If you’ve been brainstorming ways to decorate a bare wall in your home, consider hanging a collage of your favorite photos or art prints. Regardless of your home’s style, size or color palette, a photo collage can create a display that’s as meaningful as it is striking.
Here are some basic principles and savvy tricks to keep in mind for assembling and showcasing a collection of framed art or photos.
Consider how much of an impact you want the collage to make
April Force Pardoe, an interior designer and owner of AFP Interiors, says that if you intend the collage to be the focal point of the room, it should be placed on the most prominent wall or the wall that someone first sees when walking into the room.
Ensure there’s unity among the art or photos being displayed
According to Merri Cvetan, an interior designer for MEC Design Studio, “There should always be a common thread or theme throughout the collection.” For example, she suggests displaying all black and white photos of forest or ocean scenes, or color shots of mountains from different angles.
Stick to frames of the same color and material, but opt for different sizes
Selecting an assortment of frames can be almost as challenging as narrowing down which photos or art to showcase. The key is to pick frames that best suit the images on display.
If you’re still stumped, consider Cvetan’s words of warning. “I would avoid mixing and matching. You get much more impact when there is a similarity,” she explains. “I recommend keeping the frames in the same color or material. They don’t have to match, but that’s one way to get cohesion. For example, use all silver or gold, or all mahogany stain or barn board. Same with the matte — they should all be the same or very similar.”
As for which frame sizes look best, Heather Cote of Stylish Solutions Interior Decorating says, “Any size can work. Generally, a mix of frame sizes looks best. I like using a mix of mostly 5 x 7 and 8 x 10 frames — big enough that you can see the photos in them, but not so big that any smaller frames around them look dwarfed.”
Lay out the collage on the floor first
Before you even think about hammering a nail in the wall, take Pardoe’s advice. She recommends laying all of your frames out on the floor and playing around with the arrangement. “You can also cut out craft paper or newspaper in the size of your frames. Use painter’s tape to attach those to the wall and create the collage that way before putting a nail in the wall. The papers are great for marking nail holes and noting your measurements before hanging. Then hang your art and remove the paper,” she explains.
Avoid hanging the collage too high
According to Cvetan, “The biggest mistake people make when hanging any artwork is hanging it too high. Anything hanging on the wall should have a relationship with the furniture underneath it. If the display is above a sofa or a pair of chairs, then a big collage can start 12 inches or so above the back of the furniture. If the display is hanging gallery style — no furniture — then the middle photos should be at eye level. Add the top and bottom layers accordingly.”
Keeping these guidelines in mind will help you create a fabulous photo collage, but don’t be afraid to experiment. Photo collages are a popular way to decorate walls, and you’ll want to ensure that yours is truly one of a kind.