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A Designer's Eye to Decorating with Photos

Struggling with a blank wall? At a loss for how to display favorite family photos? There are many creative ways to incorporate family photos into your home’s interior design that not only breathe new life into your photos, but add warmth, personality and interest to your home. A gallery wall of photos is an obvious and classic way to display your favorite memories. However a gallery wall can look dated or haphazard without an expert eye and quality materials.

I spoke with my talented interior design friend Debby Katz ( about the elements of a successful gallery wall treatment.

By creating a custom layout specifying placement, matte size and frame style, a designer can ensure the photos really shine, instead of getting “lost.” A good designer can also help create a wall that mixes photos and art (photos look great with other works on paper like drawings or prints) and select placements that the homeowner might not have considered, such as an upstairs hallway or mudroom.

With improved technology, there are a lot of creative ways to approach your photos. For example, heritage photos can be lovingly restored, enlarged, matted and framed. A collection of color photos can be turned into black and whites to create a visually compelling display that adds a layer of uniqueness to your home.

You can up the wow factor of your gallery wall even more by thinking beyond a traditional frame. Here are some of my favorites new ways to print photos.


This modern clutter free option lets your images take center stage. The acrylic is set off the wall with stainless standoffs for a three dimensional effect.


Perfect for an edgy industrial vibe, or simply to capture maximum color and clarity.


If your decorating style leans towards organic, wood prints may be for you. Your images are printed on a three dimensional wooden surface with warm tones and natural grain.


How about a completely different way to enjoy your photos? A mosaic is a design comprised of hundreds (or thousands) of photographs, and then printed in a large format on acrylic or metal. You can see each individual photo if you look closely, but from afar the primary image emerges. I love creating these mosaics, which can feature anything from a school logo for a child’s room, a family portrait, a scenic picture from a vacation, or your beloved pet.

Are you as inspired as I am for a photo refresh of your wall art? I’d love to see your before and after shots!

Karen Herman


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