Why do we decorate our homes? Is it to feel comfortable and happy with our family? Is it to keep up with the Joneses? Is it to plug into the newest trends, like going beige?
One interior designer on TikTok is offering some big advice on decorating living spaces that is resonating with some people — and pissing other people off. And it all revolves around how people display family pictures around their house.
Shannyn Weiler, a Utah-based interior decorator, has thoughts about the best way to display pictures and art on your walls. This week, she stitched to a video of another decorator, who suggested never displaying family photos in your living room which… seems a bit harsh. Weiler take a softer approach, but still agrees that too many family photos can ruin a room.
“So family photos can become a problem when they become what I refer to as the shrine,” she begins her video.
And then she explains that she was once part of the problem.
“I got married when I was 21,” she shares. “We were both in school, absolutely broke, we had $50 to buy a couch, so imagine what type of couch that was. We went to go decorate our first apartment and lo and behold, there’s no money for decoration. So we do what most newlyweds do, we use our wedding photos, because we’re so cute and we’re so in love and we just love our wedding day. Everywhere in our apartment was wedding photos… it felt like what I call the shrine.”
She goes on to explain that the shrine decorating issue can happen to anyone.
“It’s very real. This also happens if you have one baby, and you might have baby photos taken and it’s the shrine to the one kid,” she says. “This also happens if you have one grandkid.”
She reiterates that there’s nothing wrong with displaying family pictures. But there are lots of ways to do it wrong. And she gives two big tips for toning down your picture sharing and making your living room look less like an Instagram grid.
“They can’t just be on every wall with one subject,” she advises. “We need to mix it up. There’s needs to be a mirror in the space. We need some Etsy arts prints or something like that. We just need to mix it together to get rid of that shrine feel.”
You could also try art from local artists, I’ll add — or your own art.
“The other trick to making your family prints look better: buy different mats,” she continues. “You can go and get the frame from wherever, but go on Etsy and get some matching mats. It will help it feel a little more cohesive and put together.”
Down in the comments, there were a lot of parents who did not want to hear that no one wants to see 8,000 pictures of their family on every flat surface.
“The house is for us not company,” one of the most popular comments read.
“I’d rather have pics of my kids and our life up than prints of random flowers and art,” another said simply.
“I remember visiting someone’s home and it was so cool to see pics of their kids at different ages, their artwork, etc. it felt like a HOME,” another person commented.
One person shared what she felt about growing up in a home without family photos.
“I grew up in an interior design magazine and HATED that my mom never displayed any photos of my family, she shared. “Felt like she cared more about material things.”
A few others agreed, though.
“YES. Photographs of ourselves in my own house feel so weird to me. Narcissistic kind of,” one person wrote.
“To each their own. I strongly dislike seeing people’s houses filled with family photos, so I will never put any family photos in my home. It’s such an intimate thing imo to display,” another shared.
Weiler responded to her first video with a follow-up, clarifying a few things.
“Yes, I do have kids,” she begins. “Yes, I do hang personal photos. Yes, I hang their artwork. And yes, I do use gallery walls.”
She also asked people to have an open mind to new design ideas, and that’s always a good point. Sometimes you don’t know you like something until you try.
And sometimes you just absolutely want to keep your living shrine to your 2002 wedding day.
The good news is that it’s up to you!