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Decorating with Family Photos

August 7, 2022

Filed in: Products

Decorating with family photos has always been high on my list when I’m making our house feel like a home. Not just because I’m maybe a liiiiiitle bit biased, but because I truly believe that it’s important for kids to see family portraits on the walls of their home! (I’m not the only one! My friends over at Design Aglow wrote this article about how family portraits boost your child’s self-esteem.) If you’re looking for new ways to decorate with family photos, I’ve done a roundup up of how to decorate your home with family photos, organized by room!


Decorating with Family Photos in the Living Room

Family Photos Above Couch

Above the couch is always an easy spot to put family photos. It’s usually a guaranteed open wall space and the couch is already a focal point in the room, so why not put some family photos above the couch?

Family Photos Above Couch - Decorating with Family Photos

If your couch “floats” off the wall in your living room, you can still hang family photos above your couch. Just use whichever wall is behind it–even if it’s a few feet or more away. The photos will still be above the couch visually when you walk into the room. I love how the living room wall gallery here is still anchored by a console table underneath it.

This particular family photo wall layout design is a client favorite. The matted 20×30 in the center is perfect for a full family portrait and makes a great anchor piece. The rest of the gallery builds around it with matted 10x10s. I like these for individual portraits of the kids and a sibling photo, or smaller families could use it for a photo of the child with each parent and a few individual portraits of the child.

wall gallery in a living room from salem oregon photographer samantha shannon

Family Photos Above Fireplace

When you have a big, beautiful fireplace, I think it’s the perfect place to do a large framed family photo! This is truly the time to go big or go home, and photos that are pulled back, landscape-inspired family portraits are perfect for above the fireplace. When some people think “big” photos, they might think 8×10, but that’s actually really small! The one I’ve shown here is a 24×36 print with a 3″ mat around it. THAT’S big! I like that it’s just about 3/4 of the width and length of the actual fireplace, which keeps it from competing too much while still holding its own and making an impact. How big should artwork over the fireplace be? Ideally, art should be 2/3 the size of the space it’s hanging above, says Myquillin Smith of The Cozy Minimalist Home (my favorite source for all things decorating!).


Family Photos Above Fireplace - Large Framed Family Photos


Family Photos in the Home Office

If you’ve got a little reading corner like this one, I love to add a few family photos in the home office. Any little niche can be a great spot to add framed family portraits! If you’re out of wall space in your home office or you work outside of the home, don’t forget about framed family pictures on your office desk!

decorating with family photos corner wall


Picture Wall Ideas for Bedroom

If you’re looking for picture wall ideas for a bedroom, remember to keep it simple. A gallery wall in you bedroom doesn’t have to be complicated. The wall space above your headboard is a great place to add wall art to a bedroom. These are two 16×24 prints, matted. It’s a simple pairing, but because the prints are larger and matted, they make a big impact.

two 16x24 prints above bed

Gallery Wall in Bedroom

What to do if you don’t want to hang pictures above your bed? There are still ways to create a statement with wall art in your bedroom. This gallery wall still feels simple and clean because of its grid layout and the mats adding plenty of white space in. Nine 12×12 prints, arranged in a grid, can be added to any blank wall to create a gallery wall in the bedroom or any room of your home. It’s a great way to decorate with family photos and create a full story from your family photo session.

gallery wall in bedroom - decorating with family photos

Foyer Picture Wall

Searching for pictures on the wall in entry of your home? I love this simple wall gallery made out of smaller prints: these are all 8×12 prints, matted to give them more visual weight. I think mats make gallery walls looks so much calmer, cleaner, and less cluttered, along with providing some consistency if you’re combining images from multiple sessions.

search for pictures on the wall entry



More Ways to Decorate with Family Photos at Home

You’ll find plenty more inspiration for how to use your family photos in thoughtful ways in your home over on my website.


Need Updated Family Photos?

If you’re in Portland and need to update your family photos for your wall art, I can help with that! I offer custom wall designs with your family photos for your home after every family portrait session. Head over to my homepage to learn more about Portland family photography.


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PS, If you’ve been enjoying my weekly shares of some of my favorite photographers, you’re in for a treat this week! My sweet friend Karla at Brittany Avenue Photography is sharing some beautiful Houston One Year Photos on her blog today: head over there to see her work!

comments +

  1. Karla says:

    So much great info here! Love all the ideas…. I especially love the 5 photo collage!

    • Samantha Shannon says:

      Thanks, Karla! The 5 photo collage is one of my favorites too–it’s easier to include all my favorites!

  2. Jasmyn says:

    These are wonderful tips for decorating with family photos. I never know how I want to organize them, so it helps to see this visual guide. Now, I just need help on which ones to select because I love them all! lol

  3. You just inspired me to update my galleries in the drawing room and hallway. So many good ideas and tips. What an educational post. Thank you!

  4. Miriam Wahl says:

    You just inspired me to update my galleries in the drawing room and hallway. So many good ideas and tips. What an educational post. Thank you!

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