Mary Kate McKenna Photography

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Ask An Expert: Photo Montages by Meredith of Tuscan Blue Designs

I’m so excited that Meredith Ericksen of Tuscan Blue Designs is sharing some advice on how to create beautiful photo collages in your home. I have worked together with Meredith on several projects and she is a great resource for all things interior design. Thanks for sharing, Meredith!

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Does this sound familiar…a stack of frames in the corner + a bundle of beautiful family photos on the desk = weekend project to create a photo collage wall.  Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Let’s start with the basics and expand from there.

Getting Started…

Gather & Plan. Gather your photos and frames (and any other items you might want to add to the mix for interest…a mirror, a painted piece, a clock, a found architectural object). Stick to a color palette to create harmony in the pieces. For example, if you are using black and white photos think about using different colored frames (pick 2-3 colors) that complement your space. Or, if you are using color photos use one color for the frames (wood tone, black, white, silver, brushed nickel).  For an eclectic look it is OK if the frames don’t match but there should be a design feature that links the pieces together such as all equal spacing, photo sizes, frames are the same style or the same color.

Tip: I recommend using 8×10 frames and larger…this will give you a cleaner-less busy look. You can use smaller photos with larger mats to fit in the 8×10 frames. Use smaller frames to create groupings on furniture pieces such as a console, the piano, or a desk.

Tip: Pick one element for uniformity. Don’t over-think…this is meant to be creative and fun!

Tip: If you are using all rectangular frames add one or two round pieces in to the collage to add   rhythm and balance.

Tip: For simple but classic  frames take a look at West Elm.


Location.  Finding the perfect spot…look for walls that you might not immediately think of using…tucked away spaces. For example, a wall/corner at the end of a hallway, a breakfast room, a spot in the kitchen, a home office on the first floor that you can see from your foyer, a back staircase that the family uses all the time, the powder room(!), the sunroom. Find a place where the family will enjoy the photos…the photos don’t have to be ‘on display’…they are memories for your family.

Breakfast Room: Perfect spot for the family to enjoy a photo wall.  (photo credit. Houzz.com)

 

Often an over-looked corner in a hallway  can be transformed into a photo gallery wall. (photo credit: Houzz.com)

Measure. Measure the wall space you want to use for your photo montage and then measure that same dimension on the floor so you can start laying out your pieces.  Decide on the basic layout for your collage. For a grid-like pattern base your design on an invisible line that goes through your collage…stack your piece up or down from that center line. If you plan to be a bit more eclectic with your design…using different types of frames and adding in a few decorative elements…base your overall layout on a classic shape such as the triangle. This will be the unifying element for the collage.

Tip: The center of your photo collage should be at eye level 60”-66”

 Tip: If you are hanging the collage above a piece of furniture the invisible line can be at the bottom and arrange the frames above that line. 

Example of grid-like pattern…based on an invisible line running through the layout. And an example of creating an eclectic grouping using the classic shape of a triangle to define the layout. Use your photos instead of architectural prints…hang the frames by ribbons and ad decorative objects to the collage. (photo credit: Tuscan Blue Design)

Create.  Make templates of each frame using newspaper or craft paper. On the paper template mark the location of the hook/or picture wire on the frame…so you can easily transfer that info onto the wall when you layout the frames. Once you find a layout that you like, tape the templates to the wall. Stand back and take a look…make changes as needed.  Be prepared to move and remove frames/photo. Mark the location of hook which will be your nail hole.  Then it’s time to start hanging!

Tip: For your last step before hanging the pieces, take a photo with the templates hanging on the wall. It might be easier for you to visually edit the layout if you see it in a photograph.

Tip: Be careful that you don’t have too much or too little space between the frames.  I  recommend leaving 2” between the frames so your photo montage looks like one art piece.

Tip: To keep frames level, use 2 nails instead of just one nail per frame.

The templating stage. (photo credit: newlydomesticblog.com)

One Last Note – Using Larger Scale Pieces:  I really appreciate the impact of larger scale photographs or portraits in a space…photographs that are wrapped on a frame. This is a great way to cover a wall and immediately add color, pattern, and texture…the pieces become artwork for the space.  They tell a story about your family and create  memories…especially when used in personal spaces such as a home office, an upstairs hallway outside the bedrooms,  the breakfast room,  or in the kids’ rooms.

Larger scale photographs/portraits add visual impact to a space. (photo credit: houzz .com)

 

A big Thank You to Mary Kate for a asking me to be a guest blogger. It’s always a joy to work with you!

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