You don't have to be a millionaire aficionado to turn your home into an expertly curated, art-filled place. There are plenty of ways to brighten up your plain white walls on a budget. Start sprucing up your abode today by using these simple tips for bringing artwork into your living space.
BUY AFFORDABLE ART ONLINE
These days, building a personal art collection is easier than ever thanks to the burgeoning online art scene. Websites like Zatista, Saatchi Art, Minted, and Artspace provide ways for aspiring collectors or those just hoping to fill up an empty space to discover and buy affordable prints, paintings, and photography. If you're just starting your search, Apartment Therapy, Reader's Digest, Architectural Digest, and Better Homes & Gardens have each rounded up some great resources for finding a huge range of works by emerging and established artists at stellar price points.
INVEST IN PRINTS INSTEAD OF ORIGINALS
If you're not ready to make the leap for big budget original works, then buying prints and posters is a spectacular alternative. For a hundred bucks or less, prints are a smart way to cut costs while still achieving the joy of filling your home with works of artists you admire. Find prints at galleries, fairs and tradeshows, or even online. The website 20x200 offers an ever-growing collection of low-cost, unique prints in a variety of sizes. You can buy them framed, or visit your local shop with the prints to splurge for nice matting and frames.
BROWSE SECONDHAND VENUES
Scouring flea markets and other thrifty spots are fantastic ways to uncover original art, even insanely lucky finds like an Andy Warhol childhood sketch -- worth $2 million, but purchased for $5. There's an art to the scavenge as much as the post-hunt decorating, and you can incorporate found objects into your home as much as actual art. Plus, one-of-a-kind artworks using noteworthy vintage or flea market treasures are bound to be great conversation starters when you're busy hosting fancy soirées in your newly art-decked home.
TURN YOUR OWN PHOTOS INTO ART
Turn meaningful photos, even those from your Instagram feed, into works of art through the plethora of online printing sites. The New York Times has some awesome suggestions for how to convert your vacation photos into all types of art -- from large, lightweight engineer prints and prints on metal through Parabo Press to fabric prints from SnapBox. Revolutionize your walls with your best Instagram shots through a framed Printstagram poster, a gallery display of snaps using Canvas Pop, or other wall art installation using one of these printing services.
UNLEASH YOUR INNER ARTIST
It's wonderful to support career artists, but we tend to forget it can be exciting to tap into our own creative energy. You can create art for your walls with little to no money or experience through shoestring budget DIY projects. Look to Pinterest or Apartment Therapy for artistic inspiration and helpful tutorials. Make it a weekend project with friends: Arm yourself with some inexpensive supplies and wine, and get crafty. Even if the end result isn't exactly what you anticipated, there'll be a fun story behind the piece now adorning your wall.
FRAME UNEXPECTED THINGS
Frames have an uncanny way of putting an artistic spin on just about anything. Instead of using a professional painting or photograph, try framing everyday items like a beautiful piece of wrapping paper or swatches of paint or fabric, and memorabilia like greeting cards or postcards to bring new life to something ordinary. Buy inexpensive frames at Target, Ikea, or HomeGoods, then get creative with how you fill them.
CREATE A REAL PINBOARD
One of the easiest ways to spice up a stark white wall on a small budget is through a common cork board. Go wild pinning up bold prints, postcards from travels, beautiful photographs, colorful magazine clippings, inspirational poems or quotes, found objects, and other odds and ends to create a visually compelling, ever-evolving work of art. Piece a few boards together (like these puzzle-shaped boards) or frame an oversized board or a few smaller ones and hang them gallery style for a stand-out wall design.
INCORPORATE UNIQUE FURNITURE OR PATTERNS
Throw blankets, pillows, vases, and woven and coiled bowls and baskets can be works of art in their own right, and make striking room statement pieces. You can find these on your travels or DIY to bring both art and memories into a room. Well-designed wallpaper, even of the temporary variety, and stencil painted walls are also eye-catching ways to incorporate art.
FIND HIDDEN TREASURES AT LOCAL COLLEGES
Hunt for drawings, paintings, photography, sculpture, screenprints, and other media through your local college art program. Universities are treasure troves for truly original art created by undergraduate or graduate-level fine-arts students. Keep an eye out for community events hosted by the school, and you might be able to negotiate directly with student exhibitors for appealing works.
WATCH FOR NEARBY OPEN ART STUDIO EVENTS
See if your city has an "open studios" event where artists invite people into where they work to stimulate sales. Similar to a university, you'll be able to discover distinctive works and build connections with the artists showcasing their work simultaneously. Hitting up these types neighborhood events generally make for excellent date nights or group outings as well.