This week I have a special guest from an adjacent industry: Veronica from Vongue Art Photography who is sharing tips on how to make your family photos your wall decor.

Hear interior experts reveal everything you need to know about family photo design and display

However sophisticated, extravagant, or laid-back your home aesthetic is, a treasured family photo design is timeless. Personal photos have the power to transform the look and feel of your space and fill it with character and personality. Although, curating an elegant and stylish photo display takes a bit of design mastery – no worries – I got you covered [along with your walls, shelves, and other display-worthy-surfaces]. And of course, you’ll hear design experts drop some pearls of wisdom.

Here’s everything from A to Z on how to elevate the look of your home with family photos.

family photo design
Family photography by Veronica Kucherov, Vongue Art Photography

Endless photo display options, but make it art

A forever-stylish photo gallery wall, in many ways, is like art. It can transform a blank wall, give it depth and dimension, evoke emotions, and command attention.

As a photographer, I absolutely love the balance, unity, and cohesiveness of a well-designed photo gallery. But know that you can go beyond a perfectly composed gallery wall and make it oh-so-you!

Pick your focal point and set the mood

“I like to let a few of the most special objects take the spotlight and then build the rest of the room around them. Your eye should move easily from these headliner works to the rest of the pieces in the space. Not everything can be the focus of the room or it will feel overwhelming and chaotic, so mixing different types of works can create a sense of rhythm in a space,”

Benoist F. Drut of Maison Gerard Gallery in New York

When it comes to displaying your family photos, pick one in particular that brings up fond memories and makes you all warm and fuzzy. Make it a focal point. Maybe it’s your wedding photo or a close-up of your toothless toddler. Opt for a larger print with you or loved ones in full-height and build around it with smaller ones of close-up portraits to achieve balance. This, by far, is one of the easiest ways to pull together a photo gallery display that’s equally meaningful and well-styled.

family photo design in living room
Family photography by Veronica Kucherov, Vongue Art Photography – gallery frames here

The classic grid

If a modern, minimalist aesthetic is more of your vibe, then you’ll love the classic grid of this gallery wall. With larger frames positioned off-center in an asymmetric manner, the rest are clustered all around. The key to achieving this classic look is to pay attention to proportions and choose similar-styled frames.

family photo design in hallway
Photo by Lanceup, Interior by House Envy Interiors

The staircase gallery

As intimidating as it can be, designing a staircase family photo display on the incline is not mission impossible. Interior designers suggest starting with one single photo in the middle, which anchors the design, creating a focal point and layering the rest of the pieces on both sides.

“There should be enough space between images to let each picture ‘breathe’ and have a presence [on its own].

Sasha Bikoff, Interior Designer

family photo design staircase
Missy Ulmer of Sapphire Diaries
Stairway gallery with black and white family photos
Missy Ulmer of Sapphire Diaries

Floor to ceiling scene

While typical gallery walls tend to stretch horizontally from side to side, one way to up the drama is to cover an entire wall with family photos, from top to bottom. This incredibly commanding style of a family photo display is certainly not for the timid, but captured moments frozen in time and stretched across the whole wall pane can easily take your breath away.

family photos spiral staircase
Photo by Bjorn Wallander, Design by Naeem Khan, Source Architectural Digest

Playful eccentricity

Here’s your chance to let your inner bohemian on the loose. And break a rule or two while at it. Designing a photo gallery with an eccentric aesthetic is all about mixing and matching different style photos – from travel shots to family photo sessions. Incorporate vintage objects, quirky textiles, brushed silver mirrors, and even house plants. Allow all of these artful objects and family mementos to mingle organically with one another – that’s what’s going to make this wall authentically “you”.

Full-on minimalist

For you, less is always more. For a more subdued family photo display, stick to monochromatic photos or use colour ones but forgo the frames entirely – like an arrangement of matte prints with a simple gallery-style border. Opt for matching sizes and clean lines throughout for your family photo design. To achieve a low-key and-less committal look, install picture ledges and lean your photo frames against the wall.

Isn’t leaning the new hanging, anyway? To me, leaning photos and art is forever effortlessly-cool.

