Airplane Survival

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)

  1. I think family photos are best placed on the altar! This is best place for them!

  2. I think everyone should place family photos wherever they want. In our home, we decide on its decor and we should not worry about the opinions of other people.

  3. P Watson says...

    According to FengShui practices I’ve read about, having photos of family in the bedroom is inauspicious, but family photos, especially those of happy, smiling people, ought to be placed near the kitchen, as the family eats in the kitchen..

  4. Diane S. says...

    My husband died 17 years ago this coming October. Seems like the pictures have not changed, especially since Facebook and other social media are here. I feel like I’m living in the past, and need to move forward. I don’t know what to do. I’ve started taking photos down and almost feel like I can breathe fresher air. Any suggestions on what to put up. I enjoy nature, plants, trees, birds.

    • You know the saying everything happens for a reason and there are no coincidences. This is case in point! I am home randomly contemplating..and voila this came up. My husbands birthday is/ was oct 20 , he died dec 25 2010, my dad last year and mom 2 years ago. My home is not full of photos but they are certainly enough. Just today I decided to take them all down , we will never meet and are literal strangers however I wanted to take the time to thank you for sharing your story as it reinforced my future. All the best and a toast to fresh air!

  5. Tracy says...

    If you love your family, you frame and display photographs. Not anything to do with decorating. If so, then purchase expensive frames that all match. So sad to see a house without family photos.

  6. Artful Life says...

    As a photographer and interior designer, I find strict adherence to arbitrary guidelines such as these, silly (no offense). What to do depends upon the client’s goals and desires for their space, period. **Also keep this in mind, when I first inquired about the origin of this “rule”, I was told family photos on the main floor are discouraged because the main floor is the space for which designers are most often hired and, since they would not receive commission on that wall art versus other commissionable options, they collectively banished family photos to the upper floors. No such thing as “should” in this case. Do what makes you happy.

    • Sharen pritchbur says...

      I grabbed onto the last line of your comment.”Do what makes you happy.”
      Im going with that.?

  7. Gilda Bolet says...

    For over fifty years I have followed the rule that photos should not be displayed in the living room. The reasoning behind it is that the living room is a more formal setting where you receive guests that might not necessarily be good friends or family. Therefore, you don’t want to display your family pictures mainly because it is of no interest to them. It would be pretentious of you to think that they care to see your photos. On the other hand, in a family room, den. bedroom, library or hall, it is adequate since they are more casual spaces.
    This is what the etiquette has dictated always. Nevertheless, few people know that this concept has existed always, nor do they care about etiquette.

    • Jennifer White says...

      Why should anyone care about etiquette, if that etiquette states its pretentious of them to place your family pictures in your own home where you want! Often the guests I have see the family pictures and smile or inquire about them… But etiquette has ‘dictated always’ that guests don’t care and you’re rude to make them view your pictures. Ha! In short, guests do care. You, and those who follow these “rules ” just have a**holes for guests if they’re going to think down upon you for HAVING to view your family pictures.

  8. Cindy says...

    In our home art goes in entertaining rooms. Family photos are for den and bedrooms. However people should do what they want. It’s their home and they should do what makes them happy.

  9. Keecia says...

    Two things: 1. I am not decorating a showroom. It is my home. 2. We live in a modest little ranch style house, and I would not have a place to put any photos, if not in my main area.
    I am a child photographer, so the photos of my children are art. However, I do limit the areas for candids. I also used to do landscape photography from my roadie days, and those are the photos I have a hard time placing.
    I think design rules are sometimes just not functional for everyday living.

    • Julia says...

      I have a question around this as well. I live in a 650sq ft flat decorated in an old style/Indonesian dark wood furniture. I did an artistic photo shoot in vintage style a few years back as a birthday gift and wondered whether it would be weird to put up an 8 by 10 photo in an inconspicuous place in my living room (that you don’t see walking in) and the same on a hidden wall in my bedroom? I am completely not narcissistic but feel like the style and colours in the photos would match the two rooms. Is that weird? The photos are cool but sadly they are just of me and they took a lot of effort and creative work to make so I am somewhat “proud” of them. They also remind me of my best self in a way. What do you guys think? Is that weird?

