Decor – Adding Personality to a Home

Many years ago I envisioned my home as a place filled with family photographs, travel mementos, a collection of interesting books and other various decorative items that would bring a smile to my face … and that is exactly how I would describe the home that I live in today with my family.

My approach to adding personality to a room is displaying interesting pieces and decorative items throughout a home that have special meaning to our family so that when guests visit these items will tell a story of our life or convey our personal interests and this can be a wonderful starting point for conversations.  Decorating a home with family photos and memorabilia are wonderful ways to remember the people and important events that hold special memories in our lives and they are an important way to surround ourselves with family love and heritage.  Displaying decorative items gathered throughout the years, such as travel souvenirs or themed collectibles also convey our interests and hobbies.  So, let me get started with some ideas and suggestions for adding personality to your home!

Family photos

Decorating with family photos is a perfect opportunity to add our family’s character and personality into a room.  Every year, just before my children’s birthday, I always schedule an appointment at the portrait studio at our local department store.  These formal portraits are displayed throughout our house; some are in the bookshelf in our family room, the upstairs hallway and in our daughter’s bedroom.  It is a wonderful way to show how our children have grown and changed over the years!

In a bookshelf to the left of our family room fireplace are a collection of family photos.  As mention, some of the photos are our children’s formal portraits but others include old family photos such as childhood photos of me and my husband and also my parent’s wedding portrait.  Other family photos are more informal and were taken at family events over the years.  I love the fact that when guests come to visit they are able to see in one place in our home photos of all of our family members taken at various times in our lives.

Displayed in another room of our house, in our master bedroom are formal wedding portraits of my husband and I and these are displayed on the dresser along with childhood photos of the both of us.  I really like the idea of displaying the childhood photos and our wedding photos together because there is such a lovely contrast of the past and it is fun to see how we looked when we were younger!

As you can see, I like to surround ourselves with photos taken over the years but not all of them need to be formal portraits.  Examples of this are the informal photos taken on family vacations and trips that are displayed in the bookshelves of our home library.  Our family loves to travel to places such as national parks or historic sites but we also enjoy getting out into nature by hiking or fishing. Looking at these photos always brings back wonderful memories of fun times and interesting places spent together as a family.

For more information about displaying family photos, please check out the following post, Not Your Normal Wall Art!

Family memorabilia

Over the years I have collected several items that can be classified as family memorabilia.  The idea for displaying these pieces throughout our home is to remember special events or important times in our lives.  Here are a few examples:

Displayed in the upstairs hallway of our home is a large wedding portrait with the date of our marriage inscribed on a small gold plaque and on the mat surrounding the portrait are the signatures of our wedding guests.  To the left of this piece is another series of four photos taken on our wedding day with our families.  These two sentimental pieces commemorate that special day at the start of our lives together as husband and wife.

Two more family memorabilia pieces displayed in our home are hung on the wall above the bed in my daughter’s room.  The two framed pieces commemorate her baptism and her first birthday, two important events in her childhood.  Using an uncut mat board and some special scrapbook paper that was signed by the guests that were in attendance at those two events and then later framed in matching golden frames I created these two pieces that will hopefully be something my daughter will treasure forever as a unique childhood heirloom.

Sometimes other important influences in our lives are the places we have lived.  In the dining room of our home I have displayed two framed pieces of sheet music.  The first one is “My Kind of Town” as sung by Frank Sinatra which is often referred to as the “Chicago” song.  Chicago is a special place in my family history because my mother was born there and my parents met, married and lived there before moving to California.  The other framed sheet music is of the song “San Fernando Valley” as sung by Bing Crosby.  This is another important place to me because that is where I was born and raised and I have very fond memories of living there as a child.

For more information about displaying family memorabilia commemorating special events, please check out the following post, Not Your Normal Wall Art!

Travel Souvenirs

Our family enjoys traveling across the United States and we also have traveled to different parts of Europe to see family and friends and my husband has visited parts of Asia while he was getting his master’s degree.  All of these travel experiences have provided us with interesting opportunities to learn about our country and the world and we have thoroughly enjoyed our time together as a family visiting these places.

During these travels we have collected various items and these are displayed in the library of our home.  The bookcases are filled with interesting souvenirs, such as a weapon made from sharks teeth purchased at the Polynesian Culture Center in Hawaii, Polish dolls and a city certificate commemorating our visit to Krakow in Poland, a piece of the Berlin Wall and framed Edelweiss from a trip to Germany, two jade lions displayed with a photo from my husband’s visit to Asia and a photo of our family taken at the Kennedy Space Center displayed with a model of the Space Shuttle.  All these unusual items are displayed as reminders of wonderful trip that we have taken over the years and are also great way to start interesting conversations with guests visiting our home.

The other parts of the bookshelves are also filled with rocks, minerals and fossils that my husband has collected over the years.  This interesting hobby is highlighted in a post that he wrote recently called “The Rock Guy”.  Please click on the link to check out how he started his collection and information about the different items.

On the opposite wall in the library is another bookshelf filled with beach memorabilia that I have collected throughout the years.  Living in California our family has spent many wonderful hours at the beach walking along the shore, playing in the sand and watching the waves and some very beautiful sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.  We have collected many seashells from the beaches of Southern California and on our visits to the east coast in North Carolina and Florida.  These seashells are also displayed with family photos from those trips and decorative pieces that tell the story of our love for the beach and the oceans.

