Adding Art to Your Home on a Budget
I love art. I recently put my first, adult home and living room together and after I had everything in place, I realized how bare my walls were. It is amazing how a single piece of art can tie an entire room together, and truth be told, bare walls make me sad. I love seeing some form of expression on display in a house, but I understand why walls go blank especially in new homes. Art is typically not a necessity, and it can be expensive setting up a house. It’