  10. Tisha says...

    My design rule is ‘Walls are for art’ and ‘Tables and shelves are for family photos’. I have personal photography in my living room but they are on shelves or on side tables, and walls are for gallery pieces. This isn’t something that I judge other people on, but it’s how I like to design my home. I’ve seen people have beautifully framed professional photography that works for them.

  11. Karen says...

    I am proud of my beautiful family. Guess who haven’t met them can “meet” them through photos. Guests who don’t stay overnight don’t go to the bedrooms.I have family photos in every room. The ones in the den are mostly on shelves above the TV.

  12. kate says...

    My take is that few framed snapshots combined with the odd small professional shot preferably in black and white in silver or other minimalist quality frames, either covering a small occasional table, atop a fireplace or mixed into the bookshelves is stylish and sweet. Giant blown-up colour professional prints of your baby wrapped in a towel or yourself downing in lace at your wedding, blown up to an ungodly size and hanging on the wall is don’t. When it looks too studied, too contrived, too much like effort it’s unstylish. When it’s casual and understated it’s elegant. That said, I only have photos in my bedroom. But that’s because I’m quite private as well as lacking the space for things in my lounge.

  13. Julia Bailey says...

    I want my family pictures in my living room and in all my house. Guests can see my loved ones and know a little more about how I became the person I am.
    My home is my castle and you are welcome, but I display me, family and personal keepsakes that are part of me.

  14. Nope. I think one or two Small ones (4×5) maybe on a coffee table or shelves, but that is it!! Public rooms need ART!! (We all NEED art-many just don’t know it! :) My kids=Grown. Gone. (Good lol). Living room=RH grey, linen chesterfield sofa, love seat, tweed grey lounge chairs facing fireplace. Above both sofas are black and white (I’m crazy for it!) pictures of; forest in winter, arches in a cathedral, anything with a linear look….I have them grouped with Large ones, med, and a few small or narrow…..there are pics of honey n me on coffee table, grandkids on buffet in dining room and that’s it! I DO have almost Wall to Wall pics of ALL my Kids, their spouses and of course my 9 Wonderful grandkids in the DEN….My night stand has a small pic of my kids, my honey n me and my grand kids…. (I read that one should look at the things they love first thing each morning)…SO…a FEW pics of beloved family…but keep to a minimum, Artists NEED your help to buy their goods!! :)

  15. DeJay S says...

    This should be a do what ever makes you happy. It’s your home. There is no right or wrong.

  16. Tina says...

    I love to look through photos. I think it makes a home more homie. Friends and family smile, laugh and sometimes tear up looking at the pictures in our living room. Sharing life’s moments make me feel good.

  17. Monica W Robinson says...

    I am about establishing my own rules. I love to put pictures of family up. I have scrap books and albums out. Of course nicely displayed in baskets. I think my house is warm, inviting and cozy.

  18. Regina says...

    I believe your home should reflect your own personal style and be filled with what makes you happy. I personally
    Iike having family photos everywhere. It just gives that warm, homey feeling! They just need to be organized and placed well so as not to clutter the room.

  19. 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!!


  20. 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.

  21. 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?

  22. 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.

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

    • EMFADEL says...

      You have an open invitation to my house. I love your humor!

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

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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)

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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…

    • Maureen says...

      This resounded with me. When I visit my adult children’s homes there are no photographs of me . In two they have no photos of family at all but in the other two they have loads of other family members. It makes me feel worthless

  31. 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.

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

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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!

  36. 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?

  37. 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!

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

    • Caroline says...

      I agree; family photos don’t belong in the living room, dining room, etc. They are personal and belong in YOUR personal space.
      Plus, there is so much beautiful art… I just had some lovely John Singer Sargent watercolors framed for my dining room. My family live all over the country (plus it’s small) so I have a small collage of framed photos, in a variety of sizes, right next to my bed—I can look at my Mom (died 4 years ago) first thing when I wake up in the morning.
      It’s wonderful, but it only means something to ME. And I don’t want to share either. Anyway, just some thoughts…

    • Marcy says...

      I saw the inside of William and Kate’s apartment in a magazine hosting the Obamas and there were pictures of family members displayed. They are more than middle class.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.


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

  46. 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

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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!

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

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

  52. 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.

  53. 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 !

  54. 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!

  55. 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 :)

  56. Eu says...

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

  57. 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.

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  59. 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!

