This Unexpected Spot in Your Home Is Actually Perfect for Displaying Photos

published Jul 13, 2023
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Living/kids classroom area in home. Lots of kids toys, learning materials, fun and inspirational art, muted yellow and green painted walls, a kids' play kitchen, shelves for kids' things, kids' tables with stools, shelves of books, large pale gray sectional with bright throw pillows

Displaying photos of family and friends is a classic way to personalize your home. You can go the traditional route and put anything from a professionally printed photo to a casual instant snapshot into a frame. You can use magnets to tack up a photo booth strip to a fridge, or tuck a few images into the sides of a mirror. One renter in Portland, though, found a brilliant way to display photos, and I had to share it — just in case you go on a photo-shooting spree this summer and have run out of frames (or ideas) for hanging your favorites.

Jenny Subil is renting a 1045-square-foot house in Portland, Oregon, with her husband Chris Brodell. “From decorating tiny corners and small rooms when I lived with roommates, to filling our first one-bedroom apartment here in Portland with plants, I have gone through many design phases,” Subil says. Her most recent design challenge entailed transforming her current home into a home-based preschool called Lilyposa Schoolhouse.

Before carving out a preschool in their home, Subil and Brodell’s design style leaned more towards a pure mid-century-modern look. Those clean lines and bold colors still shine through in the house, but now, taken as a whole, the rooms also have a palpable child-like neotenic energy that Subil loves. 

Another element that also pops up around Subil and Brodell’s home is photos and artwork, and the couple has found such unique ways to display them. Case in point: The couple mounted a line of string and hung polaroids from one of the largest windows in their home preschool area with mini clothespins.

If you feel like you’re running out of wall space or tabletop surface for your photos, try this trick (even if your home doesn’t double as a sweet schoolhouse). For starters, most places — even the smallest apartments — have at least a window or two, and chances are, the trim is going unused. Why not seize the fairly large, flat, linear spot across your window opening for photos?

All you really have to do is mount a piece of string or cable across your casement and then add some clips to it for pinning up your Polaroids. Not only is this an inexpensive way to squeeze a few inches of display space out of an area that typically goes under-the-radar for decorating, but it’s also super-easy and reversible for renters — especially if you use Command hooks for your line. The beauty here, too, is that you can rotate photos in and out as you take them, and add in as many as the line will accommodate to suit your aesthetic.

On another window in the main preschool area, Subil hung her students’ art in the exact same way, which makes this idea even more versatile. You could clip up small posters, prints, postcards from your travels — the limitations for this installation really come down to the amount of windows you have and their size. If you’re really strapped for space and work from home, this spot could be great for an unconventional pinboard in your home office area as well. 

One final thing to keep in mind? Unless you’re a real maximalist, you’ll probably want some breathing room in between images on your lines to avoid a cluttered look. But for a few bucks and almost zero effort, this idea lets you utilize forgotten space for a fun, whimsical touch in your home.