Bookshelves aren’t just for books anymore

I recently did a blog post for local Ottawa photographer, Melanie Mathieu. She had asked me to write about the creative ways that photographs could be displayed in your home. The options are actually endless and I listed a few for both framed photo’s and those in albums. Have a read!


Photographs are a moment in time captured in a still frame. These moments are beautiful, raw, and frozen while the world continues to spin, while you continue to grow, and while life moves forward. How you display these memories help to create the story of telling that particular time that you can now look back on forever.


Here is list of different ways you can display these framed photographs in your home:


Gallery walls

Gallery walls are like a commissioned art piece that was made just for you. They hold a sentimental value, and represent many memories for others to see. They are best located above a seating area in a living room, or over the dining table where people gather to eat, converse, and share stories along with bites of delicious food.


When creating a gallery wall, there needs to be a fluid theme amongst the frames. Having all one colour works, but if you want to make it a little more eclectic, having a collaboration of different frames works best if you use 3-4 colour tones only. For examples, off white, grey, and blues look great together. Or perhaps wooden frames mixed with some yellow and grey ones. Doing mixed frames this way allows the eye to focus on the photos rather than just the frames themselves.


The photos in the frames can be anything. A more modern monolithic look would be to use all black or white frames with black and white photos only. This look is timeless and looks great paired with any décor or style. Going to the more organic and rustic side, you can use coloured photos in the coloured frames, creating a dynamic gallery wall.


A tip for the wall layout is to lay the frames with the photos in them on the ground first. Position them in the shape and formation you wish. This way you see which photos and frames look best beside each other. It’s important to balance out the colours of the frames and photos within the gallery wall. Then, once you’ve gotten the layout on the ground to your desired look, cut out paper to match the sizes of the frames and lay them up on the wall, mimicking the floor layout. Once you’re happy with the look, put your nail in and pull the paper off. Hang your photos one by one, and voila! Your photo gallery is complete.




Single Frames

If you don’t have the wall space for a gallery wall, or simply have a few framed photographs to display, hanging them on the wall alone is beautiful and makes the focus more specific on that particular photograph. Hanging the frame at eye level is more aesthetically pleasing and having the frame surrounded by other pieces in the room creates a separate environment for the photograph. For example, if you have plants or a floor lamp near that wall, putting a framed photograph between the two creates a nice niche for the frame to look part of the overall design of the room.




Shelves and Bookshelves

One of my favourite ways to display photographs is on shelves. It’s non-permanent because no nails are required, and you can add objects and other small details around the frames. It can be on an open shelf, or in an enclosed glass cabinet. Regardless of where, you are able to add other memories with the frame. Shells from a trip down south paired with a photograph of you on the beach, your wedding veil draped around your favourite wedding photo, books of the places you visited beside photos of that place…the possibilities are endless. This creates almost like a shadow box for the photograph and items you wish to display.


Wedding Album

You can treat a wedding album the same way as the shelved photography. Pair it with a vase of dried flowers from your bouquet, or even with candles beside it. Another fun part of a wedding album is to keep it on the coffee table. It’s a great book to flip through, and it’s also adorable catching your significant other glancing through it down the road.




No matter how you choose to display your photographs, the focus will always be on the moment that has been frozen for you, and others to delight in.