I often suggest that my clients use picture ledged in their homes. Many stores now sell ledges that are 2 feet to 4 feet in length. You can buy ones that are modern or traditional. I usually prefer to build picture ledges into the molding scheme of the homes, like the ledges above. You can fit more pictures and they feel better integrated with the architecture. In this home, the ledges are almost overburdened with family photos. The modern remodel eliminated several walls that had been used to display family photos. The husband in particular wanted to make sure he could still display the ever evolving family album. His wife wanted fewer family photos in the public rooms of the house. This left a lot of pictures to display in the bedroom area. The hallway in the bedroom level of this 50’s split level in Washington DC, is an extra wide 54″ — giving lots of room to view the pictures. By overlapping the mats, we don’t hide the images but fit an interesting, eclectic mix of pictures. The double ledge still puts these images at a good eye level for viewing and the family can switch out pictures with ease. I also find that guest and family respond quite personally to pictures displayed on crowded photo ledges. When I’ve had photos in cases or hung on the walls, I infrequently received comments or questions from guests. When I’ve had them on pictures ledges like the ones in this post, I frequently have guests pick up the pictures and ask me about the subjects.
In this same home, we converted 2 recessed shelving units (only one visible) that were just collecting clutter to also display pictures. The bottom of the recess acts as a picture ledge.
We combined a picture ledge with a picture rail in this home in Chevy Chase, MD. The concept of the ledge wraps the room (see image below) in the form of the top ledge of built-in bookcases and fireplace mantle (the firebox is hidden by a plant). As with the objects put on the ledge at the top of the bookcase, small objects can be integrated into the mix on display on picture ledges. A ledge can also be used to artfully display a collection of small objects.
Ledges are just as interesting when they are almost bare. Look at the ledge at the top of wainscotting in this home in Silver Spring, MD. It’s in the breakfast area. Two pictures are hung just 2 inches above the ledge and 2 related objects placed off-center.