For more information and suggestions on how to display these items, please check out the following posts:  Displaying Travel Souvenirs and Beach Memorabilia

Themed Collectibles

Over the years I have collected several themed items that are displayed throughout our home and reflect my interests and hobbies.  I have several different series of collectible plates that displayed in various rooms, such as Danbury Mint National Park plates that hang above the bookshelves in our library and within the bookshelves are several plates displayed on easels, two collectible nature plates of ducks and wolves and a Native American decorative plate we bought during our southwest travels.  These collectible plates are another reminder of our family travels and our love and respect for nature and animals.  For more information about the other collectible plates displayed in our home, please check out the post Decorating with Plates.

Living in California our family has been going to Disneyland since it opened in 1955 and we have spent many wonderful times together as a family enjoying the “happiest place on earth”.  Over the years I have started a collection of Disney memorabilia including Disneyland items, Mickey Mouse, Pinocchio and Disney princess figurines and these items are displayed in a trio of glass door bookshelves in the basement of our home and reflect our family’s love for all things Disney!  For more information, please check out Disney Memorabilia Collection.

Another special collection displayed in our home is my Boyd’s Bear figurines and stuffed animals.  In the library of our home is an oak bookcase which displays some of my favorite Boyd’s Bear figurines, some of these items are changed seasonally.  Additional holiday Boyd’s Bear items are displayed in other rooms of our home.  My collection of the whimsical Boyd’s Bears items never fails to put a smile on my face and brings joy to my heart!  For more information, please check out the following posts: Displaying a Boyd’s Bear Collection Part One and Part Two.

In conclusion, decorating a home with family photographs, travel mementos, a collection of interesting books and other various decorative items is a wonderful way to reflect a family’s interests and hobbies.  For additional examples about adding decorative pieces that will add personality to a room, please check out the following Décor posts, Framing Small Items and Home Office.  In addition, please check out the Craft Section of this blog for some wonderful projects, such as Embellished Photo Frames.

Decor – Beach Memorabilia Display

Beach bookshelf - finished

There is a bookcase that was moved recently from our basement into our library and it is the place in our home that most of our beach memorabilia is displayed.  We love going to the beach, whether it is on the west coast, east coast and even Hawaii and Mexico.  We’ve collected seashells, sea glass and pieces of driftwood when we were living in California and most recently on our annual trip to North Carolina.  When I am shopping I always look for beach themed picture frames or small decorative pieces. Decorators advise that when you have a collection of items it is best to display them together for the most visual impact.  That is exactly what I did with the beach memorabilia that we have collected over the years.

To start the process of moving the bookcase from the basement to the library, I took a photo of the existing beach bookcase so I could reference the placement of the items.  Next, I cleared the bookcase and carefully boxed all the fragile seashells and picture frames.  Once it was emptied, the bookcase was finally ready to move upstairs.

Now, that the bookcase was in its new place in our library it was time to return the beach memorabilia back to the shelves.  Before doing that, I made sure the shelves were cleaned and ready to go.  To add some visual interest, on the top shelf of the bookcase I hung some fishing netting and attached some starfish.

Beach book shelf netting

I had purchased a large resin seashell “bowl” several years ago from a local retail store and I wanted to position this large piece in the center of the third shelf of the bookcase.  To add more interest I put some pieces of artificial red coral behind the bowl and then I filled the container with small seashells.

Beach book shelf resin shell container

Next, I positioned all the picture frames because I considered them the main focus of each shelf and, generally speaking, these are the items that draw the eyes’ attention.  On the top shelf are three picture frames, two of them are special craft projects.  The first one is a wooden photo frame that resembles driftwood and I glued several seashells that we collected on the beach in North Carolina.  Inside the frame is a photo of our daughter at the lifeguard station at the same beach.  The second one is another wooden frame and I glued seashells at the four corners.  Inside the frame I created a heart shape using several fragments of seashells collected from the same trip.  This is one of my favorite pieces of our beach memorabilia collection.

Beach bookshelf - frames

Beach bookshelf 3Beach bookshelf 2

More beach photos are displayed on the other two shelves.  On the next shelf are two great photos taken almost 20 years apart.  One photo is of my son and I on the beach at Carmel, CA and the other one is of my husband and daughter at the same beach.  I thought it was a great way to remember this very special beach that we loved to visit.  On the next shelf is a fun photo frame that revolves to show two different photos of our daughter at the beach in Santa Barbara, CA and you can see the joy that she had playing on the sand and surf.

Beach bookshelf 4

Beach book shelf rotating frame 1    Beach book shelf rotating frame 2

Once I was pleased with the placement of the picture frames, I added the largest seashells from the collection to the shelves.  To create some interest to a couple of the seashells, I bought unfinished wooden pieces and used the single height for two of them and doubled the height for the other two simply by hot gluing two pieces together.  All four seashells are hot glued into place at the top so they are secure on the wooden pieces.  The other large seashells were placed directly on the shelves.  To finish the beach memorabilia bookcase display I placed other beach accessories on the shelves, I included a piece of driftwood, a small sand sculpture of a mermaid, a resin seahorse and even a Boyds Bear figurine called “Wilson at the Beach”.  (Post Note: the photo of the finished Beach Memorabilia Bookshelf is shown at the top of the page)

Beach Bookshelf - shells    Beach book shelf shells on pedestals