  60. 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

  61. I can see why from a design perspective, but I vote family pics yes…as long as you update them, my parent’s house had a bunch in the living room in these awefull bulky frames that might have been nice in the early 90s, recently we got new sleek black frames for them much better!

  62. Wow, I’m surprised at how few people disagree (even somewhat) with this rule! To me, walking in to someone’s house and seeing pictures of themselves all over the place can seem slightly self aggrandizing and immature. I just picture them sitting in their house looking at pictures of themselves when no one else is there. Is that weird?? Obviously I’m in the minority, but I love my friends and family a lot too, I just don’t need to show off pictures to guests. (And I do have a lot of great pictures!)

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

  63. Do! Do, do, do! Rules are meant to be broken, especially when done beautifully, and we think your home should be an expression of who you are and where you come from. (ie: PBarn always showcases how to layer photos so compellingly.) Yes, photos run the risk of looking cluttered, but when the frames too are from the same “family”, a mural of family mementos is the most gorgeous artwork of all. We could not disagree with that article more!
    xox Liz and Lo {}

  64. my husband and i have differing opinions. we’re both minimal but i’d like family photos on our main level. we have a few in our kitchen and a large family picture in our bedroom. thats it!

  65. My college roommate’s comment when visiting my parents’ house for the first time: “It’s like a Heather museum in here!”

    When you’re an only child, all of the pictures are of YOU. Or you and one parent because the other is taking the photo. I never thought all the pictures of me on the walls were strange until I got older and now it kind of cracks me up. I love family photos, but I think, as some other commenters have stressed, that moderation is key.

  66. we love using family photographs as art- old photographs and new. we have some on our mantle, shelving and on our walls mixed in with graphic prints and landscape photography. we love being surrounded by memories and the faces of the people we love.

  67. It’s a do. Well… not in my house, but I’m in college. My parent’s house has family photos all over!

  68. Whoa. I don’t adhere to this rule, but I’ll give DN that it is a “rule”. As long as you aren’t trying to get into Architectural Digest, there is no real reason to follow. It seems more of a blue-blood thing. The pleebs usually have family photos out.

  69. Whoa. I don’t adhere to this rule, but I’ll give DN that it is a “rule”. As long as you aren’t trying to get into Architectural Digest, there is no real reason to follow. It seems more of a blue-blood thing. The pleebs usually have family photos out.

  70. We don’t have any hanging in our home besides on our fridge. It’s not that I don’t think it’s okay, it’s just out of personal preference. And I usually have some sort of album on the coffee/table. I know when I’m at another persons home, I like to flip through those coffee table albums or see whats on their fridge too.

  71. I’m not big on personal photographs. In my bedroom on my mantle I have the last picture that was ever taken of my parents and me before my dad died when I was sixteen. I also have a picture of my dad in a very small silver frame in the living room as well as two small round framed photos of each of my children as newborns on a side table. We were recently given a really beautiful photo of my husband’s mother when she was pregnant with him and that is hanging in the hall. But that is it. I don’t like being assaulted by a million family photographs. I don’t like clutter. Just a couple that really mean something is all that I want.

  72. Oh – I’m in trouble I have family photos everywhere! I love that my sister has family photos on the fridge and that my neice knows all of our names even though we live in another state. My mother-in-law told me I should throw away all my photos beacuse they collect too much dust … but I would rather be surrounded by love and dust then live in an empty home. Shari from

  73. I own two family portrait studios outside of Philadelphia, where myself and our six photographers photograph abou 800 families a year, with wall art being our biggest seller. Every now and then we get someone who only wants an album because they are not “wall art” people, but most subscribe to the same philosophy I do – which is that visual storytelling on the wall makes a house a home. When it comes to designers, I really love that Rob and Courtney Novagratz always have some kind of tribute to family on the wall, usually in the form of family phtotographs.

  74. My husband and I subscribe to this rule. Most people don’t know how to do family photos right, so you end up going over to their house and the walls are covered with tacky engagement photos from their 1999 wedding, blown up to ridiculous proportions. Or it’s filled with huge baby photos of their kids and I sound like a scrooge, but 99% of the time, it’s super tacky. We chose to FILL our entire stairwell from the railing up to the 2 story ceiling with an elaborate grid of family photos, but guests don’t see them unless they’re going upstairs to the bedrooms.

