30 Creative Ideas and Ways to Display Photos On Walls

30 Creative Ideas and Ways to Display Photos On Walls

how to display photos


You probably already know that displaying photos and artwork around your home is a great way to up the personality of your space—but how you hang said photos on your walls can also upgrade the pieces themselves, turning flea market finds and iPhone shots into museum-worthy magic. Check out these 30 creative ways to display your family photos and artwork collections, from vintage-inspired picture rails to modern ledges and everything in between, you’re sure to find a display and composition you love ahead.

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Accent Your Architecture

For a creative take on the traditional gallery wall, use a slew of bite-sized photos to frame an architectural accent in your home, as designer Lathem Gordon did here in a door-filled hallway.

A hammer and nails aren’t a prerequisite to a beautiful photo display—in fact, you don’t need them at all! Take a hint from designer Sarah Magness‘ handbook and use any available surface to lean your artwork instead. Just make sure the pieces aren’t too precious or at risk of being plowed over by kids or pets.


“Wallpaper” With Photos

For a look that’s as nostalgic as it is dramatic, look no further than this photo-covered space by The Novogratz. Here, family photos (mostly black and white) act as a wallpaper of sorts, covering every available inch of space for a time-traveling surprise around every corner.

A photo display doesn’t have to take up the whole wall. In fact, sometimes, a bite-sized arrangement can have an even bigger impact. In this living room, designer Heidi Caillier opted for a freeform composition of mini frames for an artsy moment that makes you look twice.


Go Bold in Black and White

If a high impact is what you’re after, black-and-white photography is the answer. While a collection of grayscale pictures is already eye-catching, pairing the display with an inky black backdrop—like seen here in the home of designer Ariene Bethea‘s—adds another layer of drama to the whole scene.

For a cohesive look that unites your art display with the rest of your room, consider “framing” a favorite piece of furniture with an arrangement of your favorite pieces, as seen here by designer Katie Ridder. The end result? An eye-catching vignette every friend will want to Insta the second they come over.


Look for Unexpected Locales

Part of the fun in displaying artwork and photography around your home are the tiny moments of surprise it can bring. To harness that playful nature, look for unexpected spots to stash your favorite pieces. In this kitchen, designed by Rita Konig, two cheery frames find a permanent home on the hood of the stove.

For a dynamic, museum-worthy arrangement, try paring a similarly-sized gallery wall arrangement alongside a strikingly large piece. The unique layout works especially well when nestled into a corner, as designer Ann Pyne did in her New York City apartment.

When it comes to hanging treasured pieces of artwork, you want to put them somewhere you can really enjoy them every day. And if that spot happens to be the ceiling of your bedroom? Well, so be it! The creative locale can actually be a great spot for a one-of-a-kind display, as seen in this dramatic primary suite designed by Krystal Matthews.

To make a photo or art collection feel cohesive, stick to a general theme (don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be too prescriptive!), like the loosely nautical display seen here in the home of designer Jeffrey Alan Marks. Not only will it visually tie together your arrangement, but a common thread will allow you to be more playful with your other elements, like framing or matting, without skewing too eclectic.

Many homes—especially older ones—often have puzzling nooks or walls that just need a little something to make them come alive. (Hint: Art is that little something.) The next time you’ve got a sloped wall that has you stumped, try using it as an opportunity for a uniquely-shaped gallery wall display. Here, designer Phillip Smith leaned into the charm of his 1716 Hudson Valley home with an eccentric display of frames, sketches, and photographs.

If you’re the indecisive type that wants to take pictures down almost as quickly as you put them up, a photo ledge could be the perfect solution for you. Instead of committing to a permanent gallery wall display (with real nails and lots of measurements), photo ledges—like this angular display in a home by Laura Hodges—allow you more flexibility to rearrange your photos on a whim.

Eclecticism can be fun when it comes to artwork and photography—but so can sameness. In this cozy lounge, designer Javier Burkle used identical frames of different sizes to encase black and white sketches, providing a necessary moment of cohesion in the otherwise funky room.

For an experiential photo display that changes with every step, mirror the angle of your stairwell with a trailing gallery wall. Here, designer Zoe Feldman relied on frames of different sizes and orientations to mimic the slope of the handrail.


