Wednesday 7 November 2012

How to decorate a high ledge in a front foyer

Sometimes my job is made a little more challenging in the way room layouts are designed & where structural elements are placed.  These slight obstacles force me to expand my way of thinking and get extra creative so I say bring it on!

This forces me to get creative and think outside the box for solutions.

In this posting I am going to address how to decorate the ledge often found in foyers above the front door below a high window.  (this window is usually similar to a palladian style)   What should be done with this empty, hard to reach space that can be seen at different levels of the home?  

Example: The ledge can be seen from different view points on both floors of the home.
One of my subscribers wrote in with this dilemma in decorating their own high ledge:

"Whatever is placed on the ledge needs to be as attractive from below as it is from above.   Small pieces of pottery get lost due to distance, but large pieces could get 'clunky' - I want to keep it clean and simple - which is also difficult.  Thanks! "

This is the picture Chris sent to me.
Chris brings up a great point in accessorising overall.  Balancing the size of the items in relation to the size of the space & the height of the ceiling are key to getting it right.

Before placing decorative items in this sort of space at all, think about whether you want this area to become a focal point in your front entrance or play a more subtle role. 

Nicely done

This picture (above) shows three items placed to the side of the window on the ledge in the corner. These objects all: vary in height; are different shapes; and provide textural interest. Although we can't see how tall the window is, they've got the right idea of layering the accessories without overdoing it.

Below is a ledge adorned with items that are quite small in scale where everything stands alone.

These items are a little too small and lonely way up there on the ledge.

I like the idea of using a room divider and a tall plant for height in the picture below, however I would place the greenery in the right corner to balance this vignette.  I would like to see this entire space though as the walls below both have artwork and there may be too much going on altogether. 

The light fixture itself could be quite interesting on its own & the view out the window looks calming and pretty.  Think about whether you need fill up this space at all.   

Be careful not to overwhelm and have too much happening in one space.  The eye will have no where to rest.

The 'ting' and fake florals are more busy and distracting than anything else.
Extra attention has been drawn to this ledge because the wall has been painted in a highly contrasting and bold colour.  It's important to remember that an accent wall is given its' name because it is meant to 'accent' something.  Do you want this to be the star of your front entrance?
Lighting always adds a touch of class and warmth

Here is the same foyer but with slightly different accessories.  Looking at the layout I prefer this one as oppose to the first because it is more balanced and less busy.  I also like the idea of the back light, but would suggest a smaller one so the light fixture itself is less obvious.

Window treatments could be customised to fit this style of window but the only option I would suggest is a custom blind (as above) as it will offer the cleanest and most tailored look.   But unless privacy was an issue I recommend leaving the window uncovered & letting the light pour in. 

Below is one of the best ideas I found that indirectly relates to decorating a ledge in a front entrance. 

Although there appears to be no ledge above the door, the idea is there with shifting the focus.

Adorning high walls with various pictures and creating your own art gallery takes the focus off of the barren ledge.  The lighting provides even greater detail that doesn't go unnoticed.  This is a classic designer trick that shifts the focus from one place by bringing drama to another.

The idea of adding mill work to give the ledge a more defined look and purpose is another option.

I like the trim idea but not the little bits coming out the top, a clean look here is best.

Other things to think about when decorating this type of space:

  • If there is a hanging light fixture, the style and scale of the fixture should compliment the accessories you choose to place upon the ledge.

  • The entrance should set the tone for the decor style that will be carried throughout the home. For more on that topic, read one of my very first posts by clicking here.

  • Play this space up at holidays if you choose to decorate it at all.  At Christmas line the ledge  with garland, lights, a tree and other festive decor. But don't over do it!
If you have a ledge like this in your home or are a decorator with some further advice, please comment below to share with us your solution for this decor dilemma.

Looking for advice on your own home?  Contact me and I will help make your dreams for your home a reality.

Lastly, a big congratulations to Alison who won a pair of tickets to the Hoilday House Tours taking place this weekend! Have you bought your tickets yet?  Don't miss out, it's such a fun day. 

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