Q: I'm planning to frame several family photographs, some of which are fairly small. Should the frames all be of the same size and style? And what do you think is the most appropriate place for them, other than on the walls?
A: Just about any horizontal surface in your home will be suitable, except perhaps for the kitchen counter and window sills. Nothing more effectively personalizes a room than does a display of family photos on a tabletop, desk or shelves.
How you frame such treasured possessions is a matter of personal taste. But there are a few guidelines in choosing among frame options.
The accompanying example shows that every photograph in a group does not have to be framed in the same way in order to create an attractive display. In fact, one reason why this assemblage looks so good is that the frames are made of two different materials and are of various shapes and sizes. At the same time, these rustic wood and wicker frames, available through the "Exposures" catalog, have a compatible style that helps unite the grouping. The addition of, say, a traditional silver frame, no matter how beautiful, would unbalance the composition.
This is not to imply that family photographs should only be framed in this sort of informal manner. Depending on the subject matter of the photos, a more elegant mode of display might actually be preferable in a classical setting. Similarly, a simple metal molding could well be the right choice in a room with a contemporary look.
I'm personally partial to silver and brass framing for photos placed on horizontal surfaces. In those situations, frames are no longer just borders for snapshots, but instead become decorative accessories in their own right.
Whatever choice you make, be sure the materials and textures do not deflect attention from the photos themselves. Colorful enamel frames are great eye-catchers that can enhance the appearance of what's inside them. They ought to be used sparingly and carefully, however, particularly with color photos.
It's fine to accompany table-top photos with other types of decorative objects, as long as the pictures don't get visually lost amid an array of accessories. If photos are to be part of a larger and diverse grouping, make sure that they are fairly large and that the frames don't clash with the other items.
For your smaller photos, consider having them matted and then mounted inside a fairly elaborate frame. The photos have to be clearly defined and visually interesting for this method to succeed. They will then make a design statement strong enough for even wallet-size prints to hold their own within a grouping of larger photos.
To obtain a copy of the Exposures catalog, call (800) 222-4947. In Wisconsin, call (715) 341-8959.