family photos in decor

Decorate Your Home with Family Photos? Why? Or Why Not?

February 25, 2024
decorating with photos
Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels

Interior designer and TikTok contributor, Shannyn Weiler, is causing quite a stir in home decorating circles with her proclamation that family photos do not represent good interior design. She’s been hyper-critical of people who create what she calls “shrines to family.” And she also believes that you should decorate your home for your guests. I say, wait a minute, Shannyn! Who lives in these houses anyway? You or your guests? But I do get some of her points. So here’s my take on whether you should decorate your home with family photos…

decorate with family photos

Should You Decorate Your Home with Family Photos: I Say It’s A Qualified Yes.

My Mom, a retired antique dealer and house flipper, is firmly in Camp Shannyn. We NEVER had family photos in any public spaces in my homes growing up. She felt, and still feels, that these images are personal and therefor belong in “personal spaces” like the bedroom and upstairs hallway. I never understood this attitude. When I bought my first home I day-lighted family photographs in all my public spaces: baby pictures, wedding photos, sepia tones of relatives past. My home, my rules was (and is) my motto, much to my mother’s chagrin. I thrifted frames, at places like Consignments Ltd., so it was a relatively inexpensive way to decorate. I loved my home and my family photos. But as I matured so did my decorating. I bought more good art. I bought bigger homes, with more wall space. My family photos remained, but a healthy balance began to emerge in my interiors. I think that’s what Ms.Weiler is getting at… it’s balance.

balance family photos

A Healthy Balance of Family Photos

If every picture and piece of wall art in your home is a family photo, I’m sorry to say, your home lacks balance. So how do you achieve it and keep those photos? I’d say, consider yourself and what you consider beautiful, and then surround yourself with it in your home. Balance in interiors is reached by combining your beloved photos with art that speaks to your soul and mirrors that strategically spread light around your home. It’s not rocket science.

decorate with family photos
Photo by Maggie Isley on Pexels

What About Those Guests?

While I don’t agree that you should decorate your home exclusively for your guests, I do feel that you need to keep them in mind. This can help you in your quest for balance. Consider adding interesting art pieces or family photos that spark joy and conversation. Maybe you include an art piece featuring a favorite local landmark? Or you frame a photo of a best-ever trip: you and your honey in front of the Arc de Triomphe (trying not to get run over), your grandkids at Disney with everyone wearing those famous ears? You get the idea.

So Shannyn, I’m giving you cred. It’s a conversation worth having and a critical eye worth taking when it comes to our homes. But I will never be an all-or-nothing girl when it comes to family photos. They make me too happy to relegate them to the upstairs only (sorry, Mom).

Insider Tip: If you’re looking around your home right now and seeing a house out of balance, check your local thrift or consignment store for art that inspires you. It’s ALWAYS a Consignment Shop Best Buy!

Have a lovely day, my friends. Marianne

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