Family photos, children’s artwork and other mementos could be an interior design challenge. We wish to display them proudly, but kindergarten art projects and snapshots of relatives don’t at all times harmonize with the remainder of the décor.
What to do? It all comes right down to the presentation.
“Everything in a house must have meaning,” said Lauren Robbins, an interior designer in Augusta, Ga. “So taking pieces with history — whether it’s an heirloom piece of furniture or something so simple as children’s art — and incorporating them with a contemporary twist is absolutely necessary.”
Displayed well, Ms. Robbins continued, that painting made in preschool can look as impressive as anything in your own home — and it may bring more joy.
She and other interior designers shared some advice.
Putting family photos or children’s artwork in frames immediately elevates their appearance. If you propose to hold multiple pieces together, try mounting them in matching frames for visual unity, even when the photos or paintings don’t look that similar, said Caitlin Kah, an interior designer in Palm Beach, Fla.
The streamlined framing aesthetic is particularly useful “once you’re coping with a mixture of black-and-white photos and color photos,” said Ms. Kah, who once used bamboo frames to display disparate family photos on a grasscloth-covered wall.
Black or white frames are an excellent, easy option, but colourful frames also can work well for hanging art by children, said Meg Lonergan, an interior designer in Houston.
“It’s fun to play up the childlike qualities of the art you’re framing,” said Ms. Lonergan, who has mounted paintings by her son in red frames. “Instead of attempting to make it serious or formal feeling, lean into the character of the work and frame it in something super eye-catching, cheerful and joyful.”
Create a Gallery Wall
Once the pieces are framed, don’t just hang them in random spots. Create an organized gallery wall for a much bigger statement.
Devon Wegman, the founder and design director of Devon Grace Interiors, a Chicago firm, is a fan of large-scale gallery partitions with quite a few family photos grouped together. “We normally attempt to create one moment where all the pieces is compiled, like in an epic gallery wall,” Ms. Wegman said.
In the loft she shares along with her husband and business partner, Michael Wegman, dozens of photos in black frames of assorted sizes run up an open staircase. To make sure the composition would have a way of order — and that it will fill the complete wall — the couple modeled it with 3-D design software. For their clients, they’ve used the identical process to create grids of evenly spaced family photos and free-form arrangements that look considered.
Ms. Kah has used Framebridge’s gallery wall service to realize the same effect with less effort: The company takes uploaded digital family photos and designs a gallery wall, then produces framed pieces together with a full-size template for mounting them on a wall.
Use a Picture Shelf
If you are worried that a tightly designed gallery wall won’t assist you to add more over time — or if you happen to simply don’t wish to put so many holes within the wall — consider a shallow picture shelf or ledge, where framed pieces could be leaned against the wall.
“I like an image ledge, because you’ll be able to change things out really quickly, and it doesn’t need to be perfect,” said Ms. Kah, who installed picture shelves above the kitchen banquette in her home in Palm Beach, Fla. “You can layer things on top of one another. Compared to a gallery wall, it’s just a little more low maintenance and might grow along with your family.”
Beyond the kitchen, an extended hallway is one other good place for an image shelf, Ms. Kah said. Ms. Wegman once used an image shelf at a client’s home to carry family photos above the TV within the lounge.
Run a Wire With Clips
If you ought to change the art and photos on display regularly, or don’t wish to go to the difficulty of framing things, try a wire-based hanging system.
Ms. Lonergan and Ms. Wegman like stringing wires across partitions with clips for suspending art. “That’s where things from my kids’ school would come home and get clipped up,” said Ms. Lonergan, who used a curtain wire from Ikea. “I might just cycle things out every couple of weeks. It’s a pleasant, informal approach to display kids’ art that costs almost nothing.”
Install a Bulletin Board
A bulletin board, or pinboard, offers similar benefits. Ms. Robbins installed a fabric-covered one above a desk within the mudroom of her home in Georgia to carry her children’s artwork. But reasonably than selecting a plain fabric that will mix into the wall, she made it a feature by covering it in a patterned fabric printed with colourful illustrations.
“Because that whole wall was white, it really needed something to make that pinboard pop,” Ms. Robbins said. “It provides this fun background for the art we get from our youngsters.”
The paintings and drawings on display change with the seasons, which helps keep things fresh. “That’s the fantastic thing about a pinboard,” she said. “You can continually change things out with whatever art you ought to placed on the wall.”
Make It the Center of Attention
If you’re more desirous about celebrating one or two special pieces than displaying a big collection, there are other options.
Sarabeth Arima, an Atlanta-based artist, makes a speciality of elevating family portraits by creating one-of-a-kind works around a favourite photograph. “It’s multimedia collage. I exploit paper, paint, pencil, you name it,” Ms. Arima said.
“It was something I began doing for friends, but then I had increasingly more people asking me to do it professionally,” she continued, noting that a few third of her commissions now come from interior designers. She described the pieces as “love letters to a family story.”
If you’ve gotten a chunk that already transcends the on a regular basis, you can also make it the focus in a room. Ms. Robbins hung a painting by her three children above her lounge sofa, and based the colour scheme of the room around it.
The painting got here together when her father, an abstract painter named Michael Patterson, put a canvas on the ground of his studio and invited the youngsters to get messy. As they started working, “I checked out my dad and said, ‘This is definitely really good,’” Ms. Robbins said. When the adults provided some direction, it got even higher.
Now framed and mounted above her sofa, “it’s such a conversation piece,” Ms. Robbins said. “People walk in and are like, ‘Oh, my gosh, where did you get that piece?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, my kids did it.’”
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