Decorating with Portraits at 71 Toes

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My name is Shawni and my blog is called 71toes.

As a photographer, I am a huge advocate for displaying family photos in a home so I was intrigued by Kristen’s idea to share various ways people do this.(And I’m honored to be included in that list!

There was a moment in time when I became pretty conscientious about what I hung on our walls:

A few years ago my daughter Elle got what she had been begging and begging for for Christmas: a new camera.

She was delighted.

And instead of going around taking pictures of her Christmas gifts or of her family, she promptly went about taking pictures of everything on our walls. A wrought iron piece of decor, each picture lining our stairway, the picture of her sister making a funny face hanging in our living room…you name it, those things on the walls were the first thing on her photography agenda.

Watching her made me evaluate what was hanging there for her to photograph. If my daughter thought the items on our walls were important enough to be her first items of business with her new camera, they obviously meant something to her.

I think we underestimate the influence of what we put on our walls. My kids notice the second I change something. So I better make what I put up count.

And what can be better to remind children of how much we value our family than pictures of that family…together and separate…anything that reiterates how much we love each other.

So after a little evaluation and re-decorating, here are some ways we have pictures displayed in our home.

First, we have a big family picture on canvas. It hangs in our living room. As you can see, it is not a collage, just a big family
(And I promise it looks better than that in real life…I think my lens must have been dirty when I snapped that one!)

This is how it looks in the room:
We also have portraits lining our stairs:

And in our kitchen by our dining table:
(These ones are mostly of extended family so we can think of them often since they live far away.)

I have displayed them in shadow-boxes to get a little different look in that room.

This next part is my dining room. These are not really “portraits” but they tell part of the story of our family and are still another idea for how to collage pictures, whether they be scenery or portraits.

My friend saw these old, rusty window panes at an antique shop and put the seed in my brain that they would help make a great collage. She has vision. I do not. (I love her.)

My husband’s comment when he saw those heavy metal things was that we needed to make sure we were all caught up with our tetanus shots.

But I LOVE how they turned out.

I got foam core board cut to fit in each frame, covered each one with white coarse linen, and stuck in pictures of places we’ve been because I love to travel. Family pictures would be kind of neat in there too, but when the rest of your house is plastered with them you kind of have to mix things up a little bit.

We like to talk about those places most of us have traveled to over Sunday dinner.

And they mean something to all of us.

This other little collage helps us appreciate the beauty of some of the places our family has spent some good time. Again, this could be a nice family portrait area as well.

Another idea is to make a collage of pictures in Photoshop and put them in a frame all together. This was what I gave my husband for a gift after a particularly exciting trip we got to go on:

Last but not least, we are putting finishing touches on my daughter’s bedroom (since she and her brother switched rooms this year). We decided to do a collage of pictures on the wall beside her bed.Here it is up a little closer:

I like mixing some different “elements” with pictures here and there like this thing:

…and this silhouette:

I wish you the best of luck with decorating with collages in your own home to make it that much more personal for your own family!


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