You’ve seen them in all the furniture catalogues. The ubiquitous picture wall. A perfectly hung wall of a beautiful “family” in professionally shot photos at the beach or wherever with lovely white frames against a robin’s egg blue wall. You know this wall? And why do all of the catalogues feature this wall? Because it’s awesome. Because it can exactly reflect who you are and what you love. And, bottom line, pictures look great big and framed.
Many years ago, before I even had kids, my husband and I spent eight months traveling around the world. We thought we had taken a ton of pictures because this was back in the days of film and we had about twenty rolls (these days I would go through twenty rolls in about a week). We developed everything when we finally arrived home and quickly put them in an album (pre-photobook days). About six months later we were reminiscing about this wild and crazy trip and decided, let’s blow up some of these photos and put them up so we can have an everyday reminder of that wonderful period. We chose our ten favorites and enlarged them to 5x7s. I bought a variety of frames, all in black to keep an element of uniformity, found a wall with nothing on it (that was the easy part) and hung them up (less easy). It’s probably smart to measure and hang each photo so it’s lined up with something else but boy does that take a lot of effort and time. So I just hung them up willy-nilly. Even without precision, it gave us just the effect we wanted.
I made sure some of the frames were square because I think it helps to give the grouping an artistic feel. The same is true for black and white photos, sepia tones, and detail shots. And I never even bothered cropping the pictures. Each one is just taped in place and I let the matte do the cropping for me. I think the key to a lovely photo wall is to have one or two elements that unify the grouping. In this case, it’s the black frames and the fact that they are all obviously travel shots.
Many years later I did another smaller wall with pictures of our kids. This is in our hallway, which is pretty short so I used just three enlargements side by side. I ordered 8x10s of three favorite pictures and put them in 12×12 frames (with two inch mattes). Again, I let the matte do the cropping and taped the pictures in place. The best part is that I can easily rotate the pictures. Every six months or so I pick new pictures to feature so the wall never feels outdated.
Now it’s your turn. Have you decorated your home with memories? Have any tips for doing it right?