No home or office looks complete without something on the walls. Sheesh, even your dentist and your local McDonald’s puts something on the walls to look at while you are sitting there dreaming of french fries and cheeseburgers!
You don’t want your home to look as sterile as an operating room; you want your home to have personality and reflect your tastes and your lifestyle. Where can you find something you love? Check out my list of resources here:
Online Resources for Affordable Art
I love The Design Network, because I can create mood boards and select furniture, lighting, rugs, and everything else a room needs besides artwork. It’s not just for designers! You can shop there, too.
Get on their mailing list—they have great sales! They have just about anything you want, from Smithsonian posters to giclee pieces, all in varying sizes. You can even “try on” some of the artwork over a sofa or other furniture to get an idea of scale.
Oh, boy! This is where you can find inexpensive (and lightweight) canvas reproductions, giclee prints, and other treasures. If you have a favorite artist, check here for their artwork. And who doesn’t love free shipping and Amazon Prime?
A great place to search for photographers and artists from all over the world. Follow those whose work you admire. If they post something you cannot resist, use their contact information to find out if you can purchase a poster of the piece.
Love the Mona Lisa, but know you won’t make it to the Louvre this year? You will find work from one of over 1,000 museums from all over the world. Excellent quality, and they will even frame it for you. Or, purchase an inexpensive poster, then have it framed at your local framing shop. 30 day return policy, too.
This is another goldmine of homemade work. Search for the subject you want (abstracts, botanicals, black and white photography, etc.) and you will find it here! And you save even more if you use Ebates!
Local Resources for Finding Affordable Artwork
Other than Home Goods (which is actually not a bad place to find art), where can you find something affordable right in town?
Create Photo Galleries of Your Own Photos
Yes, you CAN do it yourself! Search your phone, your digital camera, your Instagram. Find your faves and print them at your local Walgreens. Get some inexpensive frames in the same color family (eg., black) and frame all of them. Arrange them to your liking and hang! Great for a hallway, staircase, mantel, or above the sofa in the family room.
Local Artisans (art shows and festivals, small galleries, word of mouth, restaurants)
Attend those seasonal art shows and festivals. Here in Buffalo, we have the Allentown Art Festival every June. I bought my first piece of artwork here. You are bound to find an artist or photographer you like. And remember to check out restaurant walls! Many pieces are also for sale here. This is how many local artists get their name out there.
Thrift Stores, Consignment Stores and Vintage Shops
When you visit these places, keep your eyes peeled for artwork. Who knows—you might find an original Renoir!
Again, be open-minded about what might work in your home. You might find 3 subjects that will look great together (still lifes, portraits, old postcards).
Art Galleries and Museum
Don’t skip the gift shops when you hit a local art gallery or museum. If something caught your eye in the museum, buy a reproduction. It will remind you of your visit every time you look at it. I have a framed poster of The Marvelous Sauce in my dining room, and it reminds me of the fun I had looking at the chef’s face while tasting the Cardinal’s not-so-great concoction.
Using the name of your city and #photographer on Instagram, you may find some gems to give your home some local flair. Follow those photographers, look at their posts, and contact them if you see something that is just right for your living room!
Not the most interesting place to look, but they have art that is already framed and ready to hang. If you need something for over your sofa, and you are digging the artwork, go for it.
Unusual Places to Find Artwork
Custom Framing Shop
Here you’ll be able find artwork, in many cases, already framed. It’s also a place where local artists like to get exposure for their work, so you may find original art here, as well.
Create your Own
We all have cell phones, and so we all have cameras that we carry everywhere. Are there some shots that you would love to print? You can order the prints right from your phone by using Walgreens’ print service, and get the photos the same day. For extra artistic value, print some in black and white! Oooh!
And have you recently picked up a painting hobby? Why not mat and frame those, too? You could even create some watercolors or oils in your own decor colors, so your look will be cohesive. Aren’t you clever?
If you have children, simply mat and frame one of their masterpieces. Automatic heirloom!
There’s nothing like getting a bargain at a local auction house. Many fundraisers also feature silent or Chinese auctions. What a great way to pick up something unusual at a great price!
Old Local Maps
Have you been to your local historical museum lately? Check out their gift shop. They probably have prints of some old maps of your town or city. How fun to place one in the bathroom or office!
Art doesn’t have to be on paper. It could also just be a beautiful handmade quilt, hung on a dowel and placed on your wall. If you love quilts or quilting, this is a great way to add color and texture in a unique way to your home decor.
Did you find a beautiful kimono on your last trip to Asia? Why not use that as an unusual and colorful focal point to one of your rooms? Every time you look at it, it will remind you of that once in a lifetime trip.
Believe it or not, there are some museums and galleries that loan or rent their artwork to private homes. You could also ask a local artist if he or she would be willing to loan you a piece briefly for a party or an open house. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and you would not only flatter the artist, you would have bragging rights to owning an original!
Where have YOU found your favorite artwork? Post in the comments below, so we can get even more great ideas for finding affordable artwork for our homes and offices.