And as the saying goes, “Minimalism is not about having less. It’s about making room for more of what matters.”

minimal family photo design
Veronica Kucherov, Vongue Art Photography

Things that are HUGELY important but often overlooked

You found a perfect spot in your home and decided that a floor-to-ceiling style gallery of your precious memories will be exactly the “over-the-top design aesthetic” you’re after.

Now what?

Now consider the things that’ll add a dash of something extra into your space.

Consider photo materials

When it comes to interior design, every detail matters.

You know that saying “The details are not the details. They make the design.”

Well, that’s true when it comes to thinking through every detail of your family photo display, including the materials or the way to print photos. By far, my favorite finish is acrylic for a sleep and modern design style. Opt for canvas to achieve a warm and timeless look. And go au-naturale wood if you’re into rustic and boho aesthetics.

Check out these material options:

  • Fine art paper print
  • Canvas
  • Cardstock
  • Poster
  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Acrylic
  • Wood

Be mindful of different levels of quality when choosing your supplier. Some vendors work exclusively with professional photographers, however, there is plenty to choose from if you decide to go on your own.

Here are two examples of canvases: one is stretched and finished on the sides. The surface has rough texture with a distinct glare.

The other is premium canvas finished on all sides providing extra longevity and high end-look, with fine smooth surface texture. I would also consider it framed, as the minimalistic finish you see on the sides and back can be done in many different materials and colours.

Explore framing alternatives

You know how wine pairs perfectly well with cheese?

Well, a photo frame for a photo is what wine is to cheese. Your photo frames are essential elements that play a key role in creating an aesthetic. It can often bring just as much style, grace, and personality to space as the photo itself.

“Selecting the right frame implies putting it in context with the design and the art, it is the “staple” that will put together these two elements in a harmonic way.”

Janice Attia, Interior Designer

Explore this lineup of framing options, and choose the ones that would complement your photos and your home aesthetic.

Gallery frames – you’ll notice these often in museum installations; they feature a mat to create an elevated frame-in-frame effect.

Modern frames – these feature a minimalist, thin type of profile that allow the photo to take the center stage.

Floating frames – these use a clear glass or acrylic in place of a mat and enable a floating effect.

Deep-set frames – featuring a thicker mat and deeper frame, they’ll draw your eye inward.

Family photography by Veronica Kucherov, Vongue Art Photography

Select your photo finishes

With a myriad of different photo finishes, selecting the right one for your photo has such a big effect on its visual appeal and how it holds over time. From the extra shine of a glossy finish to the iridescent quality of the pearl, the end results can not only enhance the way a photo looks but can also dramatically alter its style and the overall aesthetic of your photo gallery.

Consider yourself warned, my friend. These are just some of your choices:

  • Glossy
  • Matte
  • Pearl
  • Metallic
  • Satin

Be mindful of different levels of quality when choosing your supplier. Some vendors work exclusively with professional photographers, however, there is plenty to choose from if you decide to go on your own.

Here are two canvas examples – one is rough in texture featuring a distinct glare. The other is a premium canvas finished on all sides providing extra longevity and high end-look, with fine, barely visible, smooth surface texture.

Family photo design just may be the well-kept secret to an elevated aesthetic in your home

After all, family photos are what makes a house a home.

While interior design experts like Judith Taylor help achieve functionality and comfort through furniture and home décor elements, photos of our loved ones inject character, personality, and life into our space. Which are, coincidentally, the secret sauce to a well-designed home.

As a professional photographer and founder of Vongue Art Photography, I frequent my clients’ homes on a regular basis. Ahem, outside of COVID-times. And while capturing clients’ special moments, I narrate a family story and then translate it into a series of photos.

Family photography by Veronica Kucherov, Vongue Art Photography

It is through this experience that I’ve gained the trust of my clients who view me as someone that knows their family and home environment quite intimately. And as a result, when you decide to work with me as a photographer, you also get a personal stylist and an advisor with an eye for the interior design who shares suggestions and guidance on how best to achieve the desired design aesthetic through family photo display.

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