without being forced (2 of each frame size in each row) and the blending of color and black and white photos is handled well by the separation provided by the oversize mats.
I like this creative arrangement. Given what appears to be a tall, large wall space broken up by windows and a striking wall sconce, the designer played with the grid idea of art layout. The art ‘bends’ around the furnishings and maximizes the space making a potentially drab corner very interesting.
Balanced but not perfectly symmetrical, this grouping is very charming. I like that the small frames across the top are all black and running down the side are all white. The subjects are a blend of nature and family which make the grouping more interesting. And the yummy textures around the display make the whole grouping call out “come closer and look”.
Personally this wall gallery doesn’t appeal to me. The frames are too much of a hodge podge and don’t relate to the television, the green lamps or the red stand. I find them in severe competition with the TV and while I don’t always think the TV needs to be alone on a wall…..this is a bit much. (I do kind of like the oversize lamps – what do you think?)
This is another example of a symmetrical grid-type presentation wall gallery. Suitable for a very traditional home, the art is again hung to enhance exisiting furnishings (the chairs and wall shelves).
Who says art displays have to be filled with ”art”? Whimsical, playful, entertaining, unexpected – this collection of letters makes a random and interesing display.
For that matter, who says there has to be art in the display anywhere at all? This display of empty frames makes a graphic statement all on its own.
Wall Gallery Wrap Up
Hopefully you’ve picked up and idea or two to use in your home when you pull out those family photos for display. Most of these are using black and white photos. I actually have very few photos in black and white – I like my family pictures in color. By matting each photo and using frames with widths appropriate to the size of the photo, the display can be just as striking and cohesive as any of the above galleries.
Have you discovered a great way to display your family photos? If you have a wall gallery of some type in your home, we’d love to see how you created it. Or if you need some help in developing your own wall gallery, drop us a line and let us help. Leave us a comment or write to solutions@YourDecoratingHotline.com .