Most Popular Posts

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Do or Don't: Family photos in the living room


Last night, I read something surprising...

While flipping through The Perfectly Imperfect Home, an illustrated decorating book by Deborah Needleman (the former editor of Domino), I learned that you're not "supposed" to have family photos in your living room or, really, anywhere in the main part of your house. Family photos should be reserved for bedrooms and other private spaces.

Have you ever heard that? Our living room doesn't have many personal photos, but I actually wish we had more! My sister's house is covered in family frame walls, wedding albums, holiday cards from friends...and it's so much fun to look through them all. You can see her personality right away, and her home feels so cozy!

What do you think? Is this rule a do or don't?

P.S. Do or Don't: Magazines in the bathroom (heehee).

(Top photo by Bruce Buck for the New York Times)

254 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 254 of 254
Km12 said...

My mom has had a "gallery" forever, it used to be down the main hallway, not the staircase walls are covered in family photos; pictures of us as kids, graduation photos, pictures of great grandparents.... I love it, love looking at it, and people are forever going to look at the photos when the come over. I guess its personal preference, but I will always want pictures of my loved ones in my house

Unknown said...

sure, maybe if you're trying to SELL your home. but not if you want to live in it! i think your home IS your private space! it's your home!

Yüz Germe said...

Almost every month Google releases some updates or data refresh so that websites, that uses black hat or spamming, should be removed and users will get quality website that will help them a lot.
Yüz Germe

SaraSherrell.com said...

I love family pics in the living room. As a nurse aide, I have to say that I especially love seeing family photos of my patients. When dealing with a patient with dementia, it is nice to see their family and remember that they have a family that they love and who loves them. I enjoy seeing peoples lives.

Eu said...

Family photos are a bigger part of you than the perfect decoration. And it's up to you to display them or not!

McKenzie said...

I think that family photos look great in the living room to be honest! It always brings character to a house, and straight away makes it your own. I mean your house is your private space anyway so why not make it your own? I guess though you could save the more personal ones for your bedroom and the more professional or proper photos for the living room :)

Http://currentlylovingblog.blogspot.com

amarinsd said...

You have to be kidding me!?! I love pictures in my living room, where i can look at them whenever i want. Why would you hang all the pretty photo's in the bedroom. The room when you're in it, your eyes will be closed 95% of the time!
No i'll just keep the photo's in my living room!

Kendall said...

My guess would be that this rule of etiquette applies to a formal living room....who has one of those now? : ) My husband and I have a "movie reel" style display of our wedding photos across a high facia that is in our living room. All the photos are candid and it's like looking at our wedding in candid moments. I think it instantly tells you who we are. We also keep a family photos from the early 20's on a piece of family heirloom furniture. These are all conversation pieces that tell our guests about who we are : ) I vote yes as well !

Leah Hendrick said...

I suppose if you want your home to be suitable for a design blog or a magazine this would make sense, but for a real, lived-in home, this is ridiculous. When I go to my friends houses, I love looking at their family photos.

Katie Cotton said...

Though it really comes down to personal preference, I rely on design rules like this one to keep me in check. Love it!

Sara Geidlinger Photography said...

We have 2 GIGANTIC canvases of our family over the couch in our living room. oops? ;)

Sara Geidlinger Photography said...

We have 2 GIGANTIC canvases of our family over the couch in our living room. oops? ;)

Rec & Rewind said...

Nos I undestand why the bokk are in sale... hehehehe

Nancy said...

My decorator friend always told me that was a no-no too. She told me to put all the family pictures in my bedroom. But when you have kids that's an awefully tough rule to follow!

MOG said...

This is a very old-fashion, formal perspective. Back in Victorian times, only your dead ancestors (and the Queen) graced the public space via gigantic oil portraits. I suspect the advent of photography and now, cheap and easy photos, changed all that. I love my pix, they are scattered throughout our space.

Amber Andrews said...

Um... it's a HOME not a museum. To me photographs are snap shots of little bits of life. I'm not huge on JUST posed portraits but a mix of snap shots and even a few "professional" photos like family portraits or a wedding photo and then some artwork.

I agree with one previous poster who stated that there shouldn't be any "dos" and "donts" when it comes to your home. Not everyone has the same taste. Do what works for you and what you prefer.

Inner-Outer Beauty said...

I never heard this, in Europe we have photos in the livingroom, but like all in silver frames on a table together, I love it! Caroline

Kathleen Heffner said...

i totally disagree! I love looking at my family in the living room and the stairwell! they are so beautiful!

