DIY Art Ledge
A few months ago I was knee deep in the One Room Challenge, but I promised some tutorials on my DIYs once the holidays were over. Well, that time is now! One of my favorite DIYs from the family room renovation was the DIY Art Ledge I built for over the sofa. This was such an easy and affordable project anyone can do! It added so much to an otherwise blank wall in the family room, created a focal point, and didn’t break the bank! To motivate you to try this one on your own, I am also sharing several of the wall art pieces with you in my FREE printables library! This is an easy way to create an accent wall and fill an empty wall with your favorite artwork or family photos. Not to mention it is a great option for above the couch decor.
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Sofa Wall Decor Ideas
Any good interior designer will tell you focal points in a room are key! When you are trying to fill a big blank space a large piece of art or a large painting will do the trick but can be quite expensive. The easiest way and most affordable way is to fill empty space with your own gallery wall. The fun part is, you can completely customize your living space with your favorite things in photo frames! An ideal way to have high end looking home decor on a budget!
Before the family room makeover, there was a large space above the sofa that just fell a little flat. While I do still love this oversized mirror, I think it will be better suited somewhere else in the house. Because this entire room received a makeover, I felt like the space above the sofa needed a new accent piece as well. Luckily, I had some wood left over from another project which gave me an idea. A DIY art ledge would not only be an easy project but also fill this empty space while adding some art.
DIY Art Ledge Building Supplies
2 – 1x8x8 Boards
Table Saw or Circular saw
Black Picture Frames
Gold Picture Frames
Large Picture Frame
*Note: if you do not have a table saw or circular saw, you can have your local hardware store cut your lumber for you. I know Home Depot offers this service.
DIY Art Ledge Gallery Wall
Step 1 – Pick Your Lumber
First thing to do is pick your lumber. The type of wood you choose is up to you and a personal preference. I used the leftover wood I had from building our fireplace mantle extension which is beetle kill pine. While I have seen some beetle kill pine lumber at our Home Depot, they didn’t have the sizes I needed so I purchased mine at a local lumber yard. Each piece was 1x8x8 in size and just under $11 each.
You will want to determine the size of your art ledge before you purchase your lumber. I did this by choosing the frames I wanted to sit on my ledge first in order to decide how wide it needed to be. Remember, if you want them to lean against each other like I did, you will need more depth on the bottom piece. The best part is, you can completely customize this! Just keep it in mind when picking out the right sized lumber.
I purchased all of my frames from IKEA, Michaels, and the dollar store. I also had a few frames on hand I was no longer using.
Step 2 – Cutting the Wood to Size
Cut the wood down to size. I wanted my art ledge to be the entire length of the sofa, so I did not cut the length down on my eight foot pieces. I did however rip cut the width of the wood with the table saw into three pieces. Since I had leftover wood from the mantle, I was able to build mine with only one board and a scrap piece I had. If you would like to make the same size art ledge I did, you will need two 1x8x8 or one 1x10x8. I cut mine as follows.
Base piece = 4.5 inches wide
Back piece = 2.75 inches wide
Front Lip = 1.75 inches wide
Step 3 – Sand the Wood Pieces
Sand down the wood pieces. Sanding is definitely my least favorite task but very necessary in DIY. I used my orbital sander with 220 grit sand paper to smooth out the rough edges and eliminate any splintering after all my cuts were made. This could definitely be done by hand with sand paper as well but will be more tedious. Trust me, the sander is worth every penny!
Step 4 – Assemble the Art Ledge
Assembly. Lay out your wood and determine how you want the pieces to face. You won’t see a ton of the wood itself unless you do not plan to fill your art ledge, but the front lip piece will be seen in its entirety. Since I was using beetle kill pine, I wanted to make sure some of the color in the wood was showing.
Once your orientation is correct, run a bead of wood glue along the top back edge of the largest piece.
Then apply the back piece where you added the glue. I used clamps to hold mine in place while the glue set. You will also want to make sure no glue has leaked out. If it has, wipe it up immediately with a wet rag.
Once the glue has set a bit, use a brad nail gun to further secure the pieces together.
Repeat this step for the front lip of the art ledge, only this time, attach the the wood to the outside edge of your bottom piece. I did this so there would be no visible seams from the front and to maximize the surface area for art. I highly recommend allowing your art ledge to dry for 24 hours before hanging it.
Step 5 – Hanging the Art Ledge on the Wall
Attach the art ledge to the wall. The best way to do this is to locate and mark the studs on the wall a few inches above where you want the art ledge to hang. I recommend marking above so you can see the marks when you are holding the art ledge up to the wall. I used my stud finder to find the studs. Here is a time-lapse of the hanging process.
Once the studs are marked, hold the art ledge up to the wall (this is a two person job if you make yours eight feet long like I did) and drive construction screws into the back piece of the art ledge into the studs. Mine is attached to at least four wall studs.
This works best with an impact driver. You will know if you hit a stud because it will grip and pull in. If not, your screws will just spin even though they are drilled all the way in. The impact driver will also make a cranking like sound when it hits the stud.
I also recommend using a long level for this or a laser level to make sure you hang the art ledge straight. While I have a laser level, I just set my four foot long level on the ledge as I hung it. if you start on the ends you can pivot the other end to get it level once you get the first screw in.
