Vinyl records are great because they’re tangible and sound wonderful, but let’s be honest—they’re also really fun to display in your home. If you need a little inspiration, I’ll provide you with a list of ideas on how to display album covers in your house or apartment that will look so awesome, you’ll be the envy of all your fiends.
How to Display Album Covers
Let’s begin with the simplest way you can display your vinyl record album covers: an easy to use record stand!
Small Record Stand (or Now Playing Stand)
So you pull out your favorite record. You throw it onto the turntable. You pick up your tonearm and drop the stylus into the groove. But here’s the big question: what do you do with the vinyl album cover?
Well, of course you could lay it down on your cabinet or stand. Or maybe you could hold it the entire time, perusing the back cover or liner notes.
Those are all fine ideas, of course, but I prefer to prop my album cover next to my turntable when I’m playing my album. As you can see in the photo below, I have a wood block with two openings inside it—one for thinner album covers, and one for bigger album covers (think bulkier gatefolds).
When your record is spinning on the turntable, it makes for both a practical and aesthetically pleasing display. I’m also a fan of Now Playing (or Now Spinning) vinyl record stands too. They do the exact same job as the one I use, only here you get to enjoy the visual signage that explicitly states why the album cover is resting inside the stand—because the record is spinning on the turntable.
No matter which one you opt for, you really can’t go wrong.
Prop Your Record Up Against a Wall
If you don’t want to spring for a record stand, why not just prop your record up against a wall—especially if you have a shelf that’s connected to the wall?
If you’ve ever checked out my Devoted to Vinyl channel on YouTube, then you no doubt have noticed what’s in the background of my videos. In every video, I feature a different set of four records I own that are propped up behind me. These records are simply sitting on a green shelf and are carefully balanced against the wall.
So how do you display vinyl album covers on the wall? Well, I’ll get into more elaborate ways to do it later (like record frames), but if you’re looking for a no frills option, I definitely recommend just propping them up against the wall.
Display Covers Inside an Ikea Kallax
My favorite (and very affordable) way to store my vinyl records is inside an Ikea Kallax shelf that I put together myself. However, one of my favorite ways to display my album covers also involves a Kallax.
What I like to do is quite simple. Once the Kallax is built, I store all of my records by alphabet and by genre. Once I have my records installed to my liking (as you can see below, each 12” x 12” cube holds dozens and dozens of records), I then take out one record for display inside the square cube. And since I have installed strip lights in my curio, it makes for a very attractive vinyl record display.
Buy a Record Frame
So how do you hang album art on the wall? You purchase a record frame! This is probably the most cool and sophisticated way to display your vinyl record album covers, because once they’re framed, it truly looks like framed art.
A record frame will class up your record display room, and allow your records to be seen at a higher level. If you put your album cover inside of a black frame, and hang it on a white wall, your album art will really “pop.” And if you hang a collection of the album covers together on the same wall, it’ll definitely be a conversation starter when friends and family come over.
The great thing about a record frame is that they’re easy to find. Not only can you buy them at various places online, but you can also pick them up at places like Hobby Lobby and Michaels.
Buy or Build a Floating Record Wall Shelf
Earlier, I mentioned you could prop your records up against a wall by sitting them on a desk or shelf. But this option takes that idea to the next level.
Here, you would buy (or build) a record shelf (sort of akin to floating wall shelves) and attach them to your wall. Then, you’re able to slot in a record (or two or three, depending on the width of the shelf). And just like that, you have an awesome record display!
So what makes this a better option than the record frame, you may ask? Well, it’s all a matter of taste, but here are my thoughts. I think a record frame is great for anyone looking for the “framed art” look. If you’re used to hanging paintings or art prints on the wall, and you essentially want to do the same with your vinyl records, you’ll want to go with a record frame.
But, I think the open air floating record shelves are ideal for this reason—it’s MUCH easier to change out your album cover art. With these shelves, you’ll have super easy access to your album covers.
Tired of looking at that Madonna album cover and want to switch it out for Prince? Just grab and it make the switch. You won’t have to fumble around with grabbing a record frame off the wall, opening the back cover, removing the old album cover, and installing the new cover.
How Do You Display Records Without Damaging Them?
Whether you want to display your individual vinyl record (perhaps because it’s a picture disc vinyl record) or your album cover, here are some quick tips you should keep in mind to avoid damage.
1) Wear Gloves
This is such a simple thing, but it can really help in the end—especially if you’re handling used records and album covers that have existed for decades (and perhaps over half a century). Our hands contain oils, and the last thing you want to do is get oils (let alone finger prints) all over your vinyl record or album cover.
2) Store Your Records Properly
Before you can display your vinyl or album covers, you need to make sure you store them properly. This is important, because improperly storing your records can cause ringwear on your album covers—and this will hurt your enjoyment of viewing your album cover when you pull it out for display.
Ringwear happens when too much pressure is applied to the vinyl record when it sits inside the album jacket (album cover). To fix this, I recommend buying some outer record sleeves and permanently storing the vinyl record behind the album cover, not inside it.
Also, be sure to store your records vertically, not horizontally. You never want to stack your records like you would stack CD cases or hardcover books.
3) Be Mindful of the Temperature
Try to always store your records and album covers in a temperature controlled room. Try not to let extreme weather or temperatures come into contact with your record collection.
Be mindful about humidity levels, and do your absolute best to not let water (specifically rainfall or flood water) come into contact with your records or album covers. Water can not only lead to permanent damage of your vinyl collection, but can lead to mold appearing on your album covers as well.
Start Displaying Your Records Today
So how do you display album covers? Well, as we discussed today, you have tons of options. From a simple “Now Playing” record stand to more sophisticated record frames to even a DIY record wall shelf, displaying your album covers has never been more simple or fun!
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