Decorating with Family Photos

As I ascend the stairway to the 2nd floor of my home, I am greeted by the smiling faces of my extended family. Everyone is captured in a perfect moment of time — forever beautiful, smiling, happy and alive.  

It seems the most natural thing to have a wall in your home dedicated to pictures of your loved ones. Being greeted by your family is both comforting and familiar in a way that few other things can compare. Today, I cannot imagine it any other way. The reality though, is that it almost did not exist.  

My husband and I have starkly different views about decorating with family photos. In my work with clients, I have come to realize that this is a common occurrence with couples. There are the picture people, who like my husband are sentimental and can never have too many pictures of family. Every table-top, surface, wall and even the refrigerator can be covered front and side. Then, there are the pragmatist, like me where pictures are meticulously organized in photo albums to be taken out and enjoyed on special occasions. Perhaps a wedding photo is displayed and the most recent school or graduation picture of the kids, but sparingly, minimally. The refrigerator front is clean and polished, the tables saved for lamps, a decorative bowl, vase or two. Aesthetics rules. We want balance, space, proper proportion, order. Ahh, yes — perfect.

(Pragmatists love organizing photos in albums. Below are two great family photo album ideas courtesy of Irene Adbou Photography. Below Left: Artful Album – Storytelling Family Photography; Below Right: Bon à Vie Album – Storytelling Family Portraits)

Crofton MD Interior Designers

Like many things in life, cooperation and compromise are key. In my home, the compromise was to dedicate a visible wall for family photos, neatly organized and coordinated (in my case I turned them all black and white). If you face a similar dilemma in your home, these family photo decorating tips can help please both the sentimentalist and the pragmatist in your home.

Decorating with Family Photos

Dining Room Interior Designer Crofton MD

Family Picture Wall in Dining Room

• First, consider displaying family photos in one or two spaces in your home where you will get the most enjoyment out of the photos. I chose the top of the stairwell for a picture wall because I know that I will see it every day and it will spark joy. Your family room is an obvious choice, but also consider dedicating a wall in a room that you don’t frequent as often – displaying the pictures in a formal living room or dining room for example, may encourage you to spend more time in the space.

• Next, consider the design style of the space(s) and select photos that complement the feel of the room. For example, beach vacation photos where everyone is in swimwear, shorts and tees and holding boogie boards are so much fun and would be great for a casual family room or beach house, but they may look totally out of place in a living room with formal furnishings. A formal living room may be the ideal place to display a large professional portrait of the family where everyone is wearing more coordinated attire.

Marlboro MD Family Photo Interior Decorator

Family Photo with Vertical Orientation. Credit: Irene Abdou Photography

• Ideally, you want to ensure that the colors in the photos are complementary to the room versus distracting.  You don’t have to color coordinate exactly, but you definitely want to consider the colors in the room when selecting both the photos and the frames. If you have white or gray walls, black photo frames are a great choice and can provide an art gallery effect. If you have large spaces to fill, you may want to consider frameless canvas photos, which weigh much less than a large glass covered, framed portrait, and the added bonus is that you won’t need to worry about coordinating the color and style of the frames.  

• Finally, what is the ideal orientation of your portrait(s)? Vertical or horizontal? Do you want a single large photo or a wall of smaller photos in varying sizes attractively organized to fill the space.

Working with your photographer and your interior decorator can help you make the best style decisions for your family photos and ensure that you will have a look that will satisfy both the pragmatists and the sentimentalists, while adding beauty and style to your interior spaces.  

Remember, DL Rich Designs – Decorating Den Interiors is here for you. Contact me today to get started.

If you are in the market for family photography, I highly recommended the professionals at Irene Abdou Photography. 

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