Decorating With Shadow Boxes Will Instantly Upgrade Your Gallery Wall

Gallery wall of art frames.

LAUREN ZILLINGER FOR LAURA METZLER PHOTOGRAPHY

The phrase “shadow box” may make you think of displaying collections as a kid or showcasing memorabilia, but trust me, shadow box frames can look super stylish on a gallery wall, too. 

Recently, I ordered a set of affordable shadow box frames on Amazon and couldn’t be more thrilled with how they look in my space. I was initially inspired to grab the set after treating myself to a small original art piece from Kayce Hughes. I really wanted the soft blue piece I ordered to pop in its frame but didn’t want to shell out major cash for anything custom. Placing it in a petite shadow box with a sophisticated linen background fits the bill perfectly. The frame perfectly complements the other pieces on my gallery wall and draws the eye to the stunning swirled art.

Gallery wall of art frames.

LAUREN ZILLINGER FOR LAURA METZLER PHOTOGRAPHY

For the other frame, I went more of a DIY route. I can’t get enough of anything French and also love vintage finds, so I frequently search for cute Parisian artifacts on Etsy—glassware, art prints, and the like. When I stumbled upon a set of old French flashcards, I knew they would be perfect to display in the other shadow box.

While I don’t know much French, the flashcards obviously featured English translations as well, so I was able to curate the words I wanted to showcase accordingly—there would be nothing worse than framing a word only to realize it meant something unappealing. Here, you can see I opted to frame the words “to reflect,” “to decorate,” and “to recognize"—the set I ordered was entirely random, so these were the best of the bunch. 

Shadowbox next to coffee table books.

Courtesy of Sarah Lyon

I love that my piece is entirely unique and has that quirk factor that I enjoy when it comes to artwork. No, the story behind it isn’t anything super significant, but the finished product speaks to me and my aesthetic. I could definitely see making more of these in the future—the flashcard sets are pretty easy to source and are super affordable—and I love the idea of giving them as presents, too. 

Not sure what else to place in a shadow box? If you’re looking to go a bit off the beaten path and think beyond the typical ticket/playbill/wedding invite route, keep reading.

  • I really like the idea of framing a keychain. I’ve seen people do this to commemorate special hotels or trips.
  • Try adding pins to a shadow box. A designer brooch would look super chic, and you could easily remove it to wear on special occasions.
  • Or, add a black and white photo booth strip. This would make an adorable gift for a significant other.
  • You could also take a cue from this Chairish listing and frame a vintage bag that you no longer use frequently. Best of all, you can easily switch out what you choose to display over time—the shadow box is the art piece that keeps on giving.

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