We can reasonably surmise that walls, shelves, window sills, fireplace mantels, floors and chairs even, have always served as either hanging, resting, or standing points for photo frames and picture frames for centuries. But it is only in these last few years that ledges and floating shelves, upon which picture frame may be rested upon, have become a fashion's must-have. All the display homes, homewares and department stores seem to be replete with them, in all shapes, colours and sizes. Many home owners are also a little nervous at the prospect of having to design and install a wall gallery system. Not only there’s the main commitment problem of having to make holes everywhere, but there's also the added problem of how to easily change, modify, add or remove picture frames form an existing layout.
The question thus arises, apart from the house or home decor statement ( also called, focal decor, room fulcrum, accent point, etc.,) what are the pros and cons or advantages of disadvantages of picture ledges? The advantages are perhaps best summarized as follows:
a) No nail or hanger holes need to be made or drilled into the walls! Oh what a joy for renters and apartment dwellers ! No longer do they have to worry about losing their bonds or breaking body corporate rules.
b) Add to this a collective sigh of relief from home owners, as well. Everyone who has ever owned a home knows the hassle of trying to hang, line up and straighten picture frames on walls.
c) No tools, fittings or accessories required. Whenever undertaking the installation of picture frames on walls, invariably one has to source wall nails, screws, wall hangers, wall hooks or akin hardware. To some extent this need has been obviated by the wider availability of self-adhesive or stick-on, pressure sensitive hooks, however these have serious limitation in terms of weight security and longevity.
Our picture framing store receives for repairs several broken or damaged picture frames that have fallen off walls each month. While it is possible that in some instances the self-adhesive hooks may have been installed incorrectly, the broad feedback we receive is that hooks can indeed say adhered on walls for days, weeks, or months even, but then, one day these do fail and fall off the walls, taking their photo frames or picture frames with them.d) Most picture ledges can support most common size picture frames, from small 4″x6″ White Wood Photo with Clear Glass and Stand below:
to medium size picture frames such as the 40x40cm Natural Wood Square Frame & Shadow Box with clear glass below:
and larger ones, such as the 18″x24″ Black Wood Ready-Made Poster Frame (suits 45.7 x 60.9 cms paper) with Clear Glass below:
Some of the floating shelves on the market are 30cms or more wide, and thus lend themselves to be more versatile, in so far that these can accommodate large objects such as sport trophies, football display cases as shown below:
Thus, the picture ledge or floating shelf’s capability is limited only by the size and weight of the resting object, by the imagination of the householder, or both.
e) You can restyle picture ledges time and time again. Perhaps the greatest advantage of a picture ledge is that any picture frames, photo frames, objects or décor resting thereat these can be changed, emptied, refilled and restyled over and over again with ease.
Many Customers are constantly refreshing their home inner décor, and often add an elegant frame such as the A3 Black Wood Matted Picture Frame (mat inside will suit A4 picture) with Clear Glass below:
f) Picture ledges can make excellent focal décor points where a room, or rooms, lack one. Lines or rows of framed art or framed photographs, much like a mini art-gallery, are certain to attract the eyes, and attention, of beholders.
One or more of these ledges can help tell a story, like a family history, starting from older family members' photographs and progressing to more younger, or recent ones. Or these may help create a theme tell a story, or a tale. We have seen once a beautiful picture ledge in a devout Christian household, recounting the Old, Middle and New Testament books.
g) It is also fortuitous that not all picture frames need to be rested at an angle to sit or rest on ledges. Our range of shadow box frames, for example, have a generous, deep 4.5cms moulding which allows the frame to be stood or rested upright, as shown below in this white shadow box frame example:
and as illustrated below in the A4 black wood, 3-dimensional, shadow box example:
1) Installation of most picture ledges involves fixing skills not readily learned or acquired by most white-collar workers. Drilling into cavity, concrete, solid or masonry walls not only requires specialized tools, bits and accessories but also the training and experience needed to successfully complete the pertinent tasks.
For instance, how many readers would know which specific type of power drill and drilling bit are needed to drill even a small, 5 mm diameter hole, into solid concrete, or brickwork?
2) Once fixed, fitted or installed, picture ledges cannot be shifted, or moved, as easily as wall hooks or hooks and nails . Their removal, at the very least, will leave several unsightly wall holes which may need plastering, or filling and painting. Again, these are trade skill not easily acquired by most home dwellers or occupiers.
3) Unlike picture frames that gather little dust and require little, if any dusting, ledges, like shelves, do gather a lot of dust and will, more, or less, demand regular dusting. And since these long, flat surfaces are nearly always crowded with photo frames, picture frames, poster frames and other objects, the ledges need clearing first, before cleaning and dusting.
4) Again, and unlike picture frames, the location and positioning of picture ledges is more critical than what at first may appear. Whereas a picture frame may be hung pretty much anywhere and everywhere, picture ledges cannot. Some home owners have put them up on top of beds and couches.
This positioning may well be aesthetically pleasing, however, sudden movements and gusts of wind have been known to dislodge and make picture frames fall out and over the ledge with ensuing, damaging and-or physically hurtful results.
5) They are inconvenient when repainting a wall. Should the wall or walls where the ledges were installed need painting, the ledges will generally need covering, or masking and taping, to protect them from paint drips and splatter. This is added work which would not be required the picture frames had been hung on wall hooks instead of picture ledges.
6) Another disadvantage is their relatively, expensive cost when compared on inexpensive picture hooks and wall hooks. Granted that nowadays many department stores sell these cheaply enough, depending on size finish and quality, however if installation costs are included, then, one or more ledges are somewhat expensive.
7) Yet another, is the fact that these decor accessories protrude from walls whereas photo frames and picture frames do not do so nearly as much, and sit relatively flat on walls. One can easily think of several occurrences and events which are likely to clash with protruding furniture. Children playing with toys or balls, partying, dancing, vacuuming floors, moving furniture, pets, etc,
8) There is one more disadvantage, not frequently thought about, and often, when it’s too late to change, alter or remove a ledge or shelf installation. It has to do with changing the picture frames’ glass reflections and their angles of incidence. This can be simply demonstrated by reviewing the photograph below.
When hung at normal face height, the room’s skylight’s, and other reflection, are clearly visible, reflected at the top of the frame. One could even say that it’s already visually annoying:
But what happens when the picture rests, not flat and perpendicular against wall, but resting at a 10 or 15 degrees acute angle on top of a picture ledge or shelf? What happens is that the angle of incidence will change and the reflection of the skylight will be positioned squarely in the middle of the picture frame, becoming even more annoying.
And if one has several photo frames or picture frames next to one another , in a row, then the aggregated reflections are quite likely to become a definite, visual, viewing, and aesthetic problem:
9) Perhaps a final disadvantage is that some types of frames, such as the A3 frameless glass clip frames below aren’t that suitable to stand on ledges or shelves. There are a couple of reasons for this. In the first instance clip frames don’t come fitted with stands and have no wooden edges. In fact, at each glass edge, these have one or more Swiss steel clips.
The hard steel clips tend to scratch wood and also, it’s quite easy to chip the corner of the glass because, and unlike a frame, there is no wooden rebate to house and protect the glass edges. Lastly, should the glass clip frame dislodge or fall, the glass shards could hurt or injure visitors or member of the household.
All in all then, it’s risky to stand glass up glass clip frames anywhere. Hanging them on walls is always the safest policy.