Create a Surprising Focal Point

The right artwork display can instantly transform a forgotten corner of your home—like a utilitarian hallway—into a true “moment.” Here, designer Jean Liu relied on a floor-to-ceiling display of colorful vintage art to breathe new life into a simple landing zone.


Take It to New Heights

If your home boasts particularly tall walls, carrying a gallery-style arrangement only halfway up them may look unfinished. Instead, lean into the drama and go floor-to-ceiling with your display, as designer Andrew Brown did here. Sure, you won’t be able to have those top pieces in your sightline every day, but the end result will be impactful enough to make it worth it.


Let Your Art Take the Lead

Figuring out the right way to display your photos or artwork is as much about listening to your chosen pieces as it is listening to your home. You want to strike a symbiotic balance with all elements—from the framing and matting to the layout—to find the right “look” for your pieces. Here, a bold collection of pieces marries seamlessly with the room’s color palette thanks to a streamlined display and simple white framing.

Think of this next idea as the artsy equivalent of Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs. Instead of allowing carbs to lead the way, carry your artwork around the corner or down the hall with a never-ending gallery wall, like the dramatic display seen here by designer Fran Keenan.

And by box, we mean the living room, dining room, or bedroom. Many areas of your home could benefit from an artistic accent, so the next time you’re looking for some blank wall space to hang your new find, look to unexpected spots like a laundry room or bathroom for a touch of whimsy.


Play With Different Hanging Techniques

A more-is-more outlook on art and photography means your display techniques can follow in those exuberant footprints, incorporating two or even three ways of showcasing your pieces in one stunning moment. Here, designer Charlotte Lucas relied on traditional framing, display ledges, and casual photo holders to bring a dose of funk to this vibrant study zone.

Traditionally used in museum displays and homes circa the 1800s, picture rails have become a popular way to add dimension (and flexibility!) to photo displays. Here, a gallery wall designed by Lathem Gordon hangs elegantly off a brass rail spanning the length of the room.

How’s this for cool? The artwork you display in one room can actually have an impact throughout your home, as evidenced in this space designed by fashion maven Liz Lange and designer Todd Romano. The duo relied on a strategically placed mirror in the dining room to reflect the Roe Etheridge photo from the living room, allowing the entire area to benefit from the high-impact shot.


Break Up a Single Shot

Worried that your chosen photo won’t exactly wow in your space? Visit a print shop and see if they can jumbo-size the piece and split it into a DIY triptych similar to the piece designer CeCe Barfield Thompson used in this little boy’s bedroom.


Upgrade Your Bookshelves

There’s no rule that says your artwork has to hang on a wall—or even near one! Instead, try adding a piece to the exterior of your bookshelf, like designer Marissa Bero did here. It’s a great way to add dimension and a bit of cheeky fun to a more structured installation.

Artwork can be a beautiful accent in any space—but it can also act as a way to disguise more unsightly elements of your room. Take this clever application for example. Artist Kerri Rosenthal used an oversized piece of her work to hide the television in her family’s living room for a focal point that totally beats the Netflix homepage.

Up the classic appeal of any piece—whether it’s a collector’s item or an inexpensive flea market find—by placing your art in the center of picture frame molding on your wall. Here, designer Oliver Thornton took a nod from traditional museum displays, complementing an abstract sketch with a surround of refined detailing and a duo of sconces.

For a vignette that looks straight out of the MoMA, pair an oversized photo or piece of standout artwork with a photo light, like designer Meredith McBrearty did here. Not only will it bring out all the nuances in your chosen piece, but it’s a great way to add an extra glow and ambiance to your room.

Transform your frames themselves into part of the artistic experience by opting for a design coated in a bold, energetic hue. In the home of fashion designer Liz Lange, lacquered red bamboo frames have enough gusto to stand up to the other bold elements in the room (that zebra carpet!) and still allow the artwork inside to shine.


Play With Different Shapes

While square and rectangle frames tend to be the standard go-to, there’s no rule that says they’re your only option when framing art or photographs. Take this portrait gallery wall by Jeffrey Dungan as an example, where circle frames add a free-flowing romance to the scene.

Hear us out on this one: While displaying a photo or piece of art in front of a window may seem totally backward, it can be a great way to compliment an already quirky piece or bring a bit of privacy (without a ton of light-blocking!) to an intimate space. Here, designer Krystal Mathews used two sturdy chains to dangle a vintage painting in the window of a powder room.

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