Shelving It: Using Shelves and Ledges to Display Pictures

With digital photography, you can take shot after shot without worrying about running out of film. As long as you have enough memory, you can enjoy capturing priceless moments with your family and loved ones. Now, how do you take these shots from your hard drives and into a place where these can be enjoyed and appreciated?

Picture ledges and shelves can be your solution! With these, you can rotate your photos as the mood takes you without having to worry about making more holes in your wall. Ledges can run along a large blank wall space such as the wall in the stairway or over the living room couch, without eating up any floor space or affecting foot traffic. And as you display these, you can get the satisfaction of creating and displaying something beautiful.

Here are some ideas when using shelves and ledges for your photo display:

  • Combine books and picture frames on a shelf. Add texture and visual interest to your display by using picture fames as bookends. You can experiment with the placement of the books, arranging them horizontally or vertically or a combination of both. You can select frames that match the mood of the books (i.e. antique picture frames for classic, leather-bound books or more contemporary frames for modern coffee table books). Remember, your shelves should also serve as storage space so incorporate some magazine holders and woven or wire baskets to tuck away odds and ends you want organized and hidden from plain sight.
  • Add other decorative elements. You can also add small sculptures, a decorative plate, ornamental boxes, monogram letters and small pottery. Bring in elements of nature such as a pot of succulents (depending on the width of the shelf or ledge), a vase of flowers, some ornamental rocks or some seashells. Aside from these, you can also display framed artwork.
  • Display picture frames in layers. On the top of the shelf or the ledge, add some texture and depth to your display by layering the picture frames one on top of the other or some behind the others.
  • Variation is the key. To effectively layer the frames, you need variations in sizes. However, try to use frames in similar themes. You can use a number of antique picture frames or contemporary picture frames that are in similar designs. However, try to use a variety of finishes such as white, gold or silver picture frames. For a more rustic look, you can use wooden frames in varying finishes – cherry, birch or walnut.
  • Use large matting widths. Wide matting is not just dramatic. The extra-wide matting also allows you to layer the frames without obscuring the pictures. To make this more effective for a wide number of photos, use neutral colored matting such as white or beige.
  • Hang pictures above the ledge or the shelf. For low shelf tops or for the top ledge, if you have enough wall space, you can also hang more pictures above that space. This gives the impression of more pictures spilling from the wall and onto the ledge or the shelf.
  • Check the weight capacity of your ledge. Secure your frames by ensuring that your ledges can carry the weight. As you add more elements (vases, sculptures, etc.), these can only add to the weight and can make your ledge tip over.
  • Hang the ledges at the right height. When hanging only one ledge, make sure that the pictures are at eye level when you place them on the ledge. If you are adding more than one ledges, check to see that the center ledge is at eye level.
24th Oct 2015 Eric Morgan

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