Random Relatives – Get The Look

Instant Ancestors. Faux Family. Unreal Relatives. Call them what you will but it’s a fact that vintage portraits are a popular trend when it comes to decorating a contemporary home.  

Houzz, Country Living, Huffington Post and OneKingsLane  are just a few of the design periodicals that have published articles offering tips on incorporating old family portraits into your décor. Add technology into the mix and it’s become quite easy for you to turn your own family photos into wall-worthy portraits at a fraction of the cost of having one commissioned. The photo departments at the big box stores and national drugstore chains offer the ability to turn a photo into a large canvas print in the blink of an eye. (Little did DaVinci and Rembrandt know what the future would hold when it came to amateurs creating portraits.)

The Vintage Unscripted twist on the idea is that you really don’t need to know the relatives you are incorporating into your décor. If you aren’t lucky enough to have access to old family albums, there are lots of  “instant ancestors” waiting to be adopted. In fact I’d argue that it may be easier to find some new “family” & create their own back story than it is to worry about which great-great family member warrants a spot on your living room wall.


Here are a few of our ideas about the art of creating your own “faux family” gallery:

Random Relatives - Get The Look

  1. AtticandBarnTreasures’ adorable family portrait would be perfect if you are a pet owner. Who knew your dog was descended from Lassie? Now you have proof, right there on your wall.
  2. Setting off your family portraits with an assortment of mix & match frames like this folk art one found by SelectiveSalvage is an interesting way to complement the photos and add variety to your design.
  3. Long before the Karadashians were born, ThirdShiftVintage has the idea that these three women were up to something. Blow them up to a life sized canvas and rest assured that they’ll be the talk of your next dinner party.
  4. There’s a great story to be told about AuntHattiesAttic’s wonderful tintype that dates to the early 1900’s, if only we knew what it was. If you have any military men in your family, I’ll bet they can fill in the blanks for you.
  5. ThirdShift’s portrait cabinet has a lot of interesting tales to tell. For example, I had no idea you were descended from European royalty until I saw this lovely wedding photo on your dining room wall. Very impressive.
  6. Here’s a bit of inspiration for your family member who aspires to be a prima ballerina. RecentHistoryVintage’s vintage print is enough to convince anyone those two left feet are nothing more than figment of her imagination.
  7. GirlPicker’s collection of photo clips is the perfect way to ease into your family gallery wall project. Pick out an assortment of photos you like, hang them up and let your real family members invent their back stories. The winners become canvases for your “Random Relatives” wall.

Real or imagined, a wall of “family” portraits is guaranteed to add warmth to your home and to provide fodder for lots of new family lore…real or imagined.


“A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold.”~~ Ogden Nash


Interested in the back stories on more “instant ancestors” awaiting adoption? Check out ThirdShiftVintage’s blog post “Pictures, Windows and Time”. She tells a great tale. 

Linda / SelectiveSalvage.com

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3 comments

  1. This is hilarious, Linda. As the family historian for my family, I’ve taken great pains to get the facts straight. BUT…what a hoot it would be to make up a story about some unidentified family picture. Maybe we’ll try this at the next family gathering. Thanks for the idea.

  2. A great gathering of instant ancestors! I really love looking at old photos. I believe every photo, every person in the photo, has a story to tell. I especially love when these old photos have names and/or dates written on the backs so we know who they are. And when they don’t, they still deserve a story…

  3. What fun that would be and I would have equal fun making up names for my “new family” and stories of their escapades! It’s probably a good thing there are no photos from the cave man days. LOL!

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