Let’s not pretend: We will always have and love picture frames. But that doesn’t mean they are always the best option. Photo boards are a nice alternative, offering a decorative look, exceptional ease in changing photos, and the freedom to artfully arrange. Not only handy pieces of home decor, they can serve a purpose for artists and crafters as well: because of the easy maneuverability these boards provide, collage artists can plan out pieces on them, painters and textile artists can compare how swatches of color look together, and multimedia artists can even use them to create finished pieces in the vein of John Hampson’s insect mosaics. If a photo board sounds like a handy tool for your projects, peruse our list of favorites below.
1. Houseables Collage Frame
If you’re looking for a real wood board, this is not it. But considering the ease of attaching and reattaching items to the metal surface and the light weight of this board, chances are you won’t miss the real thing. The wood-print laminate is smoothly and securely attached and adds depth to the 20-by-20-inch surface, which is large enough to display a range of photos and other paraphernalia without overwhelming a small room. Perfect for leaving notes and reminders in a shared summer house.
2. Kate and Laurel Taffy Framed Photo Board
The innovative design of overlapping strings makes a statement without distracting from your photos. The stretchy silicone cord can hold small mementos as well as photos and papers. Easily hang the 21.5-by-20-inch board vertically or horizontally with the attached sawtooth hangers. The real wood frame and backing looks clean and warm behind your pics and is sure to last a long time.
3. Sweet Jojo Designs Photo Board
Clean metal and rustic farmhouse wood are the trends that dominate photo board designs today, but they’re not for everyone, or for every room. The sweet and simple design of this fabric-covered board allows you to tuck your photos behind thin lengths of ribbon for a quilted look. Available in a number of neutral fabrics, the board can also be purchased in conjunction with a host of matching items to pull a room together.
4. Modicum Shiplap Photo Display Board
This small but stylish photo board makes showing off grouped photographs a breeze. The cedarwood veneer looks like traditional shiplap for an industrial feel. Even unusually sized photos like photobooth strips look great, since the distressed wood background (available in a handful of colors) will show through. For the price, the quality of the board stands out, and the simple design makes it easy to customize yourself.
5. DesignOvation Beatrice Linen Pinboard
For the functionality of a bulletin board without the institutional look of an office, try this elevated pinboard. Five different wood-look finishes over a lightweight and durable plastic frame will match nearly any room, and the natural linen that covers the surface is clean and pretty. Note that the fabric may need to be rubbed a bit to cover holes left by removed pushpins. Key innovations (or, depending on your outlook, sacrifices) like the plastic frame and corrugated surface instead of cork make the board remarkably light for its size and easy to hang horizontally or vertically from the attached D-rings.