The right way to decorate with photographs.
I love decorating my home with photographs. Nothing makes me happier than being surrounded by the people, places and things that I love. And thanks to the modern marvel that is the camera, I never really have to part with them.
That being said, family pictures -if used in the wrong way – does have the potential to turn an otherwise elegant and coherently flowing space into a somewhat cluttered mess. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Just have a look at this shining example of 90’s “chic” and tell me if we’re on the same page now.
I’m certain you’ve come across a wall decorated in this fashion at some point in your life. Growing up in an Afrikaans suburb during the 90’s, I assure you, I’ve seen more than my fair share of bad photographic decoration – heck, I’m sure I’ve fallen victim to this type of mass delirium myself at one point or another. And you would not be blamed if you find yourself in this very uncomfortable predicament. Just know that there are better ways to display your heart’s greatest treasures… ways that don’t involve massive amounts of cardboard and the spatial awareness of a teaspoon.
In fact, we’ve taken the liberty of collecting a whole array of truly chic and modern ways to decorate your home with photographs. Have a look and tell us what you think.
Go big and make it feel like home
Accent walls have become a massive trend in recent years. Many interior decorators advocate the use of large, eye catching art as a means of anchoring a space. So, instead of filling that central wall with collages upon collages of tiny, non-uniform pictures, why not opt for a few large prints instead? Getting professional photographs done does go a long way for this one though. You don’t want a jumbled mess of mismatched images at a larger scale – you want a coherent look that draws the eye inward whilst still feeling warm and inviting. More importantly, you want more than just a family portrait; you want a stunning piece of art that is as timeless as the love between your family.
The gallery wall approach
I love what this family has done in their son’s bedroom. By having their boy take some of his most prised possessions along to the photo shoot, they achieved something very special. Not only is this wall a testament to their son’s personality and interests, it is his room after all, but it is stylish and will remain so long after the boy has grown up.
Another way of going about it, is to design a kind of gallery wall with your images. This family used some beautifully shot family holiday pictures, balancing out the energy of their family portraits with the tranquillity of scenic landscapes.
What’s important to note here (again), is that there needs to be some kind of unifying force present for these gallery walls to work. This family made use of black and white to achieve this unity, but you could also get there by having all members of the family wear the same colour during the photo session or by having a unifying theme such as “our favourite holiday images at the ocean over the past 5 years”.
This decorator made the unifying theme thing work for them by having a “places I’ve been; things I’ve seen” wall.
I love the addition of the world map as the centre piece of the gallery; I think it does a fine job of relaying the theme to the uninformed observer. It’s always a good idea to break up the gallery wall with alternative forms of art pieces, whether it be graphic prints, paintings or even craft items.
Out of the box, out of the gutter.
Maybe giant photographs aren’t for you. Maybe you’re looking for a more budget friendly way to decorate with pictures, or maybe you just don’t like the idea of having your face large and in charge, looming over your living room. That’s fine too, but it might require some out of the box thinking. Collages and collage-like decorating isn’t inherently bad, but there are better ways to go about it than pasting 40 different pictures of your great gran onto the back of your Cornflakes box and calling it a day. Hera are a few ideas to help you get your mind out of the gutter 😉
The collage revamped
One super cute way of putting a modern spin on the traditional photo collage approach, is this beautiful heart shaped installation, perfect for the room of a teen aged girl. It might require some creativity on your part to get the images to work as a whole; again, balance out portraits with landscapes or even digital prints to achieve a look that isn’t overwhelming. And remember to keep the surrounding decor simple.
Another beautiful and whimsical way to reconstruct the traditional photo collage is this:
Need I say more?
This would look gorgeous above a bed or a desk, or if you want to get really wild with it, why not attach fairy lights to your ceiling with photographs hanging down like chandelier pendants? Can you imagine decorating a dorm room like this?
This could work as a permanent installation in any room that lacks a little whimsy, however it’s so budget friendly that you could easily construct this setup for special occasions. I think this could put a fantastic spin on Christmas decorating. It is a time for family, after all.
