In college I had a roommate with a huge record collection, and I loved everything about playing those records: sifting through the colorful albums for something to play, the sound of little pops and crackles in the older vinyl, switching the record over every twenty minutes — even packing them all up in milk crates for moving was kind of special.

If I had to pick a favorite thing about records, it would probably be the warmth of their sound, but album art comes in a close second. Cramped cassette and CD covers never worked as well, and although I still pay some attention to album art with digital music, I rarely spend any time looking at an album cover when I select it in iTunes.

Enter: the LP as decor.

LP Triptych
It drives me crazy that I forgot to straighten the albums before taking this photo, but we'll all have to live with it.

The triptych of album art above the cabinet in our dining room is probably my favorite “vignette” in our home. I change it up every few months, and recently I picked out these albums to brighten up the space for summer.

In the current rotation are all recent thrift-store finds: Sounds Terrific, a compilation from RCA featuring the grammatically troubling perennial favorite, “Music to Watch Girls By;” James Taylor’s Flag; and Elton John’s Leather Jackets, whose back cover is almost too good to be true:

Leather jackets, indeed.
Leather jackets, indeed.

This is just a little step up from propping the albums up on the record player, like I did in college, but its still a super affordable way to add some visual interest. Album frames cost only about $10 apiece, and I have a lot of fun sifting through $1 or $2 records in thrift stores, picking out my favorite album art. Whenever I’m ready for a change, I just thumb through my own (small) record collection or hit up a thrift store for a new display for under $5. Not bad!

July 5, 2011


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