Decorating with Family Photography Tips from a Professional Interior Designer
Jun 10, 2020 | By: Bethesda Family Photographer - Irene Abdou Photography, LLC
Above Photo: Storytelling gallery wall - organize images from multiple photography sessions spanning multiple years and display them in same or different sizes, framed and/or unframed, to make a gallery wall.
I love how Donna speaks from the heart in her writing and shares her own personal experience with how she and her husband, each with different decorating tastes, came to agree on decorating their own home with family portraits, and how she can no longer imagine it being any other way. We hope you glean some wisdom from this post and that it helps you decorate your own house with love and transform your house into a home!
By Donna Rich, DL Rich Designs
Decorating Den Franchise Owner & Interior Designer
I ascend the stairs to the 2nd floor of my home and am greeted by the beaming faces of my extended family. Each and every person is captured in a perfect moment of time -- forever smiling, beautiful, happy, alive.
Does it not seem to be the most natural thing to have one or more walls in your home dedicated to portraits of your loved ones? Few other things can compare to being greeted by your family in such a comforting and familiar way. Today, I cannot imagine it otherwise, even though the reality is that it almost did not exist.
My husband and I have starkly differing views about decorating with family photography. In my work with my interior design clients, I have discovered that this is a common occurrence among couples.
Sentimentalist or Pragmatist?
There are the “picture people,” who, like my husband, are sentimental andfamily pictures can never be too many. Every tabletop, wall, surface, and even the refrigerator can be covered front and side.
Then, there are the pragmatists, like me, where family pictures are meticulously organized in photography 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 minimally, sparingly. The refrigerator front is clean and polished, the tables saved for lamps and a decorative vase, bowl or two. For the pragmatist, aesthetics rules. We want balance, space, proper proportion, order. Ahh, yes -- perfect.
The pragmatist enjoys meticulously designed photography albums that can be taken out on special occasions.
Compromise & Cooperation
Yet, as with many things in life, compromise and cooperation are key. In my home, the compromise with my husband was to dedicate a visible wall to family photography, which would be neatly coordinated and organized (in my case I turned them all black and white). If you face a similar dilemma in your home, the following family portrait decorating tipscan help please both the sentimentalist and the pragmatist in your home.
First, consider displaying family photos in one or two spaces in your home where you will have the opportunity to most enjoy the photos. I chose the top of the staircase for a picture wall because I would see it every day and each sighting would spark joy. Your family room is an obvious choice too, but also consider dedicating a wall in a room that you don’t frequent quite as often, because displaying family pictures in a formal dining room or living room, for example, could encourage you to spend more time in the space.
Above Left: Hang family portraits by your door and find yourself smiling every time you enter and exit your home.
Above Right: Placing family portraits in a formal living room may encourage you to spend more time there and allow you to showcase and share some of your happiest memories when friends come by.
Then, consider the design style of the spaces and select family portraits that complement the feel of the room. For example, beach vacation photos where everyone sports swimwear, tees, and shorts and holding boogie boards are tons of fun and would be great for a casual beach house or family room, but they may look completely out of place in a formally-furnished living room. Instead, you may wish to display in your formal living room a large, professional family portraitin which everyone is wearing more coordinated attire.
Ideally, you also want to ensure that the colors in your family portraits are complementary to the room and not distracting. You don’t need to precisely color coordinate, but definitely consider the room colors when selecting both the family photos and frames. With white walls, black photo frames are an excellent choice and lead to an art gallery effect. If you have large spaces to fill, you could consider frameless canvas wraps, which weigh a lot less than a large glass-enclosed, framed portrait. The added bonus with frameless artwork is that you won’t need to worry about coordinating the color and style of the frames.
Is horizontal or vertical (or even square) the ideal orientation for your family portraits? Which fits your space the best?
Finally, would you prefer a single large family portrait or is a wall of smaller family photos in varying sizes attractively organized to fill the space more to your taste?
Working with your professional family photographer and/or your interior decorator can help you make the best style decisions for your family portraits and ensure that you will have a look that will satisfy both pragmatists and sentimentalists, while adding style and beauty to your interior spaces.