I know the idea of family photo walls has been around for a long time, but I think it's time I put my own spin on it. A family photo wall is a wonderful way to display pictures of family, those are still with us and those who are not. As an adult I was give a umber of historical photographs of a part of the family with whom I had lost touch. To hear the stories and see pictures of relatives helps me understand my personal history and that's a good thing.

If you want to undertake creating your own family wall, here are some tips on arrangement you might consider to really make it a great design element.

Make it a "living" wall. I love the idea of making an entire wall all about celebrating family. The architect of the project below creating a metal wall in along the stairs to use as a large magnet board. The beauty of this idea is the ability for the wall of photos to constantly change with the addition of new memories. And just think of all the nail holes NOT in the wall! This same idea can be easily be implement with clothes pins and rope for a more Bohemian feel.  

Grid for a modern look. As a lover of contemporary design, this one appeals to me the most. A collection of photos, different colors and shapes, all framed in the same size and style of frame. Laid out in a perfect grid pattern makes a real statement of order. The variation comes in the form of the different occasions and memories represented in the photos.

Following the stairs. In a more traditional setting, a family gallery wall is perfect in the stairwell (assuming you have a long wall in your stairwell). Make sure to do some serious planning in the layout though just to make sure you get it right the first time.

Go for the art gallery feel. Some of the earliest art were representations of people (think cavemen painting). So why not create an art gallery made up of your loved ones. These two examples so two different approaches. First is a selection of black and white photos printed on canvas and arranged in a tight collection in an office. Second is a hallway gallery with appropriate lighting, providing passers by a moment to reflect on family memories. Both turn simple pictures into art.

Now for your tip of the day! There's a very simple way to get your arrangement just right the first time (I learned this from a book on art arrangement). Trace and cut out the shapes of all the pictures you want to use in your family wall on either butcher paper or freezer paper (both are good alternatives). Mark on each the location of where you would place the nail. Then start taping the pieces of paper on the wall in your desired layout using painter's tape. Once you get the layout perfect, come back with a hammer and nail to mark the locations of the hanging hardware. Hang up all your photos and look back at your beautiful wall. Here's to family!