Think outside the box — the photo frame or the bulletin board, that is — in bringing personal photos into the workspace.
"People are kind of looking for style everywhere now," says Samantha Thorpe, senior home design editor for Better Homes and Gardens magazine. "They want to make their (work) place look more personal and pretty."
Ideas include applying images to surprising surfaces — a porcelain vase, a lampshade or inside a clear glass jar. Today’s digital photography makes it possible.
"A lot of us spend so much time in our offices. We should try to incorporate the people we love into our spaces," says Rachael Liska, senior editor at Fresh Home magazine.
The key is to decorate a workspace for attractiveness without distractions.
"It’s kind of this whole de-cluttering feeling," Thorpe says. "De-clutter your photos and de-clutter your work space. It makes your space feel more organized, and this may help you out."
Better Homes and Gardens’ photo-displaying ideas for the home often can translate to the office. Thorpe suggests painting or decoupaging a simple desk organizer, adding a few sentimental words, such as "Worth a thousand words," with stencils or scrapbook letters, and grouping matted photos on top of that.
If the photo mattes are the same color, it lends consistency — thus elegance — to the collection. Displaying only black and white photos helps, too, creating "that classic feel people like," Thorpe says.
Another idea from Thorpe: Ring a small can or jar with colorful paper topped with family images; embellish with scrapbook letters or stickers. And jazz up frames by tweaking what’s inside: Thorpe suggests incorporating scrapbooking skills and ephemera with family members’ faces in perfect circles cut with a large-sized hole punch. Alternate family images with punched-out circles of scrapbook paper and embellishments in a grid format for a 3-D effect.
"It works because it’s still really simple," Thorpe says. "Doing a grid like this one you give yourself a good structure. It’s like a recipe."
Saving the easiest Thorpe tip for last: She suggests tucking computer-printed photos — again, preferably in black and white — inside clear glass jars that then can be used for pencils and other office supplies. The photos can be switched out at any time.
From a recent issue of Fresh Home, Liska shares several home-to-office photo-keepsake ideas:
Print a simple black-and-white image onto a clear or white self-adhesive label, available at office-supply stores, and attach it to a smooth surface, such as a ceramic vase.
Or print a family photo onto photo-transfer fabric and wrap it around an existing lampshade; attach with decorative brads, or spray with fabric adhesive or liquid fabric glue.
Another use for a larger image printed onto photo-transfer fabric: Stretch it across a stretcher frame or a pre-existing canvas frame and staple into place for that "I’m a canvas painting" look.
For the traditionalist who wants to showcase framed images, here’s something new: Kodak has created a "metallic" paper for printing digital images, which adds brightness and sharpness to photos.
Jeff Lawson, store manager of Wolf Camera at Colorado Mills in Lakewood, Colo., says the metallic printing process works best for pictures that have high color contrasts, so black-and-white images are ideal. And outdoor scenes work best.
"It really does make the image pop. In a way, it reflects light just like metal would," says Lawson, noting there’s no metal incorporated into the prints.
"The only thing I’ve seen it doesn’t work with are those inside-with-a-flash photos of grandkids sitting on the floor," says Lawson.
Sharing family photos in the workplace in an attractive, organized manner helps co-workers become and remain connected.
"It gives people something to talk about," says Thorpe. "We all have family. We can all connect on that level."