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How to Decorate a Living Room Ledge

Michelle Radcliff

Turn an awkward space into a well-decorated asset by adding decor that enhances the architecture as well as the surroundings.

High, built-in wall ledges, common in newer homes with vaulted ceilings, large great rooms or split level entries, provide interesting architectural detail but can be perplexing to decorate. Think big when filling empty space on a high living room wall ledge. Bold colors, rich textures and varied forms with height bring a tall ledge down to size.

Create Dimension With Color

Use Wall Art

Create dimension with a large piece of wall art on the back wall of the ledge. Avoid heavy, framed art encased in glass, as reflected light from nearby windows or ceiling fixtures may obscure the image. Instead, opt for lightweight sculpted metal, canvas or a fabric tapestry.

Emphasize the depth of a wide, built-in ledge by painting the wall behind it a darker shade than the surrounding walls, which will also make it appear closer. Repeating the bolder shade on a second wall such as one surrounding a bay window or containing a fireplace helps balance the room. If you want to try a different color altogether, pull an accent color from an area rug, throw pillows, curtains or upholstery to tie the color in with the rest of the room.

Include Varied Height and Forms

To help fill visual space, place tall accents on the ledge where they are easier to see, such as:

  • Silk trees
  • Topiaries  
  • Lightweight folding screens
  • Tall candleholders

A lightweight folding screen, which can be adjusted to fit the size of the ledge, provides a textural backdrop for smaller items placed in front. Tall faux greenery such as narrow trees and topiaries bring in a natural, earthy feel with varied forms and texture. Measure the width of both the container and the foliage at the widest point to ensure the plant will fit and sits stable and secure along the ledge.

Create additional interest with large pots, jars, urns, vases or baskets in different materials, heights and shapes. Fill some with reeds, twigs or wispy dried weeds to extend their height and add texture. Choose lightweight metal or faux stone containers made from fiberglass to ensure a manageable weight.

Group Objects and Include Space

Objects grouped in odd numbers of three or five create the most visually appealing displays. Stack three lightweight trunks or vintage suitcases as one grouping. The folding screen, silk tree, twin baskets and urn with reeds could be another. Keep an asymmetrical look by overlapping items and varying the space between grouped objects. Be sure to include empty space as part of the overall design. Without a place for the eyes to rest, the ledge can easily appear over-cluttered.