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How to Style Your Home With Photos

Allie with framesI’m a bit embarrassed to say that I spent six years hearing from clients who were struggling to figure out what to print—how to incorporate their photos into their lives—before I created a set of home style guides to help you think through how to display photos in a tasteful, beautiful way that will adapt over time with your changing life.

All of my clients receive a printed catalog style guide in the mail—I’ve always loved flipping through printed catalogs for inspiration to decorate my own home, and I’m excited to be able to offer the same experience to my own clients.

Each guide includes a mix of wall art ideas and smaller printed products that can live on a shelf, desk or dresser. My guides are also designed to help you prepare for your session—including tips on choosing a location based on the look and feel you want, what to wear, my favorite places for hair and makeup and other details to make sure everything goes smoothly.

style guide catalog

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See How We Display Our Photos

Styling photos at home

Let’s get a bit personal for a moment, shall we? Take a peek behind the scenes at our 1970s home renovation, and see how we incorporate our own photos into our daily lives throughout our home.

The kitchen is the heart of our home. When we renovated the house and had the opportunity to design it exactly how we wanted, we doubled its size and created a 13 foot island as a gathering space for friends and family. When we styled our kitchen, we decided to keep framed photos smaller in this space—we swap out favorite photos from our annual memory box on a few open shelves.

Styling photos at home

We keep our kids’ artwork on a cork board—and it’s admittedly pretty tough to keep this thing from becoming overrun with all of the art our kids create.

Styling photos at homeThe kitchen opens right up to our family room, which is awesome for letting the kids play while making dinner (ahem, usually Jeff) The centerpiece of the family room is our big open bookshelf. It was custom made for us from Michigan barn wood by 2nd Chance Wood.

Styling photos at home

The bookshelf is where we keep our smaller keepsakes—the top shelf is dedicated to our annual memory boxes with photos and small keepsakes from each year. We also have a few small framed photos and our wedding album on the shelf, along with three big baskets on the bottom shelf to keep toys so it’s easier to declutter the room.

Styling photos at homeStyling photos at homeThe opposite side of the room has a big map from IKEA, along with a set of three 10×10″ Gastby Silver frames on each side of the back sliding door with family photos.

Styling photos at home - square framesLet’s move back through the kitchen into the combined dining and living room.

white modern kitchen designWe had these two crazy prints by Chris Bishop before we bought our house, so they hang out in our kitchen to give the white space some nice pops of color.

Styling photos at home

Moving from the kitchen into the dining and living room, you get to see where we show off our largest family photos. We have a Storytelling frame that fits so perfectly on our smaller kitchen wall above the girls’ IKEA play kitchen (their absolute favorite toy in the whole world). This is one of two Storytelling frames that we have (you’ll see the other one in just a minute)—this one features our family, and the other one features our wedding photos. Both are framed in Gatsby Silver.

Styling photos at home

Moving into the dining and living room, we have a really long wall that we wanted to tie together in a cohesive way. I played with a wall gallery over the couch in my wall art visualization tool, but I couldn’t get it to balance out quite right against the space over by the dining table, so we ultimately decided to go with five 24×30″ frames with black and white prints. It has a bit of a museum or art gallery feel to it.

I’ve found that I really love black and white for close up, intimate indoor photos. We wanted it to be a bit more slice of life and raw/real compared to the lighthearted colorful photos in our Storytelling frames nearby.

Styling photos at homeWhen we moved in, we got to keep the piano from the previous owner. I started taking piano lessons for the first time in my 20s (although I stopped when Zel was born—I really should get back to it!), and Jeff’s whole family is really musically inclined. Jeff keeps his guitar close to the piano, and we love our little family jam sessions (okay, they’re mostly led by Jeff on the guitar while Zel plunks on the piano, but we have fun). I used the round mirror to bring a little extra light to that side of the room, and I balanced it out with a lamp on one side and a mix of vases, greenery and framed photos on the other. The frames are Gatsby Gold (5×7″ print with an 8×10″ frame) and Gatsby Silver (4×6″ print with a 5×7″ frame).

Piano with round mirror and small framed photosHere’s our other Storytelling frame—this one shows off our wedding photos from the Riviera Maya. It fits perfectly on this little wall, and we love that we can tell our wedding story in this single frame. It gives us a chance to display them in a prominent part of the house where everyone sees them right away, but it blends right into the rest of the story of our family throughout the house.

Styling photos at homeHere’s the view looking the other way (from the kitchen). We have one other wedding photo going up the stairs.

Styling photos at homeNow we’ve wound our way over to the entry. We have a two story entry wall that we’ve filled with 12 square canvases from some of our favorite places. Heading up the stairs, we also have a huge canvas of Detroit from a wedding I photographed a while back.

stairway with blue walls and canvas printsStyling photos at home; square canvases

Our upstairs hallway is lined with family photos. If you have blank hallways, this is such an easy place to start with family photos. I absolutely love it when Zel points out herself and other family members in these photos (although I admit that sometimes I get a bit tired from having to hold her up in front of every photo of herself so she can look closely—that girl is getting harder to hold up for long periods now that she’s three).

Styling photos at home: frames

Styling photos at home: frames

Styling photos at home: framesZel’s room is pretty focused on her own artwork, but we do have five magnetic strips on the little wall leading into her room where we hang up loose photos that we can swap out.

Girl's room with artworkI always tell couples that their own bedroom is a great place to feature photos of just the two of them. Wedding photos and photos that feature just you two will never get old in your own private space. We actually don’t have any photos of the kids in our room—we have four framed photos from a photo session we did in Paris when I was pregnant with Zel, plus a little framed print on one of our bedside tables.

bedroom framesbedroom photosbedside table frame

Arden’s bedroom has a few little photos that we swap out occasionally, but it’s mostly focused on framed prints for now.

clean modern nursery photos

There you have it! We’re hoping to update our basement office soon, and when we do, I’ll be sure to include some photos. If you have any questions at all, feel free to reach out 🙂

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