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Q. I'm struggling with how to arrange photo frames on a mantle and bookshelf. Should I group by "theme" (pictured of our kids, pictures of our parents/family)?

Also, can the frames be of different colors and materials? Can photos be placed on bookshelves with other large items (like a vase)?

A. What you have discovered is that pictures setting on a mantel are a real challenge to make pleasing to your eye. It is like mixing oil and water.

The first problem is the pictures are awkward in that type of space. Then adding so many style s and sizes only creates confusion for the observer.

Since collections can become large, I suggest using multiple pictures in a single frame which allows you to tell a story.

If you like craft projects display the pictures on a solid surface and then create a frame. Craft stores will have ideas and materials to help you.

The best places to display family pictures are in hallways or stairways where you can enjoy them from a short distance.

Since pictures are usually very different, using similar frames helps to unify the overall appearance and direct the focus to the subject. My advice is skipping the mantel for pictures.

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Reita Bayman

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