Original art costs money but there are multiple ways we can adorn our walls with things we love on a much smaller budget, and they don’t include buying a canvas with a flower or a sunset on it at your local department store. Today I decided to put together all my favourite and most interesting tips to fill your walls with art without compromising on quality and style.
Tip 1: Museum shops for prints and posters
Whenever I go to a museum I love spending time and browsing in a museum shop. Most of them have a wonderfully curated selection of books, home decor items and artwork, such as posters and prints. My favourite shops include Tate Modern, V&A, Design museum. Many museums, such as National Portrait gallery and V&A also have a Print on Demand service where you can choose from an extensive database of artwork and print to the size you need. A good thing is Museum shop always reflects its’ exhibits collection, so you can easily choose the ones that are closer to your interests and style and you get a shop tailored to your tastes.
Tip 2: Postcards
Similarly, museums are a great source here. I always end up buying my favourite images and display them around the house. You can even frame them. But I like positioning on book shelves, mantelpieces or attaching them to a pin board. It’s a very easy and really cheap way to add character and personality to your space and reveal it to others. I also found that small boutiques are a good place to find random interesting postcards that they sometimes create to market their collections.
The wooden postcard company (as the name suggests!) make postcards out of wood. They have beautiful designs and are too good to be just postcards.
Tip 3: Buy art on your travels
Whenever we are on holidays somewhere I love looking out for small, individual, artisan shops. You can usually come across local artists that sell their work at much more affordable prices than what you would find in London. My latest favourite finds were a print I bought in small art shop in Venice for 80 euro and a print I bought in Lyme Regis for £19, where I discovered Molesworth & Bird pressed seaweed art prints. This takes me to my next tip.
Tip 4: Favourite photos
As we carry around camera with us all the time and have multiple editing tools available to us, it is now easier than ever to fill your walls with your own photos. Most recently I took loads of photos on our trip to Venice and a picturesque town of Burano. Photos of architecture look particularly good as part of an art wall. Or why not blow it up to a huge size and make a centre piece out of it? Just steer clear of a wall of selfies or babies on canvases. Your friends won’t be able to tell that they are amateur photos and personal connection will provide an opportunity to have engaging conversations about your travels.
Tip 5: More than just art
Plates, masks, vases, candles can be an original and a much cheaper way to decorate your walls. Take a look at one of my favourite examples here – an art wall in a Ferm Living house.
A plate, even an expensive one, will still cost a lot less than an original piece of art. I have came across these amazing plates by artist Laetitia Rouget.
Dark room also make great wall plates in the style of Bauhaus.
How about masks by Hay? Not for everyone, I know, masks can be a bit creepy. But I once saw a display of several masks on a dark grey wall and it looked fantastic.
Some time ago I came across these lovely little ceramic vases by Norwegian brand Ment at Scandinavian Touch shop in Whitstable and loved the look and originality of the idea. I am planning to find a place for it on one of my walls!
Another non-arty object that I really like on the walls is a candle holder. Ferm living makes beautiful ones.
This is an alternative by Hay.Tip 6: Kids pictures
A bit of a cliche but I think they are lovely! I am still to persuade my kids to do some for me. Find the best ones or give a project to do to your kids in the colours and mediums that would go with your home and display them. A bit of naive art will brighten up your hope and will be putting a smile on your face.
Tip 7: Charity shops and antique markets
Whenever I have a chance I like checking out a few charity shops. One of the best tips I discovered is charity shops are a great place to look for cheap frames. They can be much better quality that what you would buy on a high street as a lot of them look like they have been made to order in framing shops. They are also older, so they have that slightly weathered look that I like and they are good for art walls where you would be mixing and matching frames.
Tip 8: Go on an art course
This one is not for everyone of course, but one of the most satisfying ones. There is nothing more pleasing that displaying something you have created yourself. I have done quite a few art courses over the years. Before kids when I lived in London I was a frequent student at London City Lit that offers a huge variety of courses for all interests, not just art. My favourite ones were life drawing (I even managed to sell one of my charcoal nude drawings) and printmaking where we got to try a number of printmaking techniques. Search for art courses available in your local area. A local art or a printmaking studio can also be a good place to find inexpensive original art created by the students.
If you don’t feel very creative yourself, but have a friend who does art as a hobby, ask them if they could gift you one of their works (or you could offer to buy). They will be pleased to see your appreciation!
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