Family Photo Walls: The Secret to their Success

pottery barn photo wallPottery Barn Photo Wall

Remember that Star Trek rerun, “The Trouble With Tribbles?” Tribbles were these fluffy, little snuggly things. The problem was, they multiplied like Viagra-infused rabbits to the point that they started to over run the ship – which was the actual trouble with Tribbles. A couple of Tribbles, cute. Scads of  Tribbles – too much of a good thing.

Framed Family photos are not much different.

Now I adore my family as much as anyone, but I know too that under the “too much of a good thing rule,” if you put bunches of disparately framed photographs on every available surface, you will negate the importance of any one image while creating room strangling clutter. If a photo wall is in your future,  here are 6  Key Tips for Photo Wall Success.

  • DIY’ers: Use the same frame on all photos. As a Designer, I used a very similar series of 5 frames.

interior design

  • Convert all the images into black and white. Yup – you heard me. Take the authentic old sepia and black and white photos you have and mix them in with current day photos that have been converted to black and white or sepia.
  •  DIY’ers: Use the same matte on all. As a Designer, I used 3 similar shades of the same matte color, altering them depending on the depth of color of the black and white images – light, medium or dark.

interior design

  • Hang only in an area that will not interrupt the room’s focal point!!
  • Hang so that the total grouping creates what appears to be one large piece of artwork.

interior design

interior design

  • Photo Walls can be fun in guest rooms- gives your guest something fun to look at. interior designPhotos courtesy Interior by Donna Hoffman


This room has 2 short diagonal walls that flank the room’s split entry point. We created 2 (yes, 2) family photo walls – 50 images in total each and 5 hours in total to install. We kept the other accessories in the room larger in scale and to a controlled minimum which is another reason the photo walls work so well. I am not a fan of photo walls in general, but these are powerful and moving.