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Decorating with photographs - tips from interior designer Southern Farmhouse Designs

Displaying photographs and artwork is one of the best ways to personalize your space.  But despite how easy HGTV makes it look, decorating your home is not always so straightforward.  Choosing paint colors, fabrics, furniture, artwork, and accessories that reflect your personal style is one thing, but putting them all together to make a cohesive look is another.  Today's post has some helpful hints for decorating your space from local interior decorater Ashley Moore of Southern Farmhouse Designs.  Her designs are so inviting, and I love how she combines old, new, budget-friendly, high-end, colors, and textures into her designs.  

Me:  Tell me a little about how Southern Farmhouse Designs got started.

Ashley:  I've loved design since I was a child, when I used to rearrange the furniture and redecorate my room often.  After we bought and remodeled our home in Tomball, this passion was ignited and with the support of my friends and family, I started Southern Farmhouse Designs.

Me:  What services to you offer your clients?

Ashley:  We are currently specializing in e-design packages to help our clients decorate and style their spaces.  By using a detailed questionnaire and face-time meetings, we put together two cohesive design boards for a single space and send a fun box of fabrics, samples, paint colors, shopping list, and links for purchasing everything.  E-design is great because it's cost effective and allows our clients to transform their home on their own timeline and budget.

Example e-design (photo credit: Southern Farmhouse Designs)

Example e-design (photo credit: Southern Farmhouse Designs)

Me:  What do people struggle with most in decorating their home?

Ashley:  The number one decorating mistake I see is not choosing the proper size and scale – this applies to artwork on the walls, rugs on the floor, furniture pieces, and even accessories.  A large space usually requires larger pieces.  Many people also struggle with choosing and hanging drapes and pulling different pieces together.

Me:  What are some tips for hanging artwork on the wall?

Ashley:  The first thing you should do when hanging pictures on the wall is consider the overall size and shape of your wall.  You can make a statement with one large piece that fills the wall.  Or you can hang a collection of pieces together to make a story.  I have a collection of nine black and white photographs in my family room – the whole wall is tied together by using the same frame and same color palette throughout the photos. 

Black and white gallery wall (photo credit:  Grace Laird Photography )

Black and white gallery wall (photo credit: Grace Laird Photography)

For people who don't like the hassle of lining up a group of pictures in perfect straight lines, an eclectic wall gallery is great for mixing and matching sizes, colors, textures, wood tones, and metals, and you can include other items besides photographs!

eclectic gallery wall (photo credit: Southern Farmhouse Designs)

eclectic gallery wall (photo credit: Southern Farmhouse Designs)

Me:  How about tips for styling a bookshelf with pictures?

Ashley:  On a bookshelf, I prefer to use fill the bookshelf space with a larger photo, or even a smaller photo in a chunkier frame.  By using larger pieces, you let the photographs take center stage rather than getting lost among other small trinkets.  Another thing I like to do is layer my pictures.

styling bookshelves with photographs (photo credit:  Chelsea Davis Photography )

styling bookshelves with photographs (photo credit: Chelsea Davis Photography)

Me: Do you have pets?

Ashley:  Yes, I have a lab named Rebel and an outdoor cat that eats snakes!

Me:  Great!  How can you incorporate dog stuff into decor?

Ashley:  Dogs are like kids, they have a lot of "stuff"!  A decorative basket or bucket is great for collecting dog toys, and dog beds have come a long way in the last 10 years!  It's easy to find a dog bed that coordinates with the colors in your home.  We recently made a built-in dog crate in our mudroom, which fits seamlessly into the desk.

built-in mudroom dog kennel (photo credit: Southern Farmhouse Designs)

built-in mudroom dog kennel (photo credit: Southern Farmhouse Designs)

Me:  Anything else you'd like to add about decorating your home?

