This post is dedicated to the versatility and utility of a decor item that doesn't often get top billing: the picture ledge. This diminutive cousin to the shelf is perfect for displaying photos in an unfussy, modern way, and it can do lots of other things too. Don't believe me? Check out this collection of ten ways to use picture ledges in every room of the house.
I suppose this isn't technically a picture ledge: this room, spotted on Archilovers, is blessed with a wainscot with a nice thick profile at the top, suitable for displaying all kinds of art, and even holding a lamp. You could still, however, create the same effect with a very long ledge (or several ledges put together), provided you are unwilling to commit to a wainscot, or just don't want to put in the work to create one.
This dining room, from Skona Hem, has a picture ledge that's placed much higher, so there's minimal concern about the diners leaning back and bopping their heads on the art. The ledge, running across the top of the room, adds both art and a bit of architectural interest to an unremarkable room.
This kitchen, from House & Home, demonstrates another important utility of the picture ledge: as a bookshelf. It's a bit unconventional, sure, because the typical bookshelf holds books with the spines facing the viewer, but if a bookshelf is just a shelf that holds books, well, here we have it. The 90 degree turn that the shallowness of the shelf forces on the books has the advantage of keeping the covers in plain sight, so it's easy to pick the cookbook you want.
From Saltbush Avenue, here are a couple of IKEA picture ledges, mounted to the side of a cabinet, which provide a convenient home for a collection of spices.
Hallways aren't typically a space where you spend a lot of time, but that doesn't mean they have to be boring. This transitional space, from The Socialite Family, is enlivened by the addition of a picture ledge and a couple of leaning paintings — much more interesting, in my opinion, than hanging them on the wall. Painting the ledge the same color as the wall lends a built-in, architectural effect.
Here's a clever little solution for a small entryway, from Dos Family. The picture ledge holds art (and maybe keys, and a little bit of mail), and the hanging bar underneath (which looks like a towel rail, or maybe a very long cabinet pull?), when paired with some 'S' hooks, is perfect for hanging clothes and bags.
This living room application, from My Scandinavian Home, is a bit less practical than the entryway one, but it does demonstrate the picture ledge's ability to bring together many smaller pieces of art into a unified whole.
From Heart Home Magazine via Desire to Inspire, here's another example of picture-ledge-as-bookshelf. This is a great way to show off your coffee table books if you happen to have way too many for your coffee table.
A picture ledge above the bed, like this one from Insides, is a particularly nice look if reading in bed isn't your thing (and whacking your head on a shelf isn't a concern). If it is, just mount the shelf above head height.
From Yasam Stil via House Beautiful comes this very smart way to use picture ledges in a bathroom. Mount one above the sink and below the bathroom mirror, and it will provide the perfect spot for candles and bud vases, and keep toiletries from cluttering up the sink.