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How to arrange a family photo wall

Suzi Milovanovic has been a mother of all kinds: stay at home mom, work from home mom, and go-the-office working mom. She blends all these perspectives in her contributions to various local and national print and online publications, tel...

Picture perfect

Pictures give rooms a personalized sense of style and flair. If you're like most people, you probably have a horde of family photos waiting to escape from the confines of your computer or albums. With so many from which to choose, arranging pictures can sometimes be a daunting task. Here are some tips on how to organize those pictures and create your very own family photo wall.

hanging photoStep 1: The spot

Instead of framing photos and displaying them willy-nilly around the house, choose where you want to display your photos carefully. Hang photos in common areas where people can enjoy them, such as the dining room or along staircases. Collections of photos also look great on mantles, low tables and other furniture. If you plan on hanging pictures over a sofa, don't leave too much space between the top of the couch and the frame; three to six inches works well.

Step 2: Create the arrangement

Your goal is to create a balanced arrangement, no matter how many frames you intend to display. Create visual interest by placing frames high, low and off center. Include a variety of sizes, and start by grouping several smaller (4-by-6-inch or 5-by-7-inch) images around a larger 8-by-10. Vary the heights and shapes of the frames within an arrangement. Also consider mixing in other types of art in your grouping, such as the priceless fine artwork by your children.

Step 3: Use the floor first

To test your grouping before you hammer a single nail, lay out the frames on the floor. If you're still not sure of the sizes, cut paper from the templates in some of the frames you have and play with different arrangements by taping them to the wall.

Step 4: Frame selection

Remember that your photos should stand out more than their frames. Choose simple combinations such as metal, black or plain wood frames with neutral mats. If you long for a splash of color, match colored frames to a non-dominant hue in the photos you're framing. You can go with more color in your frames if you are working in a neutral room. Try not to overwhelm your photos by pairing light-colored frames with dark mats, or small photos with huge frames.

Step 5: Stairway photo wall

If the stairway is where your family wall photos are to be hung, different tips apply. Choose matching frames and hang them in a diagonal line. Hang your bottom photo at about eye level near a lower step. Hang your next frame so the bottom edge is about one-third of the way up the side of the first frame, and continue this pattern with subsequent frames. Space all frames equally.  

Step 6: Tips from the experts

The design experts at Pottery Barn recommend drawing the eye to a home gallery and unifying a diverse group of objects by using a strong wall color such as deep red, and accenting with decorative objects in a limited palette. Once you've created your desired layout, assemble a mix of photos, artwork and other collectibles in two or three warm tones that complement the backdrop.

Get those cherished family photos out of albums, off computers and onto the walls where you can appreciate them every day.

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