Ashley:  No one actually lives in a Pinterest-house!  Don't worry that your kitchen doesn't look like it's out of a magazine – do what you can to make it pretty and comfortable, but remember, homes are made for living!

layered photographs (photo credit:  Grace Laird Photography )

layered photographs (photo credit: Grace Laird Photography)

Thank you Ashley!  I appreciate your insight, and now I have some work to do restyling my bookshelves...

You can find Southern Farmhouse Designs at:




Product Highlight: The Classic Album

Who else loves ice cream?  Have you ever stopped by the ice cream shop for a sweet treat, only to walk up to the counter and you CAN NOT decide which flavor to get?  So you get a scoop of this and a scoop of that?  And then if your significant other is with you, you try to talk him into ordering the other flavors you also want?

Yep, me too.  Luckily for my clients, I don't bring ice cream, but sometimes choosing their favorite images from the session is just as hard.  Enter photo albums - the perfect way to display your favorite images when you can't pick just one!

I offer two styles of photo albums, the Classic Album which features 10 images on beautiful thick press paper, and the Heirloom Album which features all your images on luxurious matte photo paper.  Both include custom designs.

This video shows a recent Classic Album I designed featuring Napoleon, Dolly, and Beans:

If you're ready to create a gorgeous photo album of your pet, let's talk!

The unbound album: a versatile solution for displaying your photographs

Today I'm sharing one of my favorite products, the Unbound Album! 

houston fine art pet photographer album

So what is an Unbound Album?  It's a collection of matted prints in a beautiful folio box.  I offer two sizes: 8x10 and 11x14.

houston fine art pet photographer matted prints
houston fine art pet photographer folio box

The versatility of the Unbound Album make it a popular choice for displaying your photographs.  You can:

  1. Store your prints inside the box and look through the images the same way you would flip through an album.
  2. Display your favorite print on a table or bookshelf using an easel, changing out over time.
  3. Frame your favorite prints and hang them on the wall, changing out over time.
  4. Do a combination of the above!
houston fine art pet photographer picture box

Are you ready to create timeless artwork to display in your own unbound album?  I'd love to meet you and your dog - send me a message and let's get started!

Picking the perfect picture size to hang on the wall

"Yuck, this paint color is horrible!  I can't imagine living in this house." 

How many times have you heard this comment uttered by a hopeful home shopper on an episode of House Hunters?  Many times the couple becomes overwhelmed and passes up a fabulous house because they can't visualize the space repainted in a neutral greige color a la Restoration Hardware catalog.

Sometimes it's hard to imagine what the final product will look like. 

So today let's talk about choosing the appropriate size artwork for your space.  You see, I have software that allows my clients to see what their images will look like on their own walls.  Let's get started.  Here's a beautiful "stock" living room with a traditional fireplace.  Obviously the "stock" homeowner recently moved in and has not unpacked all the dog toys just yet!

empty wall

Let's add a framed print - how about an 8x10?

picture too small for the wall

Hmmm, that 8x10 looks pretty tiny up there!  Let's go bigger.  What about a 30x40 framed print?

picture too big for the wall

Whoa!  That 30x40 portrait swallowed up the entire wall!  Bigger is not always better.  Let's scale it down a bit to a 20x30.

picture appropriately sized for the wall

Ahhh, just right!  The 20x30 size is big enough to enjoy throughout the room yet still appropriately proportioned for the space.  Not to say that a 20x30 is the magic size for all spaces - it really depends on your wall space and other decor.  A smaller print may look better in a cozy reading nook hung above a side table with a lamp.  But for the huge wall behind the family room couch, a larger print (or even a grouping of several prints) may look the best.

If you don't have access to special artwork-sizing software, you can use Kraft paper taped to the wall to help determine the best size.  Kraft paper is especially helpful when designing a gallery wall.

Are you interested in creating custom artwork of your dog to hang in your home?  Let's talk!  This service is complimentary and part of your personalized design and ordering appointment.  No need to pass up a treasure because you can't visualize the final product!