Step 6 – Decorative Pieces
Decorate your art ledge with decorative items and artwork you love. I wanted a staggered look and used a few different frames alternating between portrait and landscape. My favorite frames are from IKEA, but if you do not have an IKEA these are similar. For the large art piece in the middle I used this 24×36 frame I had on hand from a BOGO sale a while back.
Pro Tip: When leaning artwork against a wall there is always a chance it gets bumped and falls. This has happened on my kitchen shelves a number of times! So I finally got smart and started using this mounting putty to keep frames in place. It lasts a long time and a little square goes a long way! I have not had any damage to my walls either.
If you like the art I used, you are in luck! I have added four of these art prints to my FREE printables library including the oversized art! Just subscribe to get access today.
I printed all of the 8×10 prints with my home printer and 24lb printer paper. I had the large art piece printed at Staples. I try to keep most of my prints 8×10 or smaller so I don’t have to have them printed. You can also buy larger frames and cheat the size of the mat for a large artworks.
Step 7 – Enjoy the Sofa Wall Decor
Sit back and enjoy because you are done!
This was a super easy DIY done in a day! It adds visual interest to the family room which has very small wall space for art for such a large room. I also love how it ties together the common theme of the wood with the mantle and floating shelf on the wet bar!
It can also be used to add some extra decor at the holidays! For Christmas, I swapped out a few pieces for my holiday art prints, for fall I added some Thanksgiving prints, and in the summer I swapped out some art for the 4th of July! All are also available in my FREE printable library!
Gallery Wall Ideas
When decorating above your sofa, there are a lot of different options. I used to have a large mirror hanging above the couch, but I wanted to change up the look. A gallery could also replace a large tapestry or wall hanging for a new look.
On my living room wall I used all black frames to create a modern gallery wall above the sofa in a classic grid pattern. I kept all the frames the same and chose black and white photography for a cohesive look.
You could also use different sizes and different shapes of art to create more classic gallery walls. Just try to establish a color palette so the pieces feel like they belong together.
Adding a pop of color in a frame or print is also fun way to add your personal style.
If you have high ceilings, take advantage of that and use your ceiling height. Extra-large gallery walls make a room feel even larger.
Feature Wall General Rule of Thumb
When hanging art, many people hang it too high. Art should be hung at eye level of an average height person. The exception would be if you are creating a large gallery wall or grid where it takes up a large wall.
When choosing the right pieces try to keep a common thread on subject matter or choose the types of art in twos or threes. For example, my gallery wall in the hallway is all family pictures but they look cohesive because they are all black and white prints in gold frames.
The gallery wall in the living room has many different subjects, but again feels cohesive because they are all black and white.
On the art ledge I again chose to stick with black and white prints to keep a modern look. Staying within the same color scheme allowed me to mix in abstract art with photography as well as a map and graphic art.
If you choose to mix a lot of colors and styles you will end up with a more eclectic look. This is a great way to mix pieces of art from thrift stores or flea markets.
Where Can I add a Gallery Wall?
Almost anywhere! Gallery walls are great options for a hallway, family room, living room, dining room, office, kids room, or nursery. A great place for them is above a sofa, above a bed, over a console table, or on a large blank wall just to name a few. As long as there is a main wall with a lot of room, you are in business. And don’t be afraid to do a large gallery wall in a small space. Ironically it will create the illusion of more space!
There are so many different ways to add style to a room with a gallery wall or art ledge! Not matter what you choose, good luck on your wall hangings!
Need more DIY art inspiration? Check out my post on easy art DIYs and oversized mats.
Looking for free art prints for all the seasons, organization, and decor? Check out my free pintables library! Beautiful home art doesn’t have to be expensive 😉 Did you know almost every art piece in my home was created, DIYed, or painted by me? True story!
If you enjoyed my DIY Art Ledge, please share it with your friends on Facebook or hover over an image and save to Pinterest! And if you don’t already follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, or Facebook, I would love for us to be friends!
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This post, DIY Art Ledge, appeared first on Garrison Street Design Studio.
I have to say this site is really useful and your work inspires me to get to work. Keep it up and look forward to reading more of your great designs!
Thank you so much! I appreciate that 🙂
Love this so much!! What size are all the frames?
I’m so glad you like it! I linked to them in step 6, but most of the black ones are the 12×16 IKEA Ribba. The larger gold one is the 16×20 IKEA SILVERHÖJDEN. The other two are 8x10s and the large one is 24×36. Hope that helps!
Did you use 2(1x8x8) in the picture example for when the wood was cut in those 3 pieces OR was it the 1(1x10x8)? Like are those width measurements for the 2 pieces of wood OR the 1 piece of wood?
so when I go to a place to get wood I would tell them the length of the boards and then tell them the width for each board length?
sorry for my loaded and complicated question😂
Technically, yes. I used two separate pieces but that is because I had some scraps leftover from another project. Lumber is sold in common sizes (thickness x width x length), but to make things even more confusing the actual sizes are smaller. So a 1×8 is actually 3/4 x 7 1/4 and a 1×10 is 3/4 x 9 1/4. So if you used a 1×10 and cut it down, you could get all 3 pieces you need to make this. You could also use two 1x6s which would yield less scraps, but I was not able to find this particular wood in smaller dimensions which is why I said you would need either two 1x8s or one 1×10. Most chain hardware stores will cut wood down for you or you can cut it with a table saw or circular saw if you have one. Hopefully that all makes sense.