Here are some family photo display ideas for showing the world who and what you love. They also make great gifts – wall decor, tabletop displays, accessories for your furniture, and even seasonal decor.
As a family photo keeper, I know how much you value your family photos. But did you know that there’s scientific proof that displaying photos in your home and at work has documented benefits? In this article I’ll go over some of them, and I hope it inspires you to create more photo displays for yourself and others because the benefits are just so strong.
Displayed Family Photos Remind You of Your Heritage
I have a photo on my wall of my mother’s parents’ farmhouse in Ohio, taken sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s before it was sold when my grandparents moved to a house in town. Sometimes I just stand there and gaze at it. Not only do I have my own memories of three visits – two in childhood and one as an adult – but I have the memories of the stories that were shared with me.
It was the first property my grandparents purchased, and my mom was 16 at the time. It was already 50+ years old with no running water nor electricity. At Christmas that year my grandfather ran lines from the nearest power poles so they could have lights on the tree.
In the picture I can see the summer kitchen where my grandmother did all her canning, as well as the laundry, and I remember the root cellar filled with colorful canning jars – even though I can’t see that in the photo.
Before my grandparents bought the farmhouse they had been migrant farm workers, traveling all over the Midwest. My mother, the oldest of 5 children, learned to drive a tractor at age 8 and was often left in charge of her siblings for weeks at a time while her parents worked at farms across the region. Although that would not be acceptable these days, I am proud of what they accomplished and the work ethic that drove them.
The funny thing about this photo, though, is this: I believe it was given to me in 1998 when we visited Ohio for my grandmother’s 80th birthday. I didn’t even remember that we had it as it was never displayed in our home in California. We moved to New Mexico in 2002, and it still wasn’t displayed.
About five or six years ago my husband got the wild idea to go through all our packed up artwork and framed photos – including what I had brought home from my Dad’s house after he passed. My husband just liked the photo and hung it, along with a whole bunch of other things. He didn’t even know what it was (he was only there once in 1985). But he remembered when it was gifted to us and knew that it had come with us from California.
I am so grateful to have it hanging in my home now. It gives me a great sense of connection.
Displayed Family Photos Teach Children about Their Heritage and So Much More
All the stories I relayed about the farmhouse, above, were told to me as a child. When I look at the photo I remember those stories and I’m filled with pride.
You may no longer have children in your home, but you may have grandchildren or nieces and nephews. Displayed photos have stories, and children are always up for a story! Make sure you share those stories with them, either in your home or theirs.
Psychologists have done studies and found that those children with family photos displayed in their homes grew up with greater confidence and sense of belonging than those who didn’t. They had stronger feelings of value and a better understanding of where they came from. So the benefit is a two-fer, when it comes to kids, and it’s all good.
Family Photo Displays Create Stronger Memories
When you look at a photograph, you remember the moment and you activate the memory in your brain. Researchers have found that the more often you activate a memory, the more resilient it becomes. You actually strengthen the connections between the neurons every time you do it, so it makes sense that displayed photos would strengthen your memory because you see them more often than those in an album, box or on a device.
In addition, there has been much research on how photographs help patients with dementia. This is just my guess, but if the memories are strengthened before dementia sets in, it just might make it easier for the patient to remember after dementia sets in. We are all getting older, so it’s good to do the things that strengthen those neurons!
Family Photo displays Can Bring Comfort
Some people lovingly display photos of family members who have passed on, and others put the photos away, out of sight. The first group finds comfort in remembering the deceased as they were alive, and the second group feels their grief triggered by the photo, and they put it away in order to find comfort. Neither group is right or wrong. We are all different in our approach to grief.
But other types of photos bring comfort as well. Photos of vacations, special events and ceremonies can also bring comfort when you’re having a hard day or you’ve received some bad news. Displaying photos of people, places and occasions that remind us of love and caring can do so much to take the edge off a hard time.
When my daughter was 5 we had professional family portraits taken – the only ones we ever did. I framed a 5×7 and put it in her bedroom at the time.
She moved out of our home at age 22 and lived in several houses and apartments before moving into in a travel trailer with her wife. She hung that photo up in every place she called home. Several years ago, when she was living alone in a studio apartment and struggling in an abusive relationship I asked her about it. She told me it gave her great comfort to remember her family of origin and the unconditional love she grew up with (my paraphrase of her words).
This last Mother’s Day we went to visit them and I noticed that framed 5×7 hanging on the travel trailer wall in their “living room.” She’s in a happy, loving relationship now, but that picture is still prominent in her life and gives her great comfort. She’s a kid who can never find anything, but she has never misplaced that picture.
Displayed Photos Improve Workplace Behavior
Recent research refutes the conventional idea that family photos should not be displayed in the workplace. Researchers found that people were less likely to engage in unethical behavior (particularly when it came to money – padding expense reports, stealing petty cash, etc.) when their workspace included photos of their loved ones, rather than photos of landscapes, themselves, strangers, or no photos at all. Even one photo of loved ones can have the desired effect, with no evidence that increasing the number of photos strengthened their impact.
My husband has ALWAYS had photos of me and our daughter in his workspace, and since he started working from home in 2017, he has surrounded his work area in his office with these and photos of his mother and father as well. I don’t think he would ever engage in unethical behavior even without the photos, but I do know they bring him comfort, as discussed above. Work is not always his favorite place to be, and the photos help him make it through each day.
You Display Who and What You Value
Your displayed photos tell a story of you. Not only do they enrich and improve your life, but when visitors come into your home, they become aware of what you place value on, whether your displayed photos feature family, travel or favorite activities. This also provides a more intimate look into your life that they may otherwise never encounter.
If you’re looking for family photo display ideas for your own home or that you can give to others, keep reading. See if you get some new ideas for surrounding yourself and those you care about even more with photos of who and what you love.
photo gifts make the best gifts!
When my daughter was young, it was easy to plan gifts for our parents, her grandparents. We lived 4 hours away from one set and 8 hours away from the other set, so sending photo gifts was an easy choice. This way they could see how she had grown and what she was doing. Over the years we sent mugs, buttons, framed prints, calendars, t-shirts and more.
Another reason it was a natural decision was that our parents didn’t need anything from us. Knick-knacks are easy, but they aren’t usually as meaningful as a photo of a loved one, special event, or a special place.
This was before digital cameras and the internet, and many of these gifts we made by hand, or we took photos somewhere to be framed, mounted or printed. Today it is so much easier to create photo gifts with digital photos from our phones or computers, and they can even be shipped to the recipient from the manufacturer.
Photo gifts are not only ideal for relatives but also for teachers, coaches, club members and more. In this post I’ll share some photo display ideas that could really brighten someone’s day when given as a gift.
Family Photo Display Ideas for Wall Decor
Wall décor can be simple or stunning and be a constant reminder of loved ones. I work with several vendors who create beautiful wall décor online in a variety of sizes, styles, and materials.
Showcase your memories with beautifully crafted templates printed on high quality, archival materials from Forever. They have high quality, textured canvas prints as well as metal and acrylic panels that feature rich, bold colors and a modern feel. Sizes run from 8 x 8 to 36 x 24. They also have a lot of sales, so make sure to check the Deals page.
MyPhoto has many of the same types of products plus these cute “Metal Moons.” These are circular metal wall panels that you can order with a variety of frames, or none.
Airglass (TM) is a new product from MyPhoto. Billed as the world’s lightest photo wall art. It’s so light that it comes with a stickable and reposition-able tape. No nails needed. And no damage to the wall! The special backer also makes the glass look like it’s floating.
The Wooden Picture Ledges from Artifact Uprising lets your recipient layer their favorite prints in the thin groove and rotate them for any occasion. Multiple ledges can be layered for a unique display.
Tabletop Photo Display Ideas
Ellisi Gifts offers these photo slate panels in different sizes and accommodating different numbers of photos. Made from natural sedimentary stone 3/8” thick, photo slate is handcrafted with chiseled beveled edges. Each piece comes with a black plastic stand and is individually presented in a fitted box.
Ellisi also offers Photo Crystals with several shapes and sizes of acrylic cubes and crystal blocks. The 3D laser-engraved effect can be enhanced with an optional LED base.
These hardboard Tabletop Panels from Forever come in two sizes and can be oriented in portrait or landscape mode. They also feature a UV-resistant and scratch-free coating so they’ll look great for a long time.
Today’s reality is that many loving, caring, close-knit families are living in separate cities, states, countries or continents. This is why the founder and CEO of Nixplay created a way for families to stay connected, privately, wherever they may be. Whether you’re looking for a way to keep in touch with the grandkids, or you want to find a unique way to share memories with your friends, Nixplay’s digital frames have a variety of unbeatable features to make it happen.
Comfy Photo Display Ideas
You might not expect it from a company named Easy Canvas Prints, but they make some adorable and comfortable pillows and blankets. The photo pillows come in four sizes, and they are created using 100% polyester and will stand up to any kind of use. The outdoor pillows also go through a treatment that makes them waterproof and mildew resistant so you do not have to worry about leaving them outside.
The photo blankets come in several different sizes and three textures: fleece, sherpa, and woven. While fleece has the brightest color and sharpest image, the sherpa is the softest and most snuggly. The woven is beautifully crafted to make a striking throw for a bed, couch or chair.
Seasonal Photo Display Ideas
Photo displays make great gift no matter the occasion. Here are a few photo display ideas that would make gifts for certain holidays and events. The heart-shaped snow globe would make a great Valentine’s Day gift or for any occasion to show love. The ornaments can decorate a Christmas tree or more, and a calendar is a great gift for any winter holidays. Plus the top part has perforations allowing it to be separated after the year ends and stored in 12×12 pockets in an album.
Photo Gifts Can Last Forever
My mother died young, in 1994 when my daughter was 4. My father never remarried and remained in the home until his death in 2014.
After my father’s death I cleaned out the house to sell it. And now all those photo gifts I gave have come back to live with me.
You can see more posts on photo gifts here.
Can’t find the photos you need to make those precious gifts? I can help.