Interior designer says displaying family photos can be “shrine-like”

designer says family photos can become a shrine - family photos on wall

Should your home be decorated for you to enjoy, or to look good when company comes over? That’s the question at the center of a fierce TikTok debate that was kicked off when an interior designer offered her advice for displaying family photos without them looking like a “shrine.”

Shannyn Weiler, a Utah-based designer, stitched her advice with a video from another TikToker who said you should never display family photos; that it would “ruin your living room”. Weiler’s advice is a little softer than that, but she does have some caveats.

“So family photos can become a problem when they become what I refer to as the shrine,” she says. “I got married when I was 21. We were both in school, absolutely broke. We had $50 to buy a couch, so imagine what type of couch that was. We went to go decorate our first apartment and lo and behold, there’s no money for decorations. So we do what most newlyweds do: We use our wedding photos, because we’re so cute and we’re so in love and we just love our wedding day. Everywhere in our apartment was wedding photos… It felt like what I call the shrine.”

She goes on to explain other scenarios where people tend to fall victim to the family photo “shrine” effect.

“It’s very real. This also happens if you have one baby, and you might have baby photos taken and it’s the shrine to the one kid,” she explains. “This also happens if you have one grandkid.”

So how can you display family photos without it looking like a shrine? Weiler has a few tips.

First, mix up your decor so it isn’t just family photos.

“They can’t just be on every wall with one subject,” she says. “We need to mix it up. There needs to be a mirror in the space. We need some Etsy arts prints or something like that. We just need to mix it together to get rid of that shrine feel.”

Her second tip is to get creative with how you frame and display your photos.

“Buy different mats,” she says. “You can go and get the frame from wherever, but go on Etsy and get some matching mats. It will help it feel a little more cohesive and put together.”

In the comments, it’s easy to see that Weiler’s take on this is controversial.

“the house is for us not company,” one commenter wrote.

Another said, “I’d rather have pics of my kids and our life up than prints of random flowers and art


Still another weighed in, “But it’s our home…….like….what is this?”

Do you agree? Will this advice change how you decorate your home?