Eight Ways to Display Artwork on a Budget

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Displaying artwork in your home does not have to be a pocket-burner. In fact, most of the artwork in my home cost less than $25 each. Let's talk about easy ways to add art, culture, themes and color to your home for a lady on a budget:

1. Art Prints: purchasing prints of original paintings happens to be very cost-effective. The images above are prints, even though you can't tell by looking at them. The left image on the top pic came from a bookstore in Northern Wisconsin. The one on the right was from an art auction on our honeymoon cruise. Just for attending the auction, each person received an art print for free. The bottom image shows three framed images we have hanging in our son's room. Each frame contains a print we bought at an art store in Florida, supporting local artists. If you can't tell, the theme in our son's room (and most of the house) is nature-centered, and these prints pull that theme together easily.

2. Make friends with artists: this one just sort of happened by default, but my best friend happens to be an uber-talented watercolorist. She has gifted us several original paintings and prints that we excitedly hang from our walls. Her mother also gifted us an original watercolor that hangs in our bedroom. These beautiful, hand-painted images are some of the most cherished gifts we've ever received.

3. Scour vintage and consignment shops: The painting above was purchased for $4 at a local consignment shop. This picture hangs in our office, which is painted the same blue and yellow in the picture. Score!

4. Frame art greeting cards: This is a close-up of an image from above. Not only is this a print of a watercolor, but it also came in greeting card form. Some spectacular art can be bought in greeting card form for usually around $1 to $5. They often fit perfect inside 4x6 or 5x7 matted frames.

5. Book pages: Sometimes book pages are beautiful enough to frame, especially special vintage finds. Sometimes, even children's book pages are whimsical enough to display. Above is a garland of pages from a $0.10 thrift store book, hanging in our son's playroom. Who could resist that outrageous cow anyhow?

6. Mirrors as art: Mirrors have a magical way of adding dimension and extra perceived space to your home. This mirror anchors our side-by-side dining room windows. The frame also has a beautiful ornate design with an antique-y finish. Etched, vanity, or other artistic mirrors make wonderful substitutes for works of art in your home.

7. Printed book pages on Etsy: I purchased the prints above from a local brick and mortar handmade shop, but the artist also sells on Etsy. I bought three matching 8-1/2" x 11" frames and three coordinating vintage-y scrapbook paper pages to display the prints in. (Sorry I can't remember the artist off-hand). These food-themed beauties hang in my kitchen, of course.

8. Pretty fabric or papers also make lovely frame-worthy art. I've seen a lot of vignette-style arrangements of framed scrapbook paper. In fact, I framed some ornate Oriental fabric for my sister for Christmas as part of an Oriental home decor-themed gift. This can be a great way to anchor the colors you have chosen for any particular room in your house, especially when you can't find any artwork to match.

As a note: most of the actual frames in my home were picked up at Hobby Lobby on their 1/2-off days, which happen just about every other week.

Happy decorating!

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