If you wanted to take the picture-chandelier idea even further, check this out:
This is perfect to use as party decoration to show off your little one’s firs year on Earth. I also think that adding photographs like this to your baby’s mobile could be really sweet.
Landscapes, monotone and other tranquilities
Decorating with photography doesn’t exclusively entail portraits, you know… In fact, if you’re not too comfortable with the walls having ears (and faces for that matter), you could, and probably sometimes should, make use of photography as art in and of itself.
Photography for art’s sake.
Just look at this beautiful minimalist room that uses the photograph on its accent wall as a colour swatch for the entire space.
I adore this look. I’m always having trouble in finding a feminine/masculine balance in my home (which I share with ma’ boyfriend).
I think that having a photographic reference point that guides the rest of your decorative choices may very well be a fantastic solution to this challenge.
Why not choose an image along with your man and work from there? This approach also introduces some intimacy and sentimentality into the room because you can play around with photographs of places and experiences that you both cherish.
Looking to bring an interesting decorative element to your bathroom without having to resort to the ol’ seashells-in-a-jar cliché? Why not try seaside photographs to spice things up? Don’t you think that these monotone landscapes are just to die for against that pure white wall and with those golden frames? Your bathroom should be a space of relaxation and introspection and these photographs really emphasise that feeling.
I absolutely adore this next one. You might not. Or you might. Who knows? I love it because it’s unique, unexpected and unconventional but it works none the less. The reason why it works boils down to 3 things:
- A unifying theme and feel to the images (the great Canadian outdoors).
- The use of only wooden and plain white frames.
- A blank canvas that does not distract from its subject.
You could make this look work for your home by simply snapping some well-composed images at your next family gathering on your smartphone. Put all images through the same filter, print them out and frame them and voila! It’s as easy as that.
When you don’t have enough space on the wall.
I get it. You love your memories and if you follow these decorative rules, your house may look chic but you’ll never have enough space to showcase all of your favourite pictures. Well, we have a solution for that.
As a kid, my family (for some unknown reason) didn’t really do photo albums. Instead, my mother had an old shoe box that she used to stash all of our positives. Whenever my sister or I would bring home a new boyfriend, you could be sure that the shoe box would make an appearance. I loved sifting through each and every photograph. There’s just something about actually holding a photo in your hands that has gone missing in the digital age. That’s why I am a big advocate of this next idea. It’s the shoe box… revamped!
Modern day photo albums.
This person personalised a box for every location that they had visited, printed out their favourite pictures from each trip and, in the process, made lovely additions to their bookshelf. Don’t they remind you of little treasure chests? Oh, and in case you were wondering, you can buy plain pine boxes like these at your local PNA.
If, on the other hand, your family was vaguely normal and you prefer a good old-fashioned photo album, minus the old-fashion, why not have one of these nifty photo books made?
Super special bonus!
When you want something COMPLETELY different.
If you’ve seen it all before and you’re looking for something truly unique for your space, why not have a look at Crescent Moon’s creative portrait collection. If you like what you see, you can book your own session, specify the look, feel and theme you’re going for, and let us create something truly amazing for you. Here are a few examples of our digital photographic artworks.
Guess who? It’s me! But it’s also Gaea or Mother Earth. I don’t normally like photos of myself but, I have to admit, I can’t stop staring at this image! The magic lies in the fact that it’s me, but it’s not me. Gaea feels like some alternate dimensional manifestation of myself, and it just sets my imagination alight.
Here’s another one of our digital art pieces. This one, titled “Adventure”, graces the room of its subject. I can’t speak for little Aurora, but I could only imagine that seeing yourself portrayed in such a way must be awesome for a kid!
I imagine her showing it off to all her friends whilst telling the tale of the time she rode on a turtle’s back all the way across the Atlantic.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this read. Let us know if you’ve tried any of these decorative techniques in the comment box below and remember; pics or it didn’t happen!
Until next time.