How to Display Your Favorite Artwork and Photos — Without Hanging Anything on Your Walls

published Oct 12, 2022
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Credit: Carina Romano

One of the best things about living in your own place is being able to collect and display all of the art and photos that resonate with you. Whether you want to create a gallery wall or invest in a large statement piece of art, you have to find the perfect place to put pieces. If you’re living in a small space though, well, walls can be hard to come by. What if I told you there’s any easy solution for finding room for your artwork, and every home has it?

Crystal Wyatt lives in a 190-square-foot studio apartment in Philadelphia that’s bursting with personality. While some people feel creatively stifled by limited square footage, Wyatt sees her home as a fun decorating challenge. “I needed to do some healing work — for myself and my community — but I needed a new space to do it in,” she says in her house tour. “And I knew I wanted to go tiny.”

Wyatt considers her design style to be Afro-hemian, with tons of texture, patterns, and vintage inspiration. “My home is inspired by a photograph of my mother from the ’70s,” she says. “My mother was an Afro-chic woman and a seamstress by trade that made 90 percent of our clothing growing up. In the portrait, she is wearing an orange-patterned head wrap and because of that, the subtle base color in my home is orange.” In addition to the color orange, another recurring theme in Wyatt’s home is highly personal collections of art and photography. One specific installation struck me as brilliant: On the inside of the main door of her studio, Wyatt painted the top third of the door a burnt shade of orange and hung a few photos on it to create a triptych that’s a total conversation starter.

Credit: Carina Romano

While most people think to hang art and photos on walls — or, if frames are small enough, prop them up on tabletops — Wyatt’s choice to display these snapshots on her door is creative and a great use of vertical real estate. When you’re working with less than 200 square feet, you can run out of walls fast, so maximizing the space on a door that would have otherwise remained blank is really smart. If you look closely at the images, you’ll see that they’re actually self-portraits of Wyatt herself, which is also a bold and unique design statement. The upshot here? Doors are for decorating, with paint, photos, and in the case of Wyatt, even a semi-circular shelf that holds a candle and some crystals.

“My best decorating advice is to fill your space with items that speak to you,” Wyatt says. “Don’t be afraid to put images of yourself up on the walls.”

This piece is part of Art Month, where we’re sharing how to find, buy, and display art in your home, and so much more. Head on over here to see it all!