decorating with photos

Nearly two years have past since I updated the photos I display around the house. I order prints for the kids and do our family books regularly, but I have just not gotten around to updating what hangs on the wall. I got my act together and a big box arrived from I started with our photo wall in the living room.

12.14mpixprints-01I’ve been debating what I was going to do on this wall. I reached the ceiling two years ago. I figured I could stop, do something different or just keep going. This is my favorite wall in the house.  The bottom row starts with a picture of an ultrasound when I was pregnant with our firstborn. Each year I add about 30 pictures to the wall. I reached the top of the wall with the pictures from 2012.  I love being able to see the last nine years of our family at one glance. In an instant, I am reminded how quickly time passes, how babies grow into toddlers and how toddlers become kids. The constant reminders that wall provides helps me keep the perspective that my days are numbered, and I want to live in the fullness of my days. I also treasure being able to look up and see so many memories of my family. The photos are just everyday shots that may not stand out to others, but to me they recount the beauty of days past.

I ordered 4×4 prints from Mpix. I also used the Totally Rad action “Grandma’s Tap Shoes” reduced to about 60% to give them all a similar feel in color. I had to trim the ones close to the ceiling. Then I hot glue them to the wall. I figure by the time I take them all down I’ll need or want to repaint anyway.12.14mpixprints-0212.14mpixprints-0412.14mpixprints-05So the wall looks a little unfinished now. I’m trying to figure out what to do next…maybe some more framed prints/posters on the wall. On the other hand, it reflects the story of our family too – unfinished.  Framed posters, probably…either way, it makes me happy.12.14mpixprints-06I also updated the prints on our shelves. I added several mounted prints and a gallery wrap canvas. The mounted prints come with a black or white edge, I choose white. I like them because they can stand on their own – without a frame.12.14mpixprints-0712.14mpixprints-09

12.14mpixprints-10I don’t want all my photos to sit on my hard drive. I know not everyone is a fan of decorating with personal photos, but it sure makes my home feel homey and cozy to us. It is “us” and “us” makes me smile.

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  • Jolene - Love the photo wall idea!

  • Sarah A - The first thing I thought, upon seeing the full picture of your mini-picture wall, was, “It almost looks like a map of Oklahoma!”

    Your house looks so comfortable and inviting. Decorating with pictures is one of my favorite kinds of decorating. You take so many pictures – how do you choose which ones to display? I would love to see your thoughts on the matter since there are so many different ways to approach decorating with pictures.

  • danielle - I really enjoy decorating with photos of our family! We even have a wall of Grandparents and cousins 🙂 I take way too many photos of them to let them stay on my computer! You take so many adorable photos! I love that you display them!

  • Jenny B. - Sarah A, it does look like Oklahoma! 🙂 Ashley, I love that you decorate with photos. I want to, but I end up feeling guilty over not changing them out often enough, or whatever (I know, that’s silly). Also, I am not good at putting things on walls. It feels so committed. That sounds silly, too. I mean, we’ve lived in our house for 14 years. I’d say we’re pretty committed to it. Ha! I’m hoping to put up some shelves soon, and I may have to order some of the stand outs. Have you tried mpix’s new metal prints? They look pretty cool online.

  • Liz - I love this wall! I have always loved it! I got an old frame and did this and hung it over our love seat in our living room. It’s always a conversation piece and our kids LOVE looking at the pics!

  • Susan - Love your last lines! I agree completely. Home should make you smile.

  • jen - This is a silly question, but….I have lots of canvases (is that the plural?) currently around the house. But what do you do with them when it’s time to update? How do you store them? That’s my one issue with canvas prints (especially the big ones)–I LOVE them, but they are much harder to “put away” when it’s time to update–and with a frame you can just switch out the photo and put that in an album. Any advice?

  • Hannah Ashley - I LOVE THIS IDEA!!! Love it, love it, love it!!!

  • Amy - I adore the creativity and personality these give your home. I am a fellow decorator with loving photos, so I completely get the idea and sentiment. Love what you’ve done! 😀

  • Natalie - Love your wall! Especially with the stockings hanging and all the pictures. Makes me feel happy! Thank you for sharing!

  • Krystin - I just love the statement that you made about seeing nine years of family photos at a glance. It’s like you can visually see the evolution of your family. It’s beautiful. I have been meaning to get my photos off of my hard drive, but they’re still sitting there. I think this only motivates me to do something about it even more. I had a laptop that recently crashed, and I made the mistake of not backing up my pictures that were on it. Over two years of photos and videos were lost. Thankfully, most of them were scattered across the internet through social media or blogging, but regardless, most were also lost. I wish I could have printed them, or even saved them! Also, I think it’s weird that people don’t want to decorate with personal photos! Haha!

  • Lisa - Always inspired when I stop by here! Love the photo wall and especially your thoughtful post.

  • Cathy - My dad recently had surgery and while in the hospital he was describing a friends house, he said it felt like an old sweater when you walked into it. I imagine this is how your home feels to those that enter!

  • Erica - I love the wall just as it is… to be continued… as all good things are! And what a great idea to run them all through the same filter, to make an overall cohesive feel… I too have young kids and display many years worth of pictures together, so this is a great tip!

    Merry Christmas to you are yours!

  • Kelly J. R. - You photo wall looks like the state of Oklahoma. Even more perfect for your family!

  • ranee - I’ve always been a big fan of this wall and love decorating with photos in my home as well…I’m working on a “gallery wall” of sorts, so this is good inspiration to keep working! Something about surrounding yourself with memories is so wonderful. And also, your hair is beautiful in these photos! 🙂

  • Amy - Great post! I love how you decorate with your personal photos…so personal!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - I love it! I agree – I think it looks like OK! 🙂

  • Jen @ RamblingRenovators - I love that wall of yours – it is so full of life and love! I can imagine your kids, all grown up, coming home for the holidays and standing in front of that wall and remembering all those special moments. I have a theory that we retain many of our childhood memories only through the photos we see of those moments captured. Otherwise, they are lost or we remember them through some rose-coloured version, like a fading dream. You have given your family a very tangible way of holding onto their childhood. You inspire me to print out more of my photos!

  • Merritt Brooks - Your photo wall kinda looks like the state of Oklahoma! So not unfinished- you’ll just have to expand into TX and KS next 🙂

  • Ethel - I love that you decorate with your pics. This family is AWESOME

  • kimberly oyler - i think the wall looks great. i’m also impressed that you managed to have perfect hair while standing on a ladder with a hot glue gun. so many talents you have. 🙂

  • Kimberlee Jost - I like you in red gingham.

  • AmandaH - I like the wall even better now…”unfinished”. It just looks a lot more dynamic!

  • Diana - We decorate with a lot of personal pictures too. Really, most of our “art” is framed vacation prints. Lots of happy memories.

  • Angela - Wow, this is seriously so inspiring. I want to do this with one of my bathroom walls. I’d love to do a mix of photos + inspiring quotes. Your creativity is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  • Maureen - Makes me smile too! That very first little picture is now officially my fave picture of your girls. Oh my heart!

  • christina larsen - love this!

  • Alycia Quiltygirl - I LOVE this idea!! Thank you for sharing it!

  • Emily - Best. Wallpaper. Ever. I had a similar setup over our mantle in our last rental but now we’re in an apartment (in a new state) and I’m itching to put it up again when we buy. I might just pick one wall to be papered with images. I love it.

    Unrelated: talk to me about your hair. It always looks amazing. What’s your M.O., there?

  • susie - My first thought was that it looked like OK! I guess i am not the only one who thought that!

  • Jenn @ EngineerMommy - I also love decorating with photos, especially of the kids… It makes me smile and makes me happy!

  • Maureen - Missy Thing, I love your photo wall and as a mom of 22, 21 and 18 year old, I say just keep going. YOu will be blown away how quick the next years go with your oldest. How fun to have your fist ultra sound and his teenage pictures on the same wall. My vote is fill the whole side of the wall down…but I’m bossy like that!!

  • Mary - I love decorating with photos! Someone once told me that it’s tacky to have family photos on your formal living room – I told her that my family is God’s masterpiece and my greatest treasure and I couldn’t think of another piece of art I would want hanging there.

  • Courtney Kelley - After reading this post I ordered two standouts (photos of my children) to give as Christmas gifts for my parents and in-laws. I received them today and now I just kind of want to keep them for myself! I see more mpix orders in the near future. Thank you for this post. It was the nudge I needed to update our walls too!

  • Natalie @ Being Mrs. Olson - I have personal pictures everywhere. Sometimes I feel a bit obnoxious, but the reality is, I love being able to look around and take in a few memories at any time during the day. I also think it’s great to have pictures of you and your spouse around. Some people think that’s weird…but why not share your love?!

  • Karen Davis - i adore this sweet wall of yours… you said it looks unfinished like your story… which is SO true… it’s also, “almost” a little bit the shape of the state of Oklahoma too 😉 it’s perfectly imperfect.