  75. I completely agree. Totally. I must have heard it ages ago, I’ve been putting my foot down around my own house, my husband doesn’t see the big deal, but I think it’s kind of meant for private spaces, upstairs hallway, bedrooms, even a guest room, but not the main floor. I would rather use these walls to showcase cool pieces of art, or maybe blow up more abstract photos where it’s not clearly family portraiture. Feet on the beach, pics of flying a kite from behind, that kind of thing… but not portraits. In fact, I know it’s up to each person to make their homes their nests, but I always find it kind of gauche when I see lots of portraity kind of pictures packing the walls of someone’s home. But to each her own!

  76. I think if it’s your house, you can choose however you want to decorate it. Besides, who’s paying the rent? You! I always love to see family photos in people’s homes, it makes it personal and there are always great stories behind them to ask about. But like I said, it’s totally up to the owner.

  77. I disagree with this rule! I think it’s nice to see family photos! I especially like photos of grandparents and great grandparents!

  78. I disagree with that rule! If you want photos of your loved ones in your most used spaces – go right ahead! Family & friends are what most important, and you should reflect that in your living spaces! I love looking at little peeks into people’s lives.

  79. i don’t understand that rule at all – it’s called a “family” room after all. I love seeing people’s family pictures in common spaces – it makes the whole place seem cozier and more inviting to the person visiting. but maybe that’s just me.

  80. I think it depends on how attractive your family is, of course.

  81. It depends on your home and also your social life. If it’s a cool and open aparment, theres no space for your kids shooting, but I prefer to see the people I love everyday in my life.

  82. I flipped through The Perfectly Imperfect home but didn’t see that! I have it next to me now, want to have a closer look…

    Anyway, this is definitely a DO for me! Well, in that I guess I mean that you should do whatever you want! I’ve got photos all over the house. For the first 5 years of marriage I had 3 very large photos from our wedding in the living room! But it made us happy to see these photos every day, reminding us of our favourite day ever.

    Just remember, your house is for YOU! Guests don’t spend a fraction of the time there that you do!

  83. We have family photos all over my house! However, I do understand why The Perfectly Imperfect Home suggests that. Most family photos capture a memory that can be dear to your heart and some people may be resistant to sharing those memories and would prefer to keep them private. Thanks for sharing, Joanna!

  84. overall, i’m indifferent on the matter, sort of. however, i’m hardly ever without an opinion, so here’s my two cents: people are over-curating their own homes. and that is silly.

    to each their own, of course and always. i mean everyone should find their own balance between making a home yours vs making it a show piece for some design critic I guess…

    even when i do flip through feature homes in design rags, they always do feel a little more empty and cold when they come off as really cool museums. i always wonder if a family actually lives there…

  85. Such a silly rule. My family and friends are what make our house a home. Love is always in style.

  86. I do think it is weird to have photos of your children in the bedroom. I don’t want my children looking at me… doing bedroom activities!

  87. This sounds like one of those uptight rules that only the WASPiest of WASPs adhere to.

  88. Looks like a great book. Thanks for recommending!

  89. My mom never put family photos in our living room. However, there were some hanging in the hallway, and in our family room (which is different from a living room, somehow).

  90. I think this is one of those rules that is meant to be broken. What makes a place feel more like home than pictures of the people you love?!


    Kristina does the Internets

  91. This is a rule in the interior decorating world, but things have changed and styles have become more relaxed, so photos of your loved ones displayed in great frames add a personal touch…but I wouldn’t have a whole wall dedicated to family photos…but as most of you have said, our homes are personal and so we can put the photos where we wish…I have a stairwell leading up to my lounge with a wall full of family photos!

  92. My husband believes it to be bad luck to have a picture of anyone other than the couple in the bedroom because it signifies that others coming into the relationship. We have only pictures of ourselves together in our master.

    The guest room has fun pictures of friends and our living space has a few carefully selected pictures otherwise it is art only. I think moderation is the key!

    In our condo we have no hallway but one day when we do have a hallway, I plan on it being a black and white portrait gallery of our family!

  93. I was actually told the opposite once from a women who specialized in Feng Shui who visited my family home. She encouraged my parents to replace all photos of their children in their bedroom with photos of each other. She said it was important that everything in a room reflected the goals of that room… I was like ten at the time and thought this was kind of gross… BUT SO TRUE.