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Decorating With Family Photos

The 1 Thing That Makes Me Feel at Home 3,000 Miles Away From My Family

Throughout my entire life, my family and I have always been close, both literally and figuratively. Growing up, I was fortunate to have my parents as my main encouragers, my sisters as my best friends, and so on. In fact, most of the members stemming from my family tree lived within a 10-mile radius of my house. So to say these faces were taken by surprise when my husband Derek and I announced we were moving across the country would be an understatement.

Fast forward a bit and here we are today, having spent the last 12 months calling the West Coast home. Has it been hard living 3,000 miles away from that beloved bubble of comfort? Absolutely. Do you want to know the one thing that has made me feel at home, despite the extreme distance? As you probably guessed, it's family photos.

Because neither Derek nor I had ever lived this far away from our hometowns before, we both wanted to incorporate old family snapshots into our apartment's decor. Although we would no longer be physically present with our loved ones in North Carolina, this was a way for us to continue to be there mentally and emotionally.

So before the big move, we each took time to sit with family members, look through old images together, and listen to the stories behind the ink. At the time, this seemed like such a simple thing to do, yet those moments turned out to be much more impactful than I ever could have imagined. I'll never forget seeing the way my grandmother's face lit up as she reminisced about some of her fondest memories with my grandfather, whom she shared 62 years of marriage with. That alone will forever make me smile.

Throughout our photo hunt, Derek and I deliberately sought out images that showed our family members when they we our age, specifically during their newlywed years since that is a chapter we are currently experiencing. Having these captured memories hung throughout our tiny abode — especially in the areas we flock to the most — has been a subtle reminder to always live for the moment. Although I can't quite pinpoint the exact reason, there is just something about seeing the black-and-white images of your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc., at your age that calls to mind how fast time passes.

For instance, there is a picture of my grandparents at their wedding hanging in our kitchen that I will always cherish. There they were, decades ago, about to start their life journey together. While they have both since passed away, it's having this simple snapshot that has helped me remember and, more importantly, honor their past.

See, there is a special honesty about infusing family photos in home decor. By continuously passing the framed mementos of the people that essentially contributed to my very existence, I'm pushed to be more honest with myself and who I am as an individual. Looking at my mom illuminated with youthfulness and glee every time I sit around our table and knowing she is about to turn 55, I am reminded of the preciousness of life, as well as the importance of embracing each new chapter.

Along with feeling as though I'm constantly enveloped in a giant hug with loved ones — despite being thousands of miles away — the other amazing thing I've uncovered about decorating with family photos is that there is no right or wrong way to do so. It's incredibly personal, so by selecting images that resonate with you and instill the most inspiration, you can't go wrong. Pretty liberating, right?

So if you're about to undergo a big move or are currently experiencing even the slightest case of homesickness, I encourage you to turn to family photos. Not only will these treasured keepsakes fill in the gap of distance, but chances are they will also spark your curiosity, which will lead to more conversations and essentially create new memories. And pretty soon you'll realize, no matter where you are, home truly is where the heart is.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Kathryn McLamb
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