The rooms in my house are in three different stages. If you visit me, you will find 1) the rooms I have “finished” decorating; 2) the rooms I’m in the process of decorating; 3) and the rooms that still look like I just threw some random crap in there so they wouldn’t be empty. Yes, my house is just like most of yours. I take a section at a time and do what I love and what I can afford. One day, I guess it may all be finished, but that will just mean it’s time to start the whole process over again.
One of those “random crap” spaces is the architectural ledge above my front door. Most newer homes that I go into these days have these sort of ledges over the front door and random art niches in odd places. I swear that builders are doing this to try to add character to a character-less home. Y’all, I can say that because we I one of these homes.
The very existence of the giant ledge above my front door wears me out. When I say giant, I’m not exaggerating. It’s 5 ft wide, 5 ft deep, 7 ft tall and a pain in my rear to decorate. It’s too large of a space to just ignore, but too high to reach without an extension ladder…and I’m terrified to climb down once I’m up there. So within a month or so of being in this house, I stuck a collection of fluer-de-lis and other random metal stuff up there that I got for 70% off at Hobby Lobby. I don’t generally buy accessories like that at HL, but it was a cheap means to an end at that time. All that stuff has sat up there for 4 years, getting dusted every once in a while when I was feeling brave enough to get up there and retrieve the dust bunnies.
Decorating ledges like this one is really a hard thing to do. I tried to find some pretty examples of above door ledge decorating to show you, but all I came across were really bad examples. My pictures above are definitely not great examples themselves, as I couldn’t wait to pull that random stuff down.
While I’m in the process of transforming my ledge space with something that certainly ups the crazy meter in my home, I put together 6 tips to help guide you if you have a space like this to tackle as well.
How to Decorate an Above the Door Ledge
1. Don’t think of an above door ledge as a mantle – it’s not. While a mantel is generally close to eye level, an above door ledge is quite high above your head. The things that work beautifully on your seasonal mantle do not translate when placed so high.
2. Scale is the name of the game. You need to have one piece that is at least 2/3 as tall as your ceiling. If you have a 7 ft tall ceiling above your ledge, you don’t want to have 4 things up there that are only a foot tall. The scale will make your objects look dinky up there.
3. If you wouldn’t put it elsewhere in your home, don’t put it on the ledge. I freely admit to you that I used to have fake ivy up there stuck behind my metal stuff. It was scary. I took it all down when I could no longer live with looking at the fake, dusty ivy.
4. Consider the dust. There will likely be lots and lots of dust up there, so consider that when you are choosing what to put on your ledge. Anything that looks gross covered in dust or is hard to dust, like a collection of baskets, should probably be avoided. I say probably because some of you may get your ladders out to dust that stuff once a week (and kudos to you if you do!). I just know that in my house, only the stuff that’s within easy reach gets dusted with any regularity.
5. Don’t worry about the windows. Many above door ledges are in front of a large window. More often than not, there is no real “view” out of that window. It’s simply there to provide more natural light. Don’t feel like you can’t put something in front of the window. Obviously, you don’t want to block it completely, but you will still get plenty of natural light in if you place an object in front of it.
6. There’s nothing wrong with leaving it empty. If your ledge isn’t too terribly big, simply leave it empty as an architectural feature. That wouldn’t work for my walk-in closet sized space, but a small, simple ledge with nice trim can speak for itself.
With all of those tips, I really act like I know my stuff, don’t I? Well, I know what I’ve seen that doesn’t work, and most of those tips were pulled from those experiences.
I am in the process of redoing my own ledge area, and it’s going to be quite a change. It’s going to be off the chain. Hopefully, it will be ready to reveal in the next week or so.
Do you have a big architectural ledge in your home? How do you decorate it?