It is no surprise to family, friends and current clients of mine to learn I’ve added another piece of drama to my home, through paint. I have always had a family picture wall, and everyone enjoys guessing the ages of the subjects and recognizing similarities between family members; sometimes it takes a generation or more to notice similarities; other times they appear in the next generation.
Originally, I had photos up on the wall in whatever state they came to me: black and white from early childhoods, moving into artist enhanced color over black and white, then early color photos that faded quickly once they were out of albums and exposed to regular daylight. I would add photos to the wall, and returning children would immediately go to the wall and see what was new or changed; this routine was more common as family members were added and got a place on the wall.
Recently, I changed the wall once again, this time the featured wall bears solely black and white photos. More recent photos that were originally colored were scanned into the computer and rendered black and white for a more dramatic look. I still have the originals, so nothing is lost.
The current photo wall has a more cohesive look now. With black and white photos making a comeback, so to speak, as an art form, the space has an updated look with very little effort or expense.
Painting the background wall a soft black, more like the adjacent blackboard painted wall, with its chalk finish, carries the drama around the corner without being jarring to the eye.
The photo wall shows off well as there is a great deal of natural light in the space, but effective lighting can be achieved in a room with less natural light, with careful illumination from table lamps, recessed lighting or new track lighting.
Do not be afraid to try some drama in your rooms. You do not need to cover an entire wall with a dramatic color and the color does not have to be absolute black or deep navy blue or even a near black plum; but it does need to be dramatically dark to achieve the desired drama. Try painting two-thirds of a wall, from the floor up 36 inches; put up a chair rail and paint above for your feature wall. You can also choose a large section of a wall and frame it with molding like a huge picture and put your framed pictures within the area demarcated by the molding.
These ideas are all inexpensive and easily alter should you change your mind down the road. Don’t be afraid to experiment; remember its only paint!