A Little Rough Around the Ledges

Living Room Photo Ledge

DIY Photo Ledge Display

I had a large empty wall to fill so I decided to try out photo ledges. I really like this idea because it will allow me to regularly swap out the photos as our son grows and our interests evolve. This ended up being a cheap and easy way to decorate without investing in large wall art which I would highly recommend.

Cost: $25 (without photos and frames)

Time: 2.5 hours


Lessons learned

  • I will never be done with this project. I’ve already reposted the cover photo¬†three times because I adjusted frames around.
  • If you buy a $10 photo ledge, don’t be surprised when it doesn’t come with hanging hardware, instructions and a team of experts to hang it for you.
  • I underestimated how much time and effort went into choosing photos and finding cheap frames to put them in.

Step 1: Conceptualize

It helped me to make a few decisions before I got started to ensure things were cohesive. I went with the following guidelines:

  • Select all thin dark frames and white or off white mattes but vary the frame type and color as well as the matte width. I was going for uniformity but I didn’t want it to look too symmetrical or precise.
  • Use mostly color images with a few black and white.
  • Limit overlap between frames to keep the wall from looking cluttered.
  • Skip pristine family photos that look like they came with the frame.
  • Mix in some art and scenery to avoid repetition.

Step 2: Measure

I laid out the ledges and large photos on the floor and decided that 76″ x 36″ looked best for the perimeter of the entire display with a 20″ gap from the bottom of the lower ledge to the bottom of the upper edge.

Step 3: Tape the Wall

I used painting tape to lay out where the display would land on the wall prior to hanging the ledges.

I also taped the backs of the ledges and marked with pencil where the drill holes should go. Once I got the ledge tape onto the wall I used the level to make sure the tape was even before I started drilling.

Step 4: Hang Ledges and Photos

Hanging hardware used for photo ledges
When I discovered that the ledges didn’t come with hanging hardware I dug up some screws and drywall anchors.

Ledge on wall with level and tape
This went smoothly until I hit the metal from my stove on the opposite side of the wall and had to skip the middle nail for one of the ledges. Two screws was enough to keep the ledge in place so it didn’t end up being an issue.

Step 5: Arrange. And rearrange.

Original photo ledge arrangement
I started with a few framed photos I knew I wanted to use. For the rest I tried to figure out where to place the frames and then went to the Target photo kiosk and printed photos to fill them.

This worked great because it gave my husband a chance to provide his two cents while there was still room for input. His one contribution to this project: “you should add a picture of [our dog] Mo“.

Hell's Daycare
To be fair he also contributed by running errands with the little guy so I had time to knock this out. Otherwise this would have been an eight hour project and I would have had to do it without my living room resembling Hell’s daycare.

More to Come

There were a few DIY art projects embedded in this display that I will address in separate posts and link to once completed.

Spray paint silhouette and painted skyline

Skyline Completed

Simple paint chip geometric art

Graphite sketch with painted backdrop

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