Family photos are among the most cherished items people own. They remind us of special people, events, and time spent together making memories. When it comes to hanging family photos, there are many interesting options to consider. Here are some of our favorites:
A main gallery wall – The goal of a main gallery wall is to create a visual focal point for all your family photos to be hung and displayed together. The photos are mounted close together to create high impact. When doing a gallery wall, plan a layout for your photos before nailing them to the wall. For cohesiveness, photos may be placed in matching frames or be of similar size or theme such as black and white. For an eclectic look, photos may be displayed in frames of varying colors and size. The golden rule for hanging a picture is to have the center of the photo at about 57 inches – the standard eye-height of the average person. You’ll want to work your gallery wall around this number as best you can to be able to see the photos.
Shelving display – Rather than hang family photos in a traditional manner on a wall, they can instead be displayed on shelves or picture ledges. Photos are placed in frames and can rest against the wall (secure with double sided tape if no groove) or be displayed using the stand on the back of the photo or using a separate one that rests on the shelf. What’s unique about shelving displays of photos is that the pictures can be overlapped for interest. Also, other accessories can be added in between to create an aesthetically pleasing visual effect. To create this look, start with the larger photos first and then scatter other smaller photos or accessories such as small plants or vases around the photos.
Up the stairs – Some people prefer to place family photos going up the staircase. This can enliven a rather dull or overlooked space. Often the frames are staggered so that they are at the appropriate viewing level and cannot be bumped off the wall by people going up and down. To keep it simple, hang photos that are the same size with coordinating frames and mat colors. Photo mats serve several functions, including separating the art from the glass to protect what’s inside. They can also unify groupings of photos by color, material, and style.
Over a mantle or focal point such as furniture – The space above the fireplace mantle provides an optimal spot for a large family photo or a grouping of photos. One large family photo can add drama to the space, whereas smaller photos risk being overshadowed by the focal point. Thus, the classic look of displaying one large photo is often preferred by homeowners. Experts suggest that pictures and mirrors should be about two thirds the size of the fire surround and mantle over which it hangs. Not only should a picture or photo be large enough to make a statement, but it generally looks best when centered above the focal point. This helps the art to stand out against the feature it is placed above, and it is visually pleasing. Interior designers not only emphasize proportion, but they are also concerned with height. They often suggest the 66% rule as a guideline. 66% is the amount of wall space above the photo and 33% is between the bottom of the photo and above the mantle.
The examples above demonstrate some clever ways in which family photos can best be showcased. Not only are the pictures, frames, and mats important, but you’ll want to consider other factors such as lighting and visual impact. The whole goal is to enjoy the photos, so you’ll want to feature these family heirlooms where they can best be viewed and appreciated.