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If a picture is truly worth 1,000 words, you want to be sure the ones that adorn your living space are telling your guests the same thing you are. 

For instance, you might be trying to convince your friend that your small, artistic studio apartment is really okay for her three messy children to play in while a graffiti-coated art piece with the line “Kids Are The Worst” greets them in the foyer. 

That might send the wrong message. (No matter how cool the kids think the graffiti is.) 

The pictures and images used to decorate your living space speak volumes to guests and occupants about who you are, what you value, and the environment you want to create.

(NOTE: In this particular post, by “pictures,” we’re referring to the non-personal images such as paintings, décor and posters that decorate your halls and walls, not personal photos.)

When you’re shifting your living space from just “functional,” (i.e. this is where I  eat, sleep, poop and occasionally check Facebook), to your re-energizing space, (i.e. where you relax, work, play and enjoy), the content on your walls is key to tying your home together. 

We believe in the importance of this principle so much that we’ve created fives rules for what should and shouldn’t hang on your walls.

5 Rules For Picking Pictures:  

Rule #1: Pick pictures that stick with your theme.

We’ll dive more into the ins and outs of picking a theme soon, but suffice it to say, if you’re trying to put your home together, it needs to have a cohesive theme. The pictures decorating your home need to fit within the bounds of this theme in order to pull your home together.

This may sound unreasonable or unnecessary if you have tons of unrelated pictures that you love and want displayed – but trust me on this one!

Instead, here are some ideas for how to incorporate unrelated pictures without just getting rid of them:
  • Sort the pictures you have into categories, and then consider having a different “theme” in each room. For example, my favorite theme is minimalist coastal décor, but I also love travel! But instead of mixing the two themes in our last apartment, I set up our main living spaces with my coastal theme and set up a travel-themed guest room. 
  • If you’d rather have one continuous theme throughout your entire living space, no problem – hold on to the pictures you have that don’t match your theme and gather more until you have enough to replace your current theme. 
  • If you don’t have enough of a particular category to make a whole room, wait to display them until you have enough to decorate a room, or your whole living space!

Rule #2: Pick pictures that display at least one of your theme colors.

It’s important every picture you display contains at least one theme color, otherwise your décor will feel disjointed and mismatched even if the images themselves are connected to your theme. Also, be sure the additional colors in the picture are complimentary, not antagonistic, to your theme colors. This may sound extreme, but lack of attention to the “detail colors” will make your house feel messy and can discourage you from allowing it to be your dream space. 

Rule #3: Don’t clutter your walls.

Easy to say, hard to practice. I find so many pictures that I love and want to display! But less is more when it comes to home décor – even if you’re not a minimalist. Overcrowding your walls diverts attention between individual pictures, causing viewers to be torn and overwhelmed with finding what to focus on. Two to three pictures maximum should be on each wall, and depending on the size and shape of the picture and the wall itself, one is often more than enough. 

Rule #4: Don’t be afraid to bargain shop. 

I’ve gotten most of my favorite, high-quality home décor pictures from Marshall’s, Ross, Walmart and  Target! When it comes to bargain-hunting, Marshall’s and Walmart are actually my favorite. I love Target, of course, but their pictures tend to be pricy, (usually better for splurging than bargain hunting), and Ross can overwhelm me with their unorganized inventory. (Though it has been worth it to suck it up and dig through the piles – there’s often gold in them hills!) 

However, the key to bargain shopping – DON’T sacrifice the quality of a picture for a slogan/image you like! Cheap-looking pictures make for a cheap-looking home. Instead, take a picture and search for what you found elsewhere, or consider how you could make it yourself!

Rule #5: Arrange and rearrange. 

Nothing is set in stone here, even if you accidentally drill a foot-long hole into the wall when attempting to hang up your pictures! (If that happens, just move – it’s just easier). Play with the placement of your pictures until you find what you like, and then play with it some more! It’s good to continue exploring patterns and arrangements you like even after you make your decision – plus, it gives you FREE options in case you want to change things up in a few months!

Stay restless, Creatives!
∼ Christine