Traditionally, frames are hung on the wall. It’s the most prominent place to put them. Considering the effort that goes into a framing project, it only makes sense. You want your art and those photos you cherish so much to be seen by everyone who enters your home.
What do you do when you have more photos you want to show, but not enough wall space to hang them?
That’s where frame layering comes to your rescue.
Think of the design of frame layering similar to that of planting a garden bed. You start with the small dwarf plants to the front. Behind that are the plants that’ll grow a few inches taller. Then behind that, you increase the size again. That’s layering, and the same principles can be applied to photo displays. Your turf is a flat surface, and the wall is the leaning post.
You only need a flat surface with a decent sized depth to accommodate the frames you want to display. It’s a look you would struggle to pull off with a hanging display because the frames will overlap.
Flat spaces for sitting frames on instead of hanging can be anything. Examples include side tables, mantels, bookshelves, display units and the most popular is the shelving system.
A note on shelving systems is that you will need to know the weight the frame can support and that it’s installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines to make sure you’re using the correct anchoring systems to support the weight of the shelf. When you consider the additional weight of multiple frames being placed on it, you’ll definitely want strong anchors and preferably not installed on drywall, but rather secured to the studs to make sure it stays up.
The Advantages of Layered Photo Displays
With photo frames placed on a flat surface, there’s more freedom to change your displays. A layered look doesn’t just mean filling any flat surface with a bunch of random picture frames. That would look cluttered. Instead, you can take advantage of spacing between themed collections. Pair a small and medium frame together with the children, youngest to the front, taller just behind it and slightly overlapped. If you use a wide picture mount, you will be able to overlap the frame without obstructing the view of the photo placed to the back.
The real upside to flat surface display areas over gallery walls is the ability to use different accessories to separate themes. Children could be the centre of the display, to the right, all the family pets, and to the opposite side, the parents. Rather than having one gallery wall that could be difficult to change around, you would be able to change the look of the display just by swapping the accessories.
As an example, the frames could stay the same all year, but the accessories like snow globes at Christmas swapped out in January for crystal paperweights. Small rabbit ornaments could be put into the display around Easter, then summer plants introduced in the summer.
A flat surface with a selection of professionally framed photos can be made to look different a lot easier than changing the colour of an entire room or reframing your feature focal point of the room.
Instead, create just one interchangeable focal point. With frames, you can swap the photos, and with layered displays created with accessories, the entire display area is much easier to change on demand.