decorating with photos : a custom cork board

Happy Monday, Lovelies!

We hope this happy/crazy monday finds you well! We spent this weekend working on a super fun project that we can’t wait to share with you, and in the meantime, I thought I’d share a topic that is near and dear to our hearts.

A must-have in every home… Kind of like bangs can make your eyes pop and hide those forehead wrinkles (uh, I mean I don’t have those) photos just add instant warmth and personality to your home in any room.

It’s easy, affordable art unique to only you. Photography in your home.

From our friends’ home, to just about anything you find in ours… It’s one of my very favorite things.


If you have littles, what better way to adorn your walls than with them – your best ever, ultimate home made projects? ;} I gotta say, my three are kind of my ultimate faves.

I know you guys have seen our home, like, a bazillionquarduple times now, but I thought I’d highlight some of the ways we’ve found to work our favorite faces into the decor of our home.

entrywayWe make our frames. Anything you see on our wall, we’ve done to try to bring that super personal aspect in. I guess you could say it all started because I was tired of seeing frames with painfully high price tags everywhere and that mass produced look. I also wanted certain colors and sizes for a specific space… so we decided to take matters into our own hands, and create some frames for our home.

It added such instant fun, there was no turning back.


Walking into our home, you’re bombarded with photos. I’m all, check out my kids! Aren’t they lovely?! Say they’re beautiful! (Cue scary over the top mom face with questionable issues.)


In our dining room, We designed this large and in charge frame to switch out our photos. It holds them easily, and keeps things simple when we’re ready to update. I even use shelving as an opportunity to showcase my favorite faces.


Just about anywhere you look in our home, you’ll see photos of our kiddos. Whether a trio of subtly bold on display in the playroom


verandaOr simple and scaled back with a unifying black and white look on our (former) veranda...  (see current teepee status) It’s amazing how quickly a little thought into what goes on your walls can tell a story about those who live there. I think that’s my very favorite part about creating a space.

Our living room was once a little dull, with much to be desired in the wow department. I found myself shopping my house to find a lot of frames that had similar shapes (dated + plain Jane) and gave them punches of color to use them in groupings.

We took this particular problem area with the TV into fun mode by decking it out with some of our favorite photos. We unified all kinds of different frames by simply adding stripes in similar colors to the mattes, and edges. A little bit of paint and planning can give you an instant gallery with your own custom artwork.


You guys have totally seen the our polarinstagram frame. I was in love with all of our Instagram photos, and they were such a tragedy floating around in cyber space. Some of my favorite photos of our family are those sweet, candid moments captured with my phone. I’m actually not a camera snob (surprise!) though I adore my canon, a moment is a moment, and I love framing whatever I can get my hands on.

polaroid_frameIt was a great alternative to having it in pixelated form forever. From spaghetti covered hands to lego men, merry go rounds and spilled fruit loops, all of the little photos brought a real punch to our space with depth and warmth and fun color. They’re those real life moments. An action packed, ever changing piece of art that our children and guests alike, love. My favorite part: We catch our kids on a regular basis standing on the couch to get a better view of themselves. They love reminiscing those moments, as well.


One of my favorite areas in our home is this project in the kitchen. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never shared a little how-to with you guys. It’s simple and doable for just about anyone, especially if you’re new to trying your hand at a little DIY.


This was one of our first projects we ever took on for the kitchen, and that was nearly six years ago. It was so easy and I’m still in love because it’s timeless, classic and simple to maintain. As you can see, we never really grew tired of it.

It’s a basic cork board we use to display photos with fabric covered thumbtacks.

We took some cork that we found online (Amcork has an amazing selection of natural tiles of cork with beautiful patterns) and after measuring, ordered enough tiles to cover this area. Be sure you speak to their representatives about the depth of your cork – you will probably need backing, too. This will ensure that your cork board will hold any tacks you use to display your photos.

See what a beautiful, natural pattern it has? I love cork and love to see it used in great ways with spaces and interiors.


Using their adhesive, we measured to make sure it was level, then mounted the first layer of plain underlying cork (see photo below). Once it was dry, we added the cork tiles to the first layer of cork with another thin layer of adhesive. We even went back in a few areas later with tiny nails to secure little corners that occasionally wanted to flip up.


Our cork board was ready to use, but it still needed a little extra umph.

trim Taking some trim (the super light, pre-primed foam-filled stuff in the trim section of your local hardware store – did you enjoy my super accurate description?) we measured, and then cut the pieces to fit.

We gave them a nice coat of paint (Chantilly Lace as my trusty go-to white – yes, I am an addict) and (wait for it…) hot glued the separate pieces to the wall around that fab cork.


When the glue was dry and the frame was situated, we went back with (cheater’s alert!) some wood filler.

And when that was dry, a small amount of camouflaging paint in the tell-tale cracks. A few of the corners weren’t perfect, but not once has anyone ever asked why our cork board was a little lacking in the utter perfection department.

They’re too busy chasing crazy kids around like us.

And for me, it’s the little imperfections that keep it real and make it fun.


It was that easy.

Tada! Instant character, and a great way to quickly change out your photos as your little ones grow. They can be hard to keep up with, after all. Though I can’t seem to find it in me to take down the old ones, either… I guess I’m a not-so-closeted photo hoarder. ;}

This is a project I highly recommend for simple switcharoos in your home!


Decorating with photos – it’s kind of my obsession. And sometimes I wish I had more walls. ;}

How do you use photos around your home? Do you find that they instantly warm a space, and add character to each room? We’d love to see!

PSSST! PS – Be sure to check our our ebook, Handmade Walls (insert shameless plug here) for detailed how-to’s on a few of the projects above!

Have an inspired day, everyone!

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Responses to decorating with photos : a custom cork board

  1. Anna says:

    Love love love! I don’t think I’ve ever spied a home with such a diverse way of displaying all their photos. You guys really know how to keep it fresh. I’m officially off to check out that book. :)

  2. Jenna says:

    I am super excited about that cork source. I am going to need to browse their selection today when I get a chance. Such a simple project with a really big impact for your kitchen space.

  3. Lesley T says:

    Thanks for the inspiration! This is something any of us can do, especially renters! Love love love seeing photos of your cheerful home! Just curious, what happened to the fireplace in the before an after of your family room? Is it still behind the tv and console?

  4. Lauren L. says:

    The real question is; where do you print your pictures, in such great sizes and shapes with borders!?

    • Hey girl! I actually really like Costco for their fast printing and border options. Some people are print snobs… and I get it… but I just really use them for around our home. Also, MPIX pro (you have to have a website to sign up) is fantastic for high quality prints. Hope that helps! ;} You can go to and sign up for an account. MPIX is also just a great option. Hope that helps! ;}

      • Lauren L. says:

        It does, thank you! I do sometimes use our local printer for the borders but your sizes intrigued me. I have heard another blogger suggest MPIX so I do believe you have convinced me to try them out. Much obliged!

  5. i could just keep scrolling and scrolling through these gorg photos…gosh love your home and LOVE all the pictures of the kiddos…if you have a home one should be surrounded by pictures of the ones you llove.

  6. Ahh you are totally inspiring me to personalize our house with more pictures! We don’t have enough of those photos that capture special moments. So many good ideas to choose from!

  7. Gina says:

    Do you have any mantle makeovers? Mine has been sad since Christmas decor came down. Unfortunately, I do need a mantle makeover that incoporates a large flat screen as part of the design. I’ve looked on pinterest, but haven’t had much luck there. :-/

  8. i absolutely ADORE showcasing photos in our home decor as well. one thing i find i’m always questioning is how long to leave photos up.

    have you thought about this at all? i’d love to know your thought process!

    for example, my boys are currently 4 and 7 – it’s a guarantee that i’m going to capture loads more memories through photos….i don’t want my home to be a wall to wall gallery, but it’s hard to know which ones to leave up and where to set aside room for new memories and milestones to be showcased as well, you know?


    • Hey Heidi!

      I actually have this problem. I’m probably about a year overdue, but I hate to replace them. ;} Honestly, I tend to leave photos until I feel like it’s time. With your question, I’m getting a little motivated. On a whim, I guess. ;} There are definitely no rules, but I don’t want all itty bitty photos with zero fresh, either! We have so many places in our home that display photos, that it would be easy to switch them out as we go through each room. My thoughts on this are absolutely no help, because I don’t like to part with them either. ;}

  9. Emily says:

    your living room walls in the before shot are the same color as my walls now. If we didn’t rent….my dream is to paint them and your after shot is totally adding fuel to that fire 😉

  10. I love decorating with photos too. Photos of our families and children are the best way to make a house a home! Love it!

  11. Suzanne says:

    I’m surprised it hasn’t been asked yet..Are your push pins diy too? If not, where did you get them?

  12. Cindy says:

    I am sort of new to your website, so have you already posted about how you made your own frames? If not, don’t you think it should become a series?

  13. Ksenia says:

    You have a beautiful home! I wish I could hire you to decorate mine. Love your style!

  14. Krista says:

    I LOVE all your photographs and the fabulous frames you’ve made make them even more amazing! I think I need to get you’re Ebook so I can craft some of those babies up myself (the frames, not your kids – I have two of my own:)… Thanks for sharing your beautiful home and fabulous unique style with the world- I love it!!

  15. I’m so glad you hotglue things to your walls. I do that too!

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  17. Lisa says:

    I adore all the beautiful pictures of your children displayed all over your home!! I have been in the process of doing the same. Where do you get your pictures printed, or do you print them yourself? My photo printer is horrible and I go through ink like crazy!! Love your home!!