Zsú said...

wow, it's surprising... I mean, if you have huge portraits of yourself in the living room, that's a bit too much, but I don't see why you shouldn't put up pictures of your family.. Also, as a guest it's nice to see pictures of the host's family.

CUKOR

Diana said...

I agree a little. I like family photos in hallways, entry ways and bedrooms. I like art for the living spaces and bathrooms. I love love love family art and I have family photos on my foyer wall as well as walls leading to the kitchen and then in the bedrooms.

Caitlin B said...

My family's living room has panelling 3/4 the way up the wall. My mom used to have the entire top rail covered with framed photos. A continuous line around the room. People loved it. I loved it. But I don't think I'm describing the room very well. It is a very attractive room, I swear - my mom had an Interior Design diploma.

My mom passed away on Sat after a short and sudden battle with neuroendochrine and liver cancers. Her wake starts today. This post is making me sad.

Elizabeth said...

The long wall that joins the living room and dining room at our house is completely covered with a mix of art (Gentleman's professional photos, the swirl painting Scout made at the Science Museum, a framed oil portrait of Lionel Ritchie), quirky keepsakes (hubcap from my old VW, frisbee from our first vacation), and family photos. It's the first thing people see when they enter our home, and as we add to it, we feel more like a family than ever.

girlseeksplace said...

Definitely a do. Who cares? Only exception is if you're trying to sell, as someone else mentioned above. I will never understand why this generation follows the "rules" of generations past.

Happily CF said...

I haven't heard it so much as an etiquette rule, but I have heard it in the context of selling your house (of course) and in several books which study class systems in America. Family photos in a home are almost a sure sign that the occupants are firmly middle class. Experience shows this to be true. (And remember, middle class encompasses upper-middle class, a group many consider to be "rich." Most examples people could come up with showing upper class people decorating with family photos really show middle class people.)

I personally do not have family photos anywhere but my bedroom (and even then, the photos are my husband's doing) because I think a bunch of photos of people looks cluttered, unless they are true pieces of art. And I can see why photos would detract from a magazine-worthy home. But I don't believe there is any hard and fast rule for everyone.

Happily CF said...

I wondered about this too after clicking the link to amazon. The book didn't seem like the kind that would be full of rules. I looked at the preview on amazon and all I can get is a tiny snippet from page 135 which says, "...framed photographs that may be a little too personal for more public spaces. Snapshots of private moments on holiday..." (Note the first part is the second half of a sentence, not a full statement saying "framed photographs are too personal for more public spaces."

I suspect, but can't know without having the full book in front of me, that here she is talking about what to put in more private areas of the house. That is not the same as, when talking about how to decorate the more public spaces, explicitly saying it is not appropriate to use family photos. I do wonder if Joanna misread it while flipping through, but I can't be sure.

Happily CF said...

Yeah, looked at the Table of Contents preview, and page 135 is in the "Bath" section, heading "pictures on the wall."

Jamie said...

I stay away from rules, but from a design perspective I keep away from family photos in my living spaces unless done artsy or by a professional. I prefer having a picture of a canoe for instance, that was taken at the log cabin lodge that we got married. Looks artsy to others, yet I'm reminded of my wedding when I see it.
However, on my nightstand I do have a Kissing picture of my husband and I during our first trip together while we were dating six years ago! I love it! I can never go to bed mad with that pic right next to me.

Jennifer said...

I think that's a pretty old-fashioned rule for more "formal" homes - stemming from when it was the thing to have giant oil portraits done of family members, it was considered braggadocios to display those any where other than private studies, bedrooms, etc. In a modern home, the lines between formal/guest spaces and family spaces are much more blurry, so I think this rule goes out the window. I love a display of a ton of black and white photos all in silver (or otherwise similar) frames. Gives a room LIFE!

UL said...

Oh, I love your differentiating of spaces. It seems a great play on words.

Lauren Nicole said...

I totally adhere to this rule. My boyfriend would have photos everywhere, but I like them just in a few places--though not really in our bedroom. We keep some in the library, mudroom, and TV room, but we save the kitchen and living room for actual artwork. Eventually I'd like to put family photos upstairs in the hall, too. I think the main thing is to make sure everything is stylish and well designed so it doesn't look cluttered and like it was an afterthought. If I'm going to put my family on display, I want to make sure their photos are in frames that I've chosen carefully and arranged in a tasteful way. Your family means a lot to you--shouldn't you honor them with nice-looking arrangements?

