Photo collection elevated to art

Throughout Duane Kalinowski’s house, there are lots of special photos of family and friends. There are also framed collections of two of his favorite things: golf and the Dave Matthews Band.

When Kalinowski attends the band’s concerts, he buys a collectible poster. On golf trips to Scotland or to the Masters in Augusta, the Sandy Springs resident picks up prints of the famed courses or has photos taken with golf buddies.

“Artwork is very personal,” said Kalinowski. “My artwork includes people, places and experiences that are special to me.”

For help in choosing the right mats and frames for his posters, prints and family photos – and advice on where to hang them, Kalinowski seeks professional help.

Over the years, Kalinowski’s go-to interior designer has been Susan Miles, owner of Allegro Interiors. For Kalinowski’s more than 30 signed band posters, Miles chose white (or cream) on white mats in black frames. She selected brown mahogany frames with a grass cloth top mat and a deep green inner mat for some golf prints in his study.

“It’s important to pull a few colors from the photos to use as your mat colors,” said Miles.

Don’t let your treasured photos languish in a photo album, box or on your hard drive. Use them on walls or art shelves to decorate your home year-round.

Digital photo technology makes it easy to transform your one-of-a-kind photos into everything from coffee-table books to colorful Warhol-like portraits. Here some other ways to turn your picture-perfect photos into art.

Colorful canvas

Elevate your digital photos to art gallery status by printing them on canvas. The gallery wrapped edges allow you to hang the canvas prints without a frame. At, upload your digital image and choose one of more than 30 different styles that range from oil painting to pop art. The good news is you can try out as many art styles as you like before ordering. If you don't want your photos gallery wrapped, you have other choices. Prices start at $14.95, but prices for a three-section split frame begin at $199.95. Check

Stick-on frames

No need for hooks and hammers when you have these whimsical stick-on frames. Simply peel off the backing on the frames, attach your photos and stick on any smooth, non-textured surface. Frames can be removed without damage to walls. A set includes: one 4-inch by 4-inch frame, four 4-inch by 6-inch frames, two 5-inch by 7-inch frames and one 8-inch by 10-inch frame. Choose black or pink. Available for $24.95 at

Desktop gallery

The stylish Desktop FotoFalls stand by Umbra is a clever way to display your favorite photos. Made from steel with a satin nickel finish, the stand has 18 metal clips. The 17-inch-high stand is also a handy way to display holiday or birthday cards. Available for $24.99 at both Atlanta locations of The Container Store.


Create a collage of photos in your dorm room or office with the hanging Picture Window. The clear, plastic sleeves have space for 28 of your favorite 4-inch by 6-inch photos. Rivets are included for hanging. Available for $15 (or 2 for $25) at

On the curve

With their modern design, the espresso-stained frames throw a curve at traditional photo display. Photos slide easily in or out of three 4-inch-by-6-inch openings behind the glass. Hang vertically. A set of three frames is $59.95 (or 21.95 each) at Crate & Barrel stores.

Life size

Catch a favorite moment and stick in on your wall. The new, life-size photo decals from add some fun to kids' rooms and play areas. The playful peel-and stick-photo decals are easy to apply and remove, so you can reposition them on a flat smooth surface wherever you want. Available in three sizes: 36″ X 27″, 48″ X 36″ and 60″ X 45″ Prices range from $59.95 to $99.99. Check

Tips for hanging art and photos

- Large paintings should not be larger than a piece of furniture underneath them, and small paintings or prints should not be hung in isolation on a large wall.

- Never make your top (outer) mat the same width as the frame. Vary the sizes. Do you have small prints or photographs that look boring? Use wide top mats to increase size and add interest.

- Don't hang art too close together or too far apart (2 inches to 4 inches apart is a good guideline) -- or too high or too low. Respect the time-honored rule to hang artwork at eye level

- Don't be afraid of a blank wall. That in itself can be artistic. Don't feel obligated to hang art on every wall. It will make the room appear too busy or too cluttered.

- A hodgepodge of art that you've collected over time can be effectively integrated and become “museum-worthy” by mixing materials and colors, and combining them with mirrors, tapestries, decorative brackets, plates, and flea market pieces. The frames and mats don't have to match.

- When planning a collection of pictures over a sofa, first arrange frames on the floor and trace them on craft paper. Cut-out the shapes and then arrange them on the wall with painter's tape. If you have eight to 10 pieces to hang, keep your spacing from 2-4 inches apart. Group small and large similar pieces together for a greater impact.

- When hanging art on a staircase, follow the simple rule to hang the art along the same angle as the stairs. If you have larger or heavier frames, they will look best near the top and bottom of the arrangement with medium to small pieces grouped in between.

Source: Susan Miles, interior designer and owner of Allegro Interiors in Dunwoody.