I’m a big believer that homes should function as the family living there requires while also being a display of the personalities inside. Art is such a personal preference and should tell our stories. I love a mix of pieces from artists, but also photos we’ve taken.
To make photos appear more artistic, I prefer simple black and white. I love this photo taken on our recent trip to Zion National Park, but in a small space such as our hall, color photos feel more chaotic.
By converting it to black and white, I now have a photo that can mix well with any other photos.
For photos featuring people, candid shots are so much better than staged photos. I find I’m always behind on a hike, or off to the side to capturing (or attempting to) the moments going on. Which means I often have photos of my family taken from behind in beautiful scenery.
I opened my favorites into Photoshop to adjust to black and white, bumping the contrast and adjusting to see which photos translate best to black and white. Some photos look great in color, like the contrast here between the pale blue sky and the deep red cliffs.
When converted to black and white, it doesn’t have enough contrast and variety to work well.
After testing a variety of photos, I selected my top four to have printed at a local print shop on white card stock. The four sheets set me back 84 cents, so it’s an affordable way to update as more favorites come along.
I grabbed four frames from my stash, popping the prints in behind white mats.
Hung in a stack in a narrow sliver of our hall between doors, the photos are a perfect mix of art and memories.
While on an art swapping kick, I decided to simplify the shelves off to the side of our fireplace. Before, I had a collection of photos, some recent and some of our parents as children.
Instead of the full, layered shelf display, I limited myself to about 5 elements per shelf. Ignore the dimensional scrap lumber thrown into the wood box and pretend it’s all pretty logs.
Simplifying the pieces allows more attention per item.
I started with a piece of driftwood, giving an organic, sculptural form to the top shelf, balanced by a small green vase for a tiny dose of color.
Below, a framed black and white photo in a square frame layers behind a wooden shadow box. A plant to add life and a wooden star puzzle to add warmth round out the middle shelf.
The shadow box displays a rainbow group of rocks, all collected from a lake near Glacier National Park. To enhance the rock colors, I sprayed each with a coat of a satin polyurethane before gluing the rocks in a grid.
On the bottom, a vase of long matches, a pair of silhouettes of our boys as babies, and a vintage wooden bowl filled with loose photos rounds out the grouping.
These updates cost little to no money, using everything I already head with the exception of the black and white printed photos. Despite these being small changes, I take notice of them and love the fresh feeling.