Lisa M said...

Wait until to see how fast your children grow up! Then, when you see the picture of them when they were little with their gap-tooth grins, holding up Easter eggs and covered with dye, you will realize that it is only since they became teenagers that you want to sell them!

Pictures everywhere...a DO!

amiechristo said...

We have family photos scattered all over our house, either hung on the wall or else set on shelves. There's one wall where my parents have a large copy of that year's photo of us in a nice frame. It takes up the whole wall, but I've always loved that my parents have done that.

Audrie said...

I've never heard of this rule and I definitely don't agree. I think you should be able to do whatever you wish with your home decor. I live far away from all my family and I like having their pictures on my walls throughout the house so I can see them whenever I want.

beth said...

When I go to other people's homes, the things that I am most drawn to are their photos and books- I feel like I'm gaining a special glimpse of their very essence, and isn't that why you're there to begin with?

I live in a small house, and I do have family photos in my living room, but they are mixed in with photos of places or objects, and a few paintings. My kitchen- my favorite room in my house- is actually filled to the brim with art- my husband and many of our friends are artists, and every piece but one is made by someone we know. I also have two photographs in there: both candid shots of our son of our son, one shot by our friend who is a professional art photographer, and one of our son as a toddler, holding a giant apple (this has been in every kitchen in every home we've lived in since I took it); I also have a framed recipe card (appropriately stained) in my late mother's handwriting, on my kitchen wall. People who I invite into my home can take what they want from these pieces, but I feel like my family's spirit shines through them.

Hena Tayeb said...

That is a don't. Displaying family pictures in our home shows that we are proud of our family.. it brings warmth to our homes.

Kate said...

I love personal photos... and yet I can totally get behind this reasoning. It does feel odd to have eyes on you all the time.

Sparkling Ruby said...

I have to agree with Laura, I do not like showcasing family photos. Or photos with friends. I think it places the emphasis on "me" when if I have a guest, I want the emphasis to be on them. Secondly, I think it creates a subconscious ranking of who is in the photos you chose to frame and showcase and who is not. I know this may sound immature but I have heard friends say things like she has a framed picture of so and so but not me...

MinaGutz said...

I think our house accidentally fell into this category - we have a small 1400sqft modern house with very minimal furniture. Because we do not have shelves or furniture in our main living quarters that lend itself to prop up pictures; the only family pictures we have on display, happen to be in our bedrooms.

People do comment about this.

MinaGutz said...

I think our house accidentally fell into this category - we have a small 1400sqft modern house with very minimal furniture. Because we do not have shelves or furniture in our main living quarters that lend itself to prop up pictures; the only family pictures we have on display, happen to be in our bedrooms.

People do comment about this.

Oana Hogrefe said...

Am I supposed to enjoy looking at my kids in public, or should I reserve that pleasure for our backyard? I need an expert to please tell me asap, lest I make a stylistic error while living my life.

(off to flip through family albums furtively in the bathroom)

~Love Lis said...

I think family photos in the living room are a wonderful way of decorating! It says so much about your family and how you love to be together. Plus, it's like you said, it makes your home feel welcoming and cozy.

nobody girl said...

there's and brazilian designer that i love that says that your home should be filled with nothing but thing that tells the sotury of your life. i simple can't see myself living in a place made to be in a magazine, without any of my references. and that includes pictures of my family and friends, for sure.

Julia from Dozen Flours said...

Maybe one would not heed advice from a *former* magazine editor.

coleface said...

I like to hang photos of other peoples' families in my living room. You know, just to follow the rules.

coleface said...

I like to hang photos of other peoples' families in my living room. You know, just to follow the rules.

jauberry said...

I completely agree with Deborah Needleman, all our photos are on the second floor of the house, where the bedrooms are located. Just a personal opinion, but I do not like sitting around someone's living or dining room and looking at family photos. I would rather see some art whether it is paintings or photographs. Also, some professional photographs just creep me out.

jauberry said...

Are you saying people who do not have them displayed are ashamed of their family? Design is a matter of personal taste.

jauberry said...

I agree Laura! I guess we are in the minority!

Michelle said...

I'm brazilian and everybody here has family pics in the living room. My mom have lots of pics of me and my sister as toddlers, playing house, drinking tea, dressed up at christmas, playing in the street with neighbor kids, although I didn't appreciate as adolescent. Despite that, I loved to visit my grandmother's sisters and see pics of my mother's cousins as kids playing, and that classical black and white boards of them as babies laughing, crying, making faces...
I got doubts about my place, because I really love pinterest houses, they have such a flair. Then I remember that Panorama Interview of Princess Diana, and that bunch of pics over some furniture in the Kensington Palace so I decided to have my family and friends pics all around my place because brings a cozy feeling of togetherness and happy moments, distract younger visitors and how could I argue with royalty?

Love Decor said...

Lots of strong reactions. I am familiar with the decorating tip to keep family photos to a minimum in a living room. Zero photos would be odd but it depends on your lifestyle and how space is used in your home. There are plenty of homes that have one living room and a separate family room. For some homeowners a living room hosts guests, colleagues, the occasional stranger, e.g., a delivery man or a neighbor who is not a friend. These people don't need to have access to intimate family photos. To each his or her own but I don't find the tip outlandish. Also, maybe the tip is old and from the days of those tacky, staged photo packages from mall stores.

Love Decor said...

Lots of strong reactions. I am familiar with the decorating tip to keep family photos to a minimum in a living room. Zero photos would be odd but it depends on your lifestyle and how space is used in your home. There are plenty of homes that have one living room and a separate family room. For some homeowners a living room hosts guests, colleagues, the occasional stranger, e.g., a delivery man or a neighbor who is not a friend. These people don't need to have access to intimate family photos. To each his or her own but I don't find the tip outlandish. Also, maybe the tip is old and from the days of those tacky, staged photo packages from mall stores.

Love Decor said...

Zero photos would be odd but it depends on your lifestyle and how space is used in your home. There are plenty of homes that have one living room and a separate family room. For some homeowners a living room hosts guests, colleagues, the occasional stranger, e.g., a delivery man or a neighbor who is not a friend. These people don't need to have access to intimate family photos. To each his or her own but I don't find the tip outlandish. Also, maybe the tip is old and from the days of those tacky, staged photo packages from mall stores.

Unknown said...

I think decorators can be dangerous for this very reason. They are 'creating' in your home. They have a personal and professional stake in the end product. I use them but with great care. I do not let them dictate my taste or tell me what I should or should not do. I let them help me solve problems - make things look right that I think look wrong. Often it is a matter of balance that I had failed to recognize. Or they have a tried and true fix for a common situation. This rule is probably 'correct' if your goal is a beautiful room that would fit into a design magazine. But its your house! Rules were made to be broken!

But then.....I personally don't like clutter so I struggle with the look of framed photos around. I really like the approach of the picture you used. I also like framed photos covering a grand piano...but alas I have no piano and wouldn't be able to play it if I bought one!! I have solved this problem for myself by stipulating two shelves in different areas of the house that display photos. This way they are 'corralled' - like placing a collection of small objects together - they don't look as 'busy' when clustered together in a defined space. They sort of become one object. Just like the arrangement of frames on a wall in your photo. It would have the same feel and weight if it were one large picture.

The world according to me.....but I totally agree with everyone else. Do what makes YOU happy! Why ever would you not?

On a similar note - there is a design rule (I prefer to call these principles) that every room should have some black and some yellow. I have no idea why this works so well but I have started doing it and the transformation is astounding! I could have lived three lives on my own without bumping into that little tip! So all you decorators out there - I really do appreciate you!!

Gayle

clinton sandylenders said...

My name is Sandra and i want to testify of the good work done by a faithful Dr Osoba, a spell caster. in my life i never thought there is such thing as spiritual intercession. my problem started nine months back when the father of my kids started putting up some strange behavior, i never knew he was having an affair outside our matrimonial home. it dawn on me on that faithful day 19th of April 21st 4:23pm when he came to the house to pick his things that was when i knew that situation has gotten out of hand and he then told me he was quitting the marriage which i have built for over five years, i was confused and dumbfounded i called on family and friends but to no avail. two months after i started having problem with my kids welfare rent-age and all of it, i really went through hell. until a day i was browsing on the internet and i happen to meet a spell caster i never believed on this but i needed my man back so i gave the spell caster my problem at first i never trusted him so i was just doing it but you know a problem shared is half solved after a week my husband called me telling me that he his coming back home and that was all. now we are living happily and i still do contact him on this email: osobaspelltemple@yahoo.com

«Oldest ‹Older   201 – 254 of 254   Newer› Newest»
Site design by Apartment One
Federated Media Publishing - Style