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I measured. I taped. I stepped on a lost nail weeks later. Then I called Julianne Johnson. Julianne, four-year Visual Associate at Room & Board Seattle, is your everyday design mind-blower and all-around style expert. So when in need of some expert advice on how to style walls, I asked her about frames, shelves and ledges, placement and personalization.

“There’s a playfulness in what you can do with your walls,” she says. “Most everyone has art or photos they wish were out from under the bed. The notion of getting those things you love out in view and not having a lot of rules around that is fun and inspiring, but it can also feel intimidating. So I use the guide: if you love it, then it’s going to look good.”

Make it personal

“What goes in frames is an emotional process. I feel like I use my walls to display my curiosities of the moment. Personally, I let myself respond to color; I’m attracted to whatever the most colorful thing is and I use that to set the tone. Sometimes I’ll make my own stuff! Right now, I’m experimenting with white – painting whites on whites in a textural way.”

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Mantel shelves over Woodwind bookcases creates a modern spot for artwork, photos and more.

Basic can be best

“Sometimes we try to be flashy or tell so much about our personality through one design choice. The best thing can sometimes be the most basic thing. I constantly find myself reaching for our black and white Profile frames. They have a clean, gallery-like quality. No matter what you put in them, it’s going to look right. They’re like that perfect pair of jeans.”

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Create an in-home gallery with our black Profile frames. Our Oskar chair with a little greenery gives this space an inviting spot to sit.

Mix & match materials

“My favorite trick right now is to mix and match materials with our new Border and Biblio shelves. You can choose your materials, and they’re deep enough that you can place trinkets and textiles, not just frames. I’ve also been using them as mini pieces of furniture – either of them can make an instant nightstand!”

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Our Biblio shelves are available with your choice of white, stainless steel or natural steel brackets paired with either a white, glass or walnut shelf.

Fill an entire wall

“I use Trace ledges to fill an entire length of a wall. It gives a nice, strong line to start with and then you can lean or place your items on them. I love the casualness of leaning a piece of framed art.”

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We love how the Trace shelves mimic the shape of the Easton sectional to create continuity in this living room.

What’s trending?

“A high mix of materials and organic groupings, which are both easy to do in your own home. The overall lack of formality makes it fun to do asymmetrical groupings or just one large piece of art in a frame.”

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The sleek look of the Smith media cabinet is highlighted by an organic arrangement of Manhattan stainless steel frames. Incorporating a TV into the frame wall adds to the modern appeal.

The last word

Get the barriers out of the way and find the confidence to play around. Whether that’s mapping frames out on the floor first, or coming into the showroom to get some ideas, you just have to let yourself go.

“Our customers are so cool,” says Julianne. “They’re fun and edgy, but grounded.” The same could be said about how she styles walls with shelves, frames and ledges.

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Trace picture ledges, slightly less deep than Trace shelves, pave the way for a personal grouping of frames that are easy to swap out.

Keep the inspiration going and see how other Room & Board customers are styling their walls in our Customer Photo Gallery. Or take advantage of our free design services – expert advice, floor planning and furniture recommendations are available to you at any Room & Board store, over the phone or at roomandboard.com.

Photos by Room & Board

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