How to use old family photos in your decor to create a characterful interior

There's nothing better than an old family photo to bring a sense of history to your home - but what if those ancient snaps are damaged or discoloured? Here are some ideas for repairing them and including those precious memories in your interiors...

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I love the feel of period homes. The classic interiors, period details and antique fireplaces instantly give a property character. But what about when you’re decorating a new-build or renovating a home from scratch? How can you add a sense of history and character?

Well, I think you can achieve it with your choice of furniture but also by adding personal touches that add an insight into your family history. I’m talking about old family photos – not just your school pics and snaps from your parents’ wedding – but those 100-year-old photos of your great-great-grandparents.

The faded, sepia-tone snaps bring with them a vintage vibe that you can’t recreate with a modern image. They’re genuinely historic and are a record from a specific time period so, when framed up in a suitably ornate frame, they add sense of the era to your room.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Plus, photographs of your relatives often carry a nostalgic feeling – especially in images of you as a child, the places you went, your parents and grandparents. But even with photos of family members that you’ve never met (generations before you were born) you can sometimes still spot a family resemblance that gives you a sense of connection with that person.

So, ask around your family and find out if anyone has a stash of old photos that you can incorporate into your decor. But what if the images are too damaged or faded to frame up? Don’t despair – you can easily repair them and create new versions of the photos that will be safe to display in your home.

This often involves creating a digital version of the photo before you can work on it, so be very VERY careful when scanning or photographing the original image. Once you have a digital version of the photo on your computer, you can feel safe in the knowledge that the photo is ‘backed-up’ and the original can be stored safely away.

Then you can go to work on the digital version. If you’ve ever wondered how to restore old photos, there are plenty of guides online to help you do just that. And, even easier, you can find software that does the hard work for you – healing cracks and boosting faded colours in just a few clicks. It’s even possible to add authentic colour to images that were only ever taken in black and white – amazing, eh?

It’s worthwhile getting your newly-repaired family images professionally printed (rather than using your desktop printer at home) if you’re going to display the refreshed digital versions in your home. Because you’ve now got a digital file of the photo, there’s no limit to the material you can have it printed on – even canvas, aluminium or acrylic.

Plus, you can digitally adjust the size if you would prefer a larger or smaller image to suit the space you have available in your room or to fit the size of your vintage frame. Just keep an eye on the resolution if you increase the size too much, as the image might become pixelated or blurry.

It won’t be long before you’re hanging a gallery wall full of your family’s old photos and giving your room a historical feel that’s truly personal to you. Let me know if you give this idea a go and I’d love to see your vintage photo walls so please tag me in your interiors pics @cassiefairy on Instagram.

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This article is a sponsored collaboration. The pink links in the content indicate a sponsored link or information source. The blog post reflects my own experience and the sponsor hasn’t had any control over my content 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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