Here’s a fun fact: I used to write about family picture wall ideas for an art installer in New York City! I did it for about five years (I covered other art-hanging topics, too). In that time, I saw hundreds of family picture walls come across my desk, from black-and-white grid-style walls, to eclectic gallery walls with mismatched frames and family snapshots.
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I have to be honest, before I saw all of the beautiful ways you can display family photos, I though the whole idea of a family photo wall was kind of cheesy. I think my perspective was tainted because I grew up in the ’90s, when “people” (of course not any whose home I grew up in…) would stuff drugstore photo prints into collage frames and line the walls with them.
Luckily, we’ve come a long way, aesthetically speaking, and there are now all sorts of options for displaying family pictures in a way that looks elevated and beautiful.
When it came time to hang my own family picture wall at our home, I knew I wanted to hang the photos going up our staircase, but I went back to the drawing board to figure out how to display the photos. I found inspiration on Instagram that was incredibly helpful in forming my photo wall arrangement, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite ideas in case you’re struggling to find the perfect family photo wall arrangement.
18 Family Picture Wall Ideas I Love
Here are some fun family picture wall ideas I’ve gathered from around the internet.
1. The classic stairway family photo wall
Hanging family photos going up a staircase is a classic family photo wall idea, and the configuration I chose for my home. I feel like hanging the photos going up the stairs transitions the home from the public areas of the house (living room/kitchen, etc) to the private ones (bedrooms). I tend to prefer family photos concentrated in the private spaces of a home, but that is totally just me.
I also just a great way to fill a really big, blank space.
2. A glam family picture wall
Here’s another example of a family gallery wall heading up a staircase, except this one uses a grouping of various metallic frames.
3. A hallway family picture wall
Aside from going up the stairway, my second favorite spot for a family picture wall is in an upstairs hallway. I love how the bloggers behind Chris Loves Julia used a mix of elegant metallic frames to give the whole thing a sophisticated look.
4. Mixed family photos and art
If you’re hanging your family photos in a living space, I love the idea of mixing them in with other art. The look is eclectic and fun, and is a great way to include family photos in a way that still complements your decor (since you can choose art that matches your space).
5. Oversized Photos
Gallery walls aren’t the only option for displaying family photos. Instead, you can get two or three (or more, if you have a long hallway or space to fill) poster-sized images printed. To keep the look elevated, I especially like this done in black-and-white.
6. Tailored Family Picture Wall
I call this look a “tailored” galley wall, because all of the frames match, the grid is even, and the photos are all in black-and-white. It’s the most formal way to do a gallery wall of any kind. Designer Emily Henderson used the framing service Framebridge to create the gallery wall above. Framebridge prints and frames photos for you, which makes creating a look like this super easy.
7. A statement photo wall
I mentioned how I personally love family photo walls in the private spaces of a home, but that doesn’t meant that many people don’t agree with me! Here is an example of a gorgeous, extra-large family photo wall in the dining room of a home by Studio McGee.
8. Gold-framed photo wall
This image shows you can also do the “tailored” look with all-color photographs. If you want a more stylized look (i.e. so all the images look like they go together), you can put a filter on them before printing.
9. Floor-to-ceiling family picture wall
Have a big family? Why not dedicate an entire wall to your family memories? I love how this photo wall is perfectly symmetrical from floor-to-ceiling.
10. Colorful-matted family photo wall
How is this for fun? Here, black and white photos are matted with colorful paper that matches the decor scheme.
I love this idea. If you just take a glimpse at the arrangement, above, it looks like a standard gallery wall. But if you look closely, you can see the bottom right photo is actually a pair of ultrasound images. It’s a fun personal touch to a modern gallery wall. I think the idea would also work well with a small, candid family snapshot, or a framed holiday card.
12. A mini photo display
If you have a ton of pictures you want to display, I love the idea of arranging a bunch of Polaroid-style small snapshots in rows inside a larger frame. It’s sort of the modern alternative to that awful photo collage I shared earlier. Websites like Snapfish, Walmart Photo, and Inkifi offer these retro, Polaroid-style prints.
13. Family photos on a bookcase
You can also create a family photo wall without hanging your photos on the wall at all. Using shelving or built ins to display art is a beautiful (and renter-friendly) way to fill your home with family pictures.
14. Family photos above a console
A console table offers the perfect opportunity for a family photo wall. This one features matching black frames with full-color photos in a palette that feels curated.
15. More family photos above a console
Here’s another example of the idea above, this time with white frames and black-and-white photos.
16. Take a maximalist approach
Can’t whittle down your favorite family memories into a handful of images? There’s always the maximalist approach. I love the entire vibe here. I think it works so well because of the black-and-white color palette and matching frames.
17. Use wall shelves to display photos
If you like the book case display idea from #13, but have wall space you need to fill in, try mounting wall shelves and filling them with photos.
18. Mix in antique photos
If you’ve inherited old family photos, mix them into your gallery wall, too! I love this look from Grace in my Space.
Where to hang a family picture wall
Personally, I love family picture walls in the private spaces of a home. I.e. in an upstairs hallway, a staircase that leads upstairs, or in bedrooms. They also work well in, yes, family rooms. These spaces of the home tend to be the ones that are more personal and private, so they lend themselves naturally to displaying a collection of personal photos.
However, that’s just my personal preference, and you can really display family photo walls anywhere you want. It’s you home! As long as the way you display them matches the vibe of the space (i.e. in the Studio Mcgee image, above, the photos in the dining room are symmetrical and monochromatic, which feels more formal) I think it works anywhere.