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julie nolta design
Julie Nolta

Hi, I'm Julie, Chief Executive Empress

of my little apple green design studio.

Welcome to my blog!

When I'm not out visiting a client or searching for just the right  product for a project, I can probably be found in my happy little studio (painted the perfect shade of green), busy drawing up new ideas for a cool kitchen or a "spa-licious" bathroom. I like to share the fun stuff I find along the way!


apple green studio

Three designer tips for displaying photos


My little design rambling this week was inspired by my friend Jan in Arizona who asked about ways to display photographs without making her home look cluttered.

So I’ve got three basic rules of thumb for you and Jan that I use when hanging artwork for a client or myself. And these do not require a degree in rocket surgery. :-D

And off we go with my favorite, best tip first...

Create a grouping

You’ve heard me say it before - - accessories look better when they’re grouped together with some breathing space around them. The same goes for photos hanging on a wall or arranged on a shelf or mantel - - they look best when they’re collected together rather than scattered far and wide.

Create a grouping of photos and word art

This is a done-for-you grouping from Bed Bath & Beyond. Buy the whole package, including frames and words, insert your own photos, and BAM, you're done. (Well, after the hanging up part, you're done!)

And remember the bowling ball rule? Your accessories should be the size of a bowling ball or larger. If they’re not, then place them with a few larger things to create a grouping that’s larger than a bowling ball. This works for photos too.

Think about the finished shape of your group as well. Try using all your photos to make one large overall shape, like a square, a rectangle, a diamond, etc.

Arrange your photos in an overall shape


The pieces should have something in common

Another easy trick is to create some commonality with each of the pieces you’re hanging together. For instance, frame them all in the same color frame: wood tone, black, metal, etc. Or maybe all the photos are black and white, or have a particular color that’s common in all of them. They’ll think you hired a professional if it looks like there was some kind of design plan.

Here's a wall of photos in black frames with white mats. They're all different sizes but together they look like one happy family. Probably because they are. Literally! :-)

Create a grouping of photos

Photo: Travis Isaacs via Flickr

Make it uniform

If you take time to measure and hang each photo the same distance apart from all the others in the group, it will look more pulled together and less clutter-y. Plan for at least two inches between smaller pieces and three to four inches between larger pieces. You can also hang things in a symmetrical pattern or along parallel lines.

These photos have a couple things going for them: they're all framed in gold, are all the same distance apart and are laid out along parallel lines - - pleasing to the eye.

Photo: West Elm

So there you go. Three easy, designer tips for hanging photos in your home without it looking like hodge podge lodge.

Don’t feel like you need to apply all three at once, but do use at least one in every situation. For example, you can hang 15 different photos (or pieces of art) together using 15 different frames, but if they’re all the same distance apart, it will look great.

For more design tips, plus lots of fun and interesting ways to hang photos and art, visit my Pinterest board called “Hang It Up.”

You can also check out one of my older blog posts about easy peasy ways to actually HANG photos and pictures.

And if you’ve got a burning design question, don’t hesitate to email me. I may just answer it for you in one of my next Saturday blog posts!



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