framed - displaying family pictures


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For a long time, it was drilled into our heads, thru design magazines, interviews with designers and books, that displaying family photos in picture frames around your home was a design no no. "Keep those things in your bedroom," I remember reading some fabulous designer say. You could feel the disdain in his voice, as if he was talking about dirty underwear.

But we don't live on the pages of a magazine, rather a home where we raise (gasp) a family. And children and grandparents enjoy photographic evidence of life. They are weird that way. So inevitably there are going to be photos that you'll want to display. And if you follow the theory that I do, that your home should reflect your well lived, unique life, then photos should be apart of that.

So how do you balance displaying family pics while satisfying that craving for a well designed space?

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Following a tried and true rule of thumb helps - display 'collections' (in this case your picture frames) together to give them more emphasis. Mixing styles and shapes of frames is cool, as long as they all have some unifying element - touches of black in each, no mats, etc.

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This may put me in trouble with some, but I'm also a firm believer in ditching those JCPenny posed shots in favor of candids. The difference between candid shots and studio shots is like the difference between buying all of your furniture in one afternoon from a catalog and collecting unique pieces and styles over time. Those candid shots will give an original feel to your room, bring back great memories of when they were taken, and give visitors a reason to smile and kick off a great conversation. "When was this picture taken?" And chances are people will remember that funny shot of your kids in a mud puddle better than they will remember what flowers you had on the coffee table.

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So, what about you? Do you have picture frames all over your house? Just in a few rooms? Have any shots of yourself parachuting out of a plane? Picture frames always makes me think of Meet The Parents when they go over to Owen Wilson's house. But I digress.


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