When you showcase snapshots in your decor, you not only celebrate the special moments and special people in your life, you also tell others volumes about yourself. If you would like to put your favorite photos front and center in your home, here are some of my favorite ways to create picture-perfect displays that are as stylish as they are sentimental. Mary Carol Garrity, Scripps Howard News Service
Create a photo gallery: A friend created one of the best family-photo galleries I've ever seen, in the upstairs hallway of her old farmhouse. She selected photos that told her family's history, starting with her ancestors and working forward in time to her own children. To give the display some visual energy, she picked a wide assortment of frames — thick, thin, square, oval. To unify the odd assortment of frames, she painted each one cream and used matching cream mats.
She then marked two horizontal lines on the wall with painter's tape, 3 or 4 feet apart, breaking the lines around doorways and windows and continuing them on the other side. Next, she hung the photos in chronological order, creating a tight mosaic of pictures that fit snugly together between the tapelines, which she removed when finished.
If you're a big fan of bold grids, you could instead put all your photos in identical frames and hang them in several crisp rows, one stacked on top of the other in a tight block. Or you could approach your gallery like art: Create a free-flowing, organic tapestry of photos in an assortment of frame styles and sizes, then let the grouping crawl over the wall as you add to it through the years.
For a fun, casual look, install a thin ledge on your wall about chest high, then fill it with a phalanx of photos in a variety of sizes and shapes, letting the frames overlap each other in a cozy grouping that leans against the wall.
Tabletop tableaus: One of my favorite ways to display photos is to tuck them into existing tabletop tableaus all over my home. The key to making these displays effective is to mix the snapshots in with other interesting accents. I'm partial to groupings that have several layers and wed together pieces with a variety of heights and textures. You can also use props to give your photos more prominence in the displays. Rest snapshots on top of a stack of books or a cake plate, prop them on a tray, show them off in an easel or enshrine them under a glass cloche.
In my house, you might find a photo of my mom as a girl on my nightstand, next to a vase and a stack of books. Or you might spy a photo of our daughter Kelly's wedding in a bookcase display, resting in front of another piece of artwork and flanked by a blue-and-white ginger jar. Or you might see a snapshot of our old dog Cinnamon mixed in with some antique boxes and a magnifying glass, all on top of a silver tray that rests next to the sofa where Cinnamon used to snooze.
If you'd like to showcase photos on your mantel, resist the urge to place one large portrait in the center. Instead, pick several photos in different-sized frames, then layer them with additional pieces of artwork, creating a flowing feast for the eyes.
Or put photos in bookcases. In addition to tucking smaller snapshots into a bookshelf display or using a larger photo as an artful backdrop, hang photos on the outside of the shelves for added intrigue and depth.