Affordable Artwork: Where to Find it & When to DIY

Hello Hello!  Happy Hump Day!

Who is ready for the weekend?!  It is still a blistering 90 degrees here in Ohio and I am so over it.  I finally got my mind and home decor shifted into the fall season, and it’s time the weather do the same!

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I quit my full time job in sales.  The decision was mostly based on regaining my sanity and getting my life back, but also in the hopes of growing my blog and interior styling business.  As much as I am LOVING this time off, the fact is we own a home, I won’t give up my truck, and well, my savings won’t pay the bills forever.

I’m happy to report I picked up a new gig that is only 5 minutes from my home and allows much more free time and flexibility to pursue this home decor & DIY obsession.  This week I am celebrating my freedom by thrifting everyday and styling up every nook and cranny of our home.

As I walk through my home and take mental notes of what is missing the most, it becomes blatantly obvious; artwork on the walls.  The walls aren’t completely bare, but the few that are properly adorned do nothing but highlight the large empty spaces I have yet to fill.

Part of the problem stems from so many years of apartment living.  The threat of fines for the smallest of nail holes meant avoiding any wall decor that couldn’t be held by a 3M sticky strip.

Second part of the problem is the cost.  When I started looking at artwork for our home it felt as though I had two choices:

A) Pay a ridiculous amount of money for original, unique art that I will keep forever.  I have what could be called design ADD– I like to change up my decor more often than most.  Paying a large sum of money for a piece I would most likely move or change within a few months just doesn’t make sense for me.

B) Pay more money than I would like for mass produced artwork that looks good, but is also hanging in hundreds of other homes across the country.  Do I really want to pay $100 for a piece of art that I will see in my neighbor’s home?  Not so much.

So what’s the answer?  How do you source artwork affordably?  Below are my four favorite ways to find good artwork for less money.  Best of all, the end result is unique, one of a kind art that you aren’t going to see in every home you visit!

Top 4 Sources for Affordable Artwork:

Download Free Printables:

A quick Google search for “Free Art Printables for the Home” will bring up thousands of choices to peruse.  If you know the direction of your decor, including key words like “cactus” or “mountains” in your search will help narrow down your results.

The best part of free printables is obvious– they are free!  Quickly download to your computer, then print from an office supply store such as Office Depot or a local UPS Store.  Price will vary depending on size and color, but I can tell you I have never paid for than $20 for a print, and that includes large scale, full color options!

The NASA website recently released free downloadable posters celebrating the Voyager.  Download your preferred image in PDF format and submit to a local printer.  I went through my local UPS store- not only did they have the 18″ x 24″ poster printed in a matter of hours, it only cost $16!

I used the first image below as hallway decor in a recent client project, as she loves astronomy and science.  The Grand Tour poster has such great color and retro vibes.  It would look great in a home office along with a few mid century modern accents.

The Painted Hive, an incredible home decor & DIY blog offers free printables in large scale (24″ x 36″) of a heron and a crane.  Not only are these beautiful images free to download, but this blogger even offers step by step instructions for how and where to print the images.  Click here to get the details and how you can print these beauties for around $20 each.

birds

Vintage Artwork:

I know- no surprise that I would have to highlight thrifted/vintage shopping as a source for artwork.  The upside to vintage is the one of a kind aspect.  It would be extremely hard to source the exact same painting or artwork that you find at a yard sale, thrift store, or antique shop.  As is the case with any vintage shopping, be sure to carefully inspect the piece for knicked frames, scratches, or wear to the artwork itself.

I picked up this mountain landscape scene at Goodwill for $10.  It is an oil on canvas, and mounted in what I am sure was a very expensive frame.  The canvas is starting to sag slightly with wear, but that minor detail cannot be seen when the painting is up on a wall or mantle.

GoodwillMtnArt

I was so excited about this thrifted find that I started revamping my mantle as soon as I got home.  Our den it styled in rustic colors, vintage camping gear, and a gallery wall of photos from our previous mountain climbing adventures.  This painting was the perfect addition to the room!GoodwillArt2

Antique stores always tend to be higher in price, but an excellent way to source one of a kind art.  While the prices may be higher than thrifting and yard sales, it is still possible to get prices that are much less than standard, mass produced art from home decor stores.

I found this unique, mid century era painting in a vintage shop I frequent.  I wanted to buy it the first day it came in, but I held back. I mean, that is a pretty retro color palette to commit to!  However, about a month later I was STILL thinking about it, so I went in and splurged.  I purchased a few smaller items during my visit and asked the owner for a discount for buying in bulk…never hurts to ask right?  She took $10 off the painting, making it $50.  More than I like to spend on wall art, but the size and one of a kind style were worth it to me.

Best of all I now have the inspiration and excitement to tackle our guest bedroom.  Paint samples are up on the wall, and I hope to have a full design preview together next week to share here on the blog!

CindaLouArt

Skyline Art Editions:

I came across Skyline Art after discovering the company offered exclusive prints from artist Spring Whitaker.  Her paintings feature animals adorned with flower crowns and bright colors.  Rosie, who you can see below, popped up in my Instagram feed one day and I knew she belonged in my home office.

SpringArtWhen I placed my order, I was a little nervous the print wouldn’t compare to the actual painting.  Ordering something like this online is always a risk.  Skyline didn’t disappoint- my print arrived quickly and the quality is outstanding.  Every color and brushstroke is beautifully displayed in the print.

The best part of Skyline are the options- you can order a print in any size, and also have the option for custom framing.  Since artwork is always on a tight budget for me I ordered just the print and sourced the frame from Hobby Lobby during one of their 50% off sales.

Another great aspect of Skyline is the variety of art available.  You can search by artist, by style, or even by specific color.

DIY Artwork:

Much like vintage art, I couldn’t feature a post without sharing the uber budget friendly DIY option!  In fact I could dedicate an entire post to DIY wall art, as the options truly are endless.  For the purposes of this post, I am sharing two of my favorite budget friendly DIY art options.

Book Cover Art

A bookworm for as long as I can remember, I have always had a place for buying books.  E-versions just aren’t the same!  It can be hard to find vintage books with covers still in tact, but the ones I have found often are a piece of artwork themselves with bright colors and beautiful illustrations or photographs.

You may have seen this image in my recent client home makeover; with her passion for astronomy and science, I used two vintage book covers as artwork for her home office.

OfficeDetailAfter

While perusing old books for the client project, I came across this book I had to get for myself.  I don’t get to travel nearly as much as I would like, so I am drawn to books and decor from other countries.  This book on the Seven Wonders of the World has a beautiful cover, as well as some great images inside the book that I can use for additional artwork.

BookArt

This one will be added to my office gallery wall.  My home office doubles as my craft and sewing space, and because of that I wanted a wall of items that made me feel inspired and sparked my creativity.  Currently the wall is still a large empty space of white, but I am ALMOST there!  Downside of shopping vintage is that it can take time to find just the right pieces to complete a space.

DIY Canvas Art with Leftover Paint

Also stemming from a client project, this DIY is an excellent option when trying to fill a large empty space on a small budget.  I bought  a 24″ x 36″ canvas from Michael’s during a 70% off sale- it cost me only $7!  I used painters tape and a level to mark off my design, then randomly applied three different colors in each space.

This project is a great way to use up paint left over from previous projects.  I used an eggshell finish interior paint, an exterior satin paint, and a tube of metallic gold craft paint.  The three different paints added uneven texture and brush stroke which enhanced the look of the final product.

CanvasArt3

In this project we used the large scale art to cover an unsightly grey utility panel.AptAfter2

Shall we recap?

Top 4 sources for affordable artwork:

  • Download Free Printables
  • Look for Vintage Artwork- Yard Sales, Thrift Stores, Antique Stores
  • Skyline Art Editions
  • DIY Artwork- Book Cover Art & DIY Canvas Wall Art

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!  What type of artwork are you finding for your home?  Any DIY suggestions I can add to my list?

Alisa

 

6 Comments

  1. Helpful hint when going with posters. Have them dry mounted so they won’t ripple or tear over time. I take mine to JoAnn Fabrics or Michael’s. Poster size usually runs about $15.

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  2. Have you tried local art associations? They can be fertile ground for discovering highly talented local artists. They often host shows or open studio tours 2 or 3 times a year and prices are generally far more reasonable than you might think.

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