In accessories designer Fiona Kotur’s Hong Kong home, James, left, and Rex do homework at the kitchen’s Saarinen table, under the gaze of bold and bright Simon Birch oil portraits of their younger brothers.
Full-color images immediately take center stage in this otherwise white stairwell in the Miami home of fashion designer Naeem Khan. Styling this gallery setup with larger-scale images, frames that disappear into the walls, and a floor-to-ceiling arrangement gives viewers plenty to look at as they ascend the spiral staircase.
Personal touches are what makes a house a home, and nothing does that quite as well as family photos and artworks. But finding ways to incorporate a photo display into an interior design can sometimes prove challenging. Color schemes, other art pieces, and overall atmosphere must be considered, not to mention the images themselves. Here, we take a look through the AD archives to see some of the best options for displaying family memories, from a gallery wall in Michael J. Fox’s home, to an artfully arrayed bookshelf in Tory Burch’s Manhattan office. From the mats to the frames, or lack thereof, and the possibilities for creative arrangement, there is endless opportunity to exhibit the truly priceless artworks in your collection.
Ruby-red frames instantly pop against the teal walls of the top-floor office in music consultant Andrea Anson’s Manhattan townhouse. Family photos, set in monochromatic sepia hues, are saved from being mere wallflowers by the interplay of the two vibrant colors, as well as the absence of mats, which brings each picture’s subject that much closer to the bold chromatic the interplay of the two vibrant colors.
Make your memories stand out with a wall-size display. In a Tiburon, California, home designed by Ann Lowengart, a black-and-white photo of the client’s children was blown up and used as wallpaper in the media room.
A gallery-style wall of family pictures is the focal point of this minimalist hallway in the Manhattan home of Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan. Using warm wood frames and clean white mats—an effective way to visually unify a wall of photos—showcases their collection of full-color and black-and-white images with elegance.
A Joan Miró etching, a Francesco Clemente painting, and plenty of family photographs are displayed on the windowsill of Diane Von Furstenberg’s New York penthouse. The unframed grouping feels fun and adds a casual vibe to the display of blue-chip art.
Fashion tycoon Tory Burch displays family pictures on bookshelves in her Manhattan office using her signature sense of style, a mixture of playful eccentricity and tasteful restraint. Images of family members mingle easily with books, artful objets, and natural materials, all creating a dynamic that speaks volumes about her loves and interests.
Cherry-red picture frames, balanced by more classic black ones, bring a sense of ordered chaos to an otherwise spare stairwell in this Brooklyn home. The bright frames both heighten the vibrant hues in the brighter photos and complement the softer, more faded tones of others. Smartly, designer Nick Olsen left the walls white to let this visual dynamic play out.
The irregular arrangement of family photos in this living space mimics the lines of the rugged stonework to their left. This home, a farmhouse on Martha’s Vineyard, was designed to foster a light and airy feeling, an aesthetic mirrored by the wide, white mats on the photos.
The breakfast nook of magazine editor Darcy Miller Nussbaum’s Manhattan duplex comes alive with family memories set in tones of sepia and grayscale. The mix of frames in black, white, and gold not only integrates seamlessly with the room’s decor but adds a sense that the pictures have been collected over time.
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In keeping with the aesthetics of this hallway in the Manhattan home of actress Julianna Margulies, the black-and-white family pictures are first given breathing room with clean white mats, then warmed up with dark wood frames. The gallery-style arrangement, usually prone to visual inconsistency, is unified by a single ledge shelf below, accented with soft pink flowers.
A desk in the library of George Stephanopoulos and Ali Wentworth’s New York apartment displays family photos next to an Emmy awarded to Stephanopoulos for his 2009 election coverage. This careful mix of items, including books, pens, and a zebra-print box, sits in front of a window with a view of Central Park.
No strangers to portraits, models Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber hung four pictures—one of each family member—in a simple, equilateral grid on the wall of the sitting area of the master bedroom in their Baja, Mexico, home. Taken by Brian Bowen Smith, the black-and-white portraits are visually set off by strong black frames, a classic choice for grayscale images.
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Family photos aren’t limited to living rooms. Why not put reminders of your loved ones in the kitchen? Family photos decorate the wall above a bar cart just beside the kitchen in Spencer Gervasoni and Austin Mill’s Hell’s Kitchen studio apartment.
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In the family room of her Manhattan home, actress and model Brooke Shields displays photos of herself and her children, taken by photographers Annie Leibovitz and Robert Mapplethorpe, next to fine art photographs by the likes of Richard Avedon. The cabinets beneath the arrangement provide a wide ledge perfect for creating visual depth by overlapping frames of different sizes.
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Brooke Shields commissioned portraits of her daughters by the artist Will Cotton. The paintings hang on either side of the fireplace in the living room of her Manhattan home.