The Secret to Flexible Decorating: the Picture Ledge

The Secret to Flexible Decorating- the Picture Ledge.jpg

Does this scenario sound familiar? You cuddle into the corner of your favorite chair. You pull a comfy throw onto your lap while closely hugging a cup of steaming tea, coffee or fire water. And you sigh, content and happy, until your eye rests upon that framed bit of artwork on the wall and you realize you’re ready for a change.

The good news is that the things we hang on our walls can be easily swapped out and updated for a fresh, new look. The challenge, however, can be finding a comparable piece to hang in that exact spot. Can the new piece use the same nail hole? Will it fit in the space of the item that you’re replacing? Will you need to create new holes in the wall for another sort of hanger? Do additional items need to be moved around to accommodate your new find? The more change this seemingly simple update requires, the more reluctant you may be to make it. 

Don’t worry! There’s a simple solution. Put down the hammer and don’t hang another thing before you read this. The secret to creating an easily updatable room is the picture ledge. Whether you like to replace your wall art each season or you want the flexibility to change things up on a whim, a picture ledge gives you a creative space to easily swap pieces without drilling new holes in the wall and alleviates spacing headaches each time your décor evolves. 

Let’s talk about the basics. Start by selecting the ledge length that best suits your decorating style and room size. You can find pre-made ledges in a variety of lengths or you can DIY a ledge to your specifications. If you’re going the make-it-yourself route, get creative with the materials you use. Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration and decorations for such a project. 

Generally, if you’re going to place the picture ledge over a couch, place the bottom edge of the shelf about 10 inches above the back of the couch. If you’re going to hang it elsewhere, keep in mind, you’re aiming for “eye level” artwork on a wall. A good rule of thumb is to hang your ledge 4 to 4 ½ feet from the floor. 

What goes on the ledge? For starters, there’s the obvious framed artwork. It is, after all, called a picture ledge. But don’t stop there! These ledges with their grooves and/or framed edges are ideal for displaying things like decorative plates, forward facing books, thin vases, and collectibles. Think outside the box! Hang some picture ledges in your bedroom and display your favorite shoes. Use these unique shelves in the kitchen to arrange your go-to bottles of spices and seasonings. Try a picture ledge in a child’s bedroom or play room to display those awesome Lego creations and favorite toys. Anything that will securely fit on the flat space available is fair game. Have fun with it, and the next time you glance up and realize it’s time for a change, go for it! Swap out your old shelf décor for something fresh and new without any worry.

by Anjie Cho

This Week on Instagram

Client living room in progress   #repaint   #interiors   #inprogress

Client living room in progress  #repaint #interiors #inprogress

Finished Mercury  #mandala   #yantra  last night!

Finished Mercury #mandala #yantra last night!

Site Visit with a lovely client! Wait til you see the befores!   #architecture   #interiors   #inconstruction

Site Visit with a lovely client! Wait til you see the befores!  #architecture #interiors #inconstruction

In progress  Mercury yantra mandala  with Indian wash technique   #harishjohari   #mandala   #gouache

In progress Mercury yantra mandala with Indian wash technique  #harishjohari #mandala #gouache

happy  #mantraMonday . this one looks a lot like  #ganesha  but is Krishna, the "fire that lights everything that lives." He teaches us that God is Love and we should not be afraid. Mantra: om hring krishnaye namaha om.  #mantra   #yantra   #mandala   #Krishna   #vedic

happy #mantraMonday. this one looks a lot like #ganesha but is Krishna, the "fire that lights everything that lives." He teaches us that God is Love and we should not be afraid. Mantra: om hring krishnaye namaha om. #mantra #yantra #mandala #Krishna #vedic

client's picture ledge and living room redecoration in progress   #lovemywork   #pictureledge   #livingroom   #interiors

client's picture ledge and living room redecoration in progress  #lovemywork #pictureledge #livingroom #interiors

Warm Up and Get Cozy with Historic Elements

You are in love with your modern home, and rightfully so. If you want to add a personal twist to its decor, while adding in some extra warmth and comfort, incorporating a few elements from a specific design period is the way to go. Highlight your favorite design era with a few well-chosen pieces, or mix and match different styles for your own signature look. Get started by incorporating bits of your preferred style themes from the following list. 

Art Deco debuted in France after World War 1. This throwback design theme blends bits of French, Egyptian and Mediterranean culture with clean lines, geometric patterns and vibrant colors. Think opulence and lavishness. You can incorporate elements of Art Deco into your home by selecting materials such as aluminum, stainless steel, inlaid wood and lacquer. Furniture with a mirrored or veneer finish is one option. Want a smaller whisper of style? Look for throw pillows and accent pieces featuring chevrons, sunbursts and bold colors.

Art Nouveau harkens back to the end of the 19th century and is known for its classy, sophisticated style. This era of design is nature-inspired, as demonstrated by its dynamic, undulating, flowing lines. Art Nouveau design is energetic; spiritual and lively. Look for pieces made of metal, ceramics and glass. Incorporate patterns and pieces with floral themes, as well as insects, birds and other elements of nature

Baroque Style evokes memories of the very ornate, luxurious design of the 17th century.  To achieve the look of pure opulence, search for items with elaborate ornamentation. You want to select pieces that include plenty of detail, curves and heavy carving. Incorporate items made of marble and dark hued woods. If you’re looking to pepper Baroque influences into your space, seek out furniture boasting curved legs, carved details and gilding. Large mirrors and crystal chandeliers will lend a Baroque influence as well. 

Neoclassic is about elegance, luxury and romance. In terms of design, aim for hints of Roman and Greek architecture and sculpture. Symmetry and balance are key characteristics of this style. Look for pieces using light wood and upholstery items. If you want to introduce this style through accessories, then consider ornate vases, urns, statuary decorations and pottery. 

Victorian style begins with lots of layers and builds with vibrant, rich colors. Something as simple as adding a chair or picture rail to your walls will introduce a bit of Victorian flare into your space. Pull in velvet, a Victorian staple, through pillows and upholstery and don’t shy away from fringe or patterns. Dark woods and marble are classic Victorian components, too.

by Anjie Cho

Visit the Holistic Spaces Store video: How to Decorate With an IKEA Picture Ledge

How to Decorate with an Ikea Picture Ledge

How to Decorate with an Ikea Picture Ledge

I'm pleased to announce that I'm one of the newest HOME presenters.  Here's one of 11 "how-to" videos currently available on  

Share with us some ways that you have used IKEA picture ledges?

see more videos here

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Anjie Cho, and today I will show you some tips on how to decorate with an IKEA picture ledge.

I love IKEA picture ledges because they allow you flexibility for creativity in your home. You don't have to commit to that frame on the wall. You can move things around without making a bunch of nail holes. IKEA picture ledges come in 2 colors and in 2 sizes. This is a black version and this is a white version. They are as large as 45 inches in size and the smaller one is 21 inches.

Once you decide what wall you want to have the picture ledge on make sure to measure it so that it'll fit horizontally. Then measure how high you want it to be located. The height really depends on what you decide you're gonna put on the ledge. This is a level, it's a pretty big level but it's a level and straight edge in one. You can use a smaller level with the separate straight edge as well. Mark with pencil on the wall 2 level marks. Then you can hold up the ledge and use a pencil to mark the holes.

IKEA picture ledges do not come with any screws so make sure you get the appropriate screws for your type of wall. I have concrete block walls here so I have concrete anchors. IKEA also provides round stickers that you can use to cover up the screw holes.

So now here's the fun part. The picture ledges are for much more than picture frames. You can display books so the cover is face forward. You can place a thin vase of flowers or plants or bamboo. It's also a nice place to display cards, decorative plants, even stuffed animals, anything that can fit in a 2 3/4 inch space. I've also used this on a wall with chalkboard or whiteboard paint as a ledge to hold the markers, chalk, and eraser.

I'm Anjie Cho interior architect with Anjie Cho Architect and founder of Holistic Spaces and I hope you enjoyed my tips on how to decorate with an IKEA picture ledge.

by Anjie Cho