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A Fresh Take on Tabletop Frames

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

It was love at first sight back in 2020 when I came across this image from Isabel Lopez Quesada's book, At Home.

I remember the feeling of nostalgia I had when I browsed at this eclectic cluster of beautifully sourced frames. Each one carefully showcasing a moment, a sweet memory, and faces of loved ones. This particular take on a traditional decorating element felt playful, curated, and effortless. This was the image I couldn't get out of my head, and still refer back to as I continue my collection of picture frames today.

I really could not tell you why incorporating family photos in home design is a faux pas. I’ve never understood it. It almost makes it seem like the preferred way of interior design is impersonal and devoid of life. As a lover of photography and capturing moments, it’s only right that I want to put on display the imagery I love. I have a drawer full of photo prints, and photo albums on their way to bursting at the seams just as my granny did.

I started collecting secondhand (and some store bought) frames that felt special to me. At the time, I wanted to achieve a tabletop collection similar to what Isabel had displayed in her home. I’ve allowed myself to kind of stumble upon new frames over time, in search of

the really special ones. (I just really like it when things feel serendipitous.)

Tips For Displaying Tabletop Frames

  • Use varying sizes, making sure to emphasize miniatures (to draw the eye in), and sprinkle in a few larger ones (for height and interest) Here I have a mix of sizes. The smallest a 2x3 and the largest being an oval shaped 8x10.

  • Use different finishes, materials, textures, shapes. Especially if you plan to keep the same tones. Mix in frames with a pop of color for a playful look.

  • Mix in both color and black and white photos. (Break up the uniformity.)

  • Just as important, mix in photos from different time periods. This is where that nostalgia effect brings it home.

  • Lastly, When displaying, I like to play around with placement, scale, and height until I get to a casual, yet curated look. Sometimes, I even consider how the photos play with one another.

Here I have a photo of my son strategically placed by a photo of my late granny to appear as if he’s looking up at her.

Some of you may not be on board with a cluster of tabletop family photographs collecting inevitable dust. A single 4x4 on a nightstand may be all you can muster. And that’s ok! Just promise me you’ll make it a special one.


I’ve linked some of my favorite unique frames that would look stunning regardless of what your formula for display is.


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