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that’s what they said
I’m an absolute sucker for a photo wall. So, it should come as not surprise that when I was making this virtual photo wall, I got a little obsessed with scouring the web for the best examples of photo (or art) walls and put together a round up of the most creative ideas with a wee bit of commentary on why they work.
Click on the images to get to the original sources.
When planning to use photos in a dramatic way in your home, scale is the first thing that you want to think about. Think about the space where you’re planning on installing your photos. You always want the photos of your family to be the focal point of the room, which means that you need to think about their scale either singly or as a group. If you want to use smaller photographs, bunching them together will make them an anchor of the room.
Or you can go big. Going big does have it’s pitfalls to look out for – you want it to be a focal point but not to take over, so there has to be consideration to how to balance out the room. Always think about triangular relationships. Triangles create dynamic relationships through the space. They move you’re eyes around the room and create balance.
Bam! Talk about scale. This totally reminds me of Karnak Temple, modernism by way of ancient Egypt. To be honest, I don’t know how comfortable I would feel if those were pictures of me all blown up on view every time I went up and down the stairs. But as they’re of kids playing it does humanize the space. They also balance the drama of the rest of the space while remaining the focus. (This is no small feat considering the beauty of the space and how the rug and stairs move your eyes upward out of the room.)
This is actually a window – but in my mind, I’m seeing a floor to ceiling photo that serves to act like a large window. I think it would be amazing to fill a huge horizontal or vertical image with an unparalleled view and small children poking their heads in like they’re inviting you out to play.
The few colors in this room make their scales all the more important. The scale of both the photograph and the blanket balance out the room. It takes a certain risk to have just one large photo on the wall as an impact piece – but the payoff can be huge as well. (And then there’s the little bit of matching color in the window anchoring the color triangle. Perfect!)
This takes the same sort of impactful gesture of a large image but breaks it up. In this case it adds more interest. I particularly like the contrast of the rectangle shapes to the circular ones in the image.
Color is so tricky. You think you know exactly how it works and then someone uses it in a totally new and original way and suddenly, you realize that you know nothing. One of my first experiences of this was when I went hiking in the desert thinking that the landscape was completely devoid of color only to find that after 20 minutes or so my eyes adjusted and what had ben very muted, grey-green or deep red plants became electric with color. (On the other side of this teeter-totter is the work of Gwen Marston, who uses every color as a neutral.)
I think that color works best in a gallery wall when they have the same saturation. Which doesn’t mean that you couldn’t use images that all have different saturations, but when some are pastels and others are super vibrant and others are flat – many of those images will get lost in a whole composition. (But this might be what you’re looking for to invite your guests to seek for hidden treasures on your wall.)
What could be a messy and distracting wall of images and inspirations isn’t because the colors are all subdued.
This one works because the none of the colors are subdued. Most people would say that it also works because the rest of the room is neutral colors to diffuse it. But it’s not true, this room could be painted red or yellow and it would still work. In fact, that might work better s there would be less contrast between the lunch boxes and the wall, helping them to stand out and not clash.
I love how rich and warm all the images are and how they blend with the distressed brick wall and textured couch. I do wish the was a smattering of colors that popped through the space but a part of the colors being so in tune with each other makes it so that the texture (in the photographs as well as the room) become the focus.
I love how this wall of old photos becomes a wallpaper. If you wanted to create something like this, start by creating a band of photos at eye level and then build up and down from there based on the shape of the photos and how you feel about them.
Do you want a free-form composition or do you want to create something precise? Both have their strengths. If you have something that’s very intentional it does add impact in the way that it tends to look like it’s been there forever – in that they tend to be formal and very classical in their structure. With free form walls they can communicate a spirit and a joie de vivre that’s hard to not feel the charm.
I love that this one is free-form and very controlled at the same time. Clearly the whole wall flows around the electrical stuff existing on the wall with sharp boarders and pretty consistent margins between each frame.
I would love to see this photo composition in reverse, starting in the bottom with pictures of your kids growing up into a tree or plant like configuration rather than flowing down. I love how the empty frame anchors the whole piece as well as highlighting and binding together the images in it.
Composition isn’t just about where the photos are in relation to each other it’s about the whole flow of the room. I love how all of these rounded shapes from the dresser, through the vases on up to photos framed by place mats bubble up to create this whole composition in rounds.
I love this room! I really wish that one of those pairs of shoes was bright orange or something – but the rest just makes me happy. I love that the light brown starts to pop as the only warm color in the room. I also love that the whole look is rather organic looking even though the lack of color could make it seem industrial and cold. (This is how this wall almost ended up in color.) But the composition is the real show stealer. I love the overlapping (!!) and the juxtaposition of of the different kinds of art and the repetition of the photos of people in the middle with one at the forefront making that set come out at you. Then to top the whole lovely thing off, the shoes are posted above the scene like gossiping blackbirds on a telephone wire.
Very few things make a statement like repetition. Yes, that statement might in fact be, “I’m crazy,” but it can also be calming and restful. When you repeat like things, particularly in a grid or in the same way, they feel comfortable. Another thing is that, through repetition, you can create your own original wallpaper.
I really like these images together . I love how the repetition of patterns end up canceling each other out so that the repetition of photos in shape and size anchor the rooms and hold the viewer’s attention.
I want to do this! Well not quite this – (yes, I know it’s not an actual gallery wall) but I’ve been wanting to do a 4×4 photo wall of pictures of kids looking at each other from different frames, making faces and the like. Imagine this as cute kids all in different frames looking at each other. I think it could be quite fabulous.
And, hey, look at that! Someone did that. Although, I think it would be cooler if the movement of the piece was directed by shape and color in the photos, like the one before it. This is actually a tutorial for putting up such a wall. (Although, it seems it’s a bit crooked.)
Of course, if you can always hire me to get you amazing photos to choose from for your gallery wall! (I’d even be happy to advise on your wall. As I said, I’m a absolute sucker for a photo wall.) 651.890.6685
*Totally optional, I just like knowing if I know you.