Tips For Decorating With Photos

by - Friday, January 17, 2014

Photography is my favorite art form, so it's no surprise that my home is filled with photos. When guests come to visit, they are often astonished to see the many intricate and unique ways that I have incorporated photography into my home. I have photos everywhere, from the classic portrait that hangs in the living room to the tiny photo in a locket that I display in a shadow box in the guest bathroom. 

If you want to decorate with photos, here are some tips to get the most out of your photography and create the right kind of ambiance in your home.

1. Don't be too matchy-matchy

You've probably seen the homes that display a row of nearly-identical photos on top of a mantlepiece or on the wall as you ascend a staircase. Whether these photos are all family portraits or all pictures from a recent trip to Alaska, they're too much, too close together. Too much matching loses the viewer's interest and makes your design appear unoriginal.

2. Group by clusters and contrasts

How should you group photos? To quote Savvy Home Blog [photo source], think of your walls like a Pinterest board. Or, if you prefer, think of them like the walls of your favorite art gallery. Chances are you'll see one or two focal images surrounded by clusters of contrasting images. This is the best way to group your pictures, since the contrast will draw the eye to each individual photo in turn.

Notice how the gallery owners [and the Savvy Home Bloggers] use space. Photos are generally hung on a grid, although the inner sections of the grid squeeze smaller photos into the negative space left by the bigger pieces. The ideal look is varied and contrasted, but not haphazard.

3. Combine amateur and professional shots

There is often a certain charm to the amateur candid shot, especially now that smartphones have given us a high-quality camera right in our pockets. However, it's important to balance these candids with a number of professional photos. If you and your partner or your family haven't sat for a portrait together, start shopping around for a portrait coupon. Then use the portrait as your central anchoring piece on one wall, and surround it with smaller groupings of candid shots.

4. Always use frames

The frame is as much a part of the photography as the photo it encloses. Always hang your photos in frames; adding frames makes an average photo look great and a beautiful photo look stunning.

Keep the clusters and contrasts theme in mind as you choose your frames. Your central focal point should get the largest and most ornate frame; as you work outward, choose frames of different materials, widths, and colors to continue the theme of variety and contrast. 

5. Incorporate photography into unusual places

Remember my locket, which I display in the guest bathroom? I was lucky to find it at an antique store, with the WWII-era photo still attached. Likewise, I found three antique. On eBay, I found daguerreotypes, which now live on my bookshelves in their original 1850s frames. Since I like photography, I find fun ways to incorporate it into my decor. I even made a lampshade out of old film negatives and mounted it on my desk lamp.

Even if you aren't quite the photo buff that I am, there are still ways to add photography to unexpected places. Try buying a new locket, putting a picture of a loved one inside, then hanging the locket, picture open, on your vanity mirror. Buy a collection of decorative spoons with photos on the handles. There are numerous ways to add photos into your home decor -- it doesn't just have to be framed photos on the wall.

Try out different looks and groupings until you get the presentation that you want. Don't forget to update your photos every year, as you take new pictures!

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