30 creative ideas and ways to display photos on walls

JENNIFER HUGHES

You probably already know that displaying photos and artwork around your home is a great way to boost the personality of your space, but how hang the aforementioned photos on the walls, and you can even upgrade the pieces themselves, turning flea market finds and iPhone snaps into museum-worthy magic. Check out these 30 creative ways to showcase your family photos and artwork collections, from vintage-inspired picture rails to modern ledges and everything in between, you’re sure to find a display and arrangement you love in advance.

Advertisement – Continue reading below

1

Accentuate your architecture

For a creative take on the traditional gallery wall, use a series of small photos to frame an architectural accent in your home, like designer Lathem Gordon has done here in a hallway full of doors.

A hammer and nails aren’t a prerequisite for a good photo display—in fact, you don’t need them at all! Take a hint from designer Sarah Magness’ handbook and use any available surface to prop your artwork up instead. Just make sure the pieces aren’t too valuable or at risk of being plowed by children or pets.

3

“Wallpaper” With Photos

For a look that’s as nostalgic as it is dramatic, look no further than this photo-covered space from The Novogratz. Here, family photos (mostly black and white) act as wallpaper, covering every available inch of space for a time-traveling surprise around every corner.

A photo display doesn’t have to take up the entire wall. In fact, sometimes, a smaller arrangement can have an even bigger impact. In this living room, designer Heidi Caillier opted for a freeform arrangement of mini picture frames for an artistic moment that makes you look twice.

5

Go bold in black and white

If you’re looking for high impact, black and white photography is the answer. While a collection of grayscale images is already captivating, pairing the display with an inky black background, as seen here in designer Ariene Bethea’s home, adds another level of drama to the whole scene.

For a cohesive look that unifies your art display with the rest of your room, consider “framing” a favorite piece of furniture with an arrangement of your favorite pieces, as seen here by designer Katie Ridder. The final result? An eye-catching cartoon that every Instagram friend will want the moment they come.

7

Look for unexpected locations

Part of the fun of displaying art and photography in your home is the little moments of surprise it can bring. To capitalize on that playful nature, look for unexpected spots to hide your favorite pieces. In this kitchen, designed by Rita Konig, two cheerful frames find a permanent home on the stove hood.

For a dynamic, museum-worthy arrangement, try pairing a similarly sized gallery wall arrangement next to a strikingly large piece. The unique layout works particularly well when placed in a corner, as designer Ann Pyne did in her New York City apartment.

When it comes to hanging valuable artwork, you want to put it somewhere where you can truly enjoy it every day. What if that spot is your bedroom ceiling? Well, so be it! The creative venue can actually be a great place for a one-of-a-kind show, as seen in this dramatic primary suite designed by Krystal Matthews.

To make a photo or art collection cohesive, stick to one overarching theme (don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be too prescriptive!), like the vaguely nautical display seen here in designer Jeffrey Alan Marks’ home. Not only will it connect your arrangement visually, but a common thread will allow you to be more playful with your other elements, such as framing or matting, without distortion also eclectic.

Many homes, especially older ones, often have puzzling corners or walls that just need something to bring them to life. (Pro tip: Art is that little bit extra.) Next time you have a sloping wall that’s making you puzzled, try using it as an opportunity for a uniquely shaped gallery wall display. Here, designer Phillip Smith has leaned into the charm of his 1716 Hudson Valley home with a quirky display of frames, sketches, and photographs.

If you’re the indecisive type who wants to snap photos almost as quickly as you mount them, a photography ledge might be the perfect solution for you. Instead of committing to a permanent gallery wall display (with real nails and lots of measurements), photo ledges, like this corner display in a house by Laura Hodges, allow you more flexibility to rearrange your photos on a whim.

Eclecticism can be fun when it comes to artwork and photography, but so can uniformity. In this cozy living room, designer Javier Burkle used identical frames of different sizes to enclose sketches of black and white, providing a much-needed moment of cohesion in the otherwise funky room.

For an experiential photo display that changes with every step, mirror the corner of your stairwell with an end gallery wall. Here, designer Zoe Feldman relied on frames of different sizes and orientations to mimic the slope of the handrail.

15

Create a striking focal point

The right display of artwork can instantly transform a forgotten corner of your home, like a useful hallway, into a real “moment”. Here, designer Jean Liu relied on a floor-to-ceiling display of colorful vintage art to breathe new life into a simple landing zone.

16

Take it to new heights

If your home boasts particularly high walls, carrying a gallery-style arrangement only halfway through can feel unfinished. Instead, lean into the drama and go floor-to-ceiling with your display, like designer Andrew Brown has done here. Sure, you won’t be able to have those best bits in your sight every day, but the end result will be impactful enough to make it worth it.

17

Let your art take the lead

Figuring out the right way to display your photos or artwork is as much about listening to the pieces you’ve chosen as it is listening to your home. You want to strike a symbiotic balance with all elements, from framing and matting to layout, to find the right “look” for your pieces. Here, a bold collection of pieces go perfectly with the room’s color palette thanks to a streamlined display and simple white frame.

Think of this next idea as the artistic equivalent of breadcrumbs from Hansel and Gretel. Instead of allowing carbs to lead the way, take your artwork around the corner or down the hall with an endless gallery wall, like the dramatic display seen here by designer Fran Keenan.

And by box we mean the living room, dining room or bedroom. Many areas of your home could benefit from an artistic accent, so next time you’re looking for an empty wall to hang your new find, look to unexpected places like a laundry room or bathroom for a touch of whimsy.

20

Play around with different hanging techniques

A more is more view on art and photography means your display techniques can follow those exuberant footprints, incorporating two or even three ways of showcasing your pieces in one extraordinary moment. Here, designer Charlotte Lucas relied on traditional picture frames, display shelves, and random photo frames to bring a dose of funk to this vibrant studio area.

Traditionally used in museum displays and homes in the 1800s, picture rails have become a popular way to add dimension (and flexibility!) to photo displays. Here, a gallery wall designed by Lathem Gordon hangs elegantly from a brass rail that spans the length of the room.

How cool is that? The artwork you display in a room can actually make an impact for all your home, as evidenced by this space designed by fashion maven Liz Lange and designer Todd Romano. The duo relied on a strategically placed mirror in the dining room to reflect Roe Etheridge’s photo from the living room, allowing the entire area to benefit from the high-impact shot.

23

Interrupt a single shot

Worried that the photo you chose won’t exactly wow your space? Visit a print shop and see if they can scale the piece down and split it into a DIY triptych similar to the piece designer CeCe Barfield Thompson used in this little boy’s bedroom.

24

Update your shelves

There is no rule that says your artwork must be hung On a wall, or even close to one! Instead, try adding a piece outside your library, like it designer Marissa Bero did it here. It’s a great way to add dimension and a little cheeky fun to a more structured setup.

Artwork can be a beautiful accent in any space, but it can also act as a way to disguise the more unsightly elements of your room. Take this smart application for example. Artist Kerri Rosenthal used an oversized piece of her work to hide the television in her family’s living room for a focal point that totally beats the Netflix homepage.

Enhance the classic appeal of any piece, whether it’s a collector’s item or an inexpensive flea market, by placing your art in the center of the frame molding on the wall. Here, designer Oliver Thornton took a cue from traditional museum displays, complementing an abstract sketch with a frame of fine detailing and a duo of sconces.

For a cartoon that looks like it’s straight out of the MoMA, pair an oversized photo or stunning artwork with photographic light, like designer Meredith McBrearty did here. Not only will it bring out all the nuances of your chosen piece, but it’s a great way to add some extra light and ambiance to your room.

Make your frames themselves part of the artistic experience by opting for a design coated in a bold, energetic hue. In fashion designer Liz Lange’s home, lacquered red bamboo frames have enough taste to stand up to the other bold elements in the room (that zebra-stripe rug!) and still allow the artwork inside to shine.

29

Play with different shapes

While square and rectangular frames tend to be the gold standard, there’s no rule that says they’re your only option when framing artwork or photographs. Take this gallery of portraits by Jeffrey Dungan as an example, where the circular frames add a free-flowing romance to the scene.

Hear us out on this: While displaying a photo or artwork in front of a window may seem totally backwards, it can be a great way to compliment an already whimsical piece or bring in some privacy (without a lot of light- block!) to an intimate space. Here, designer Krystal Mathews used two sturdy chains to dangle a vintage painting in a powder room window.

Advertisement – Continue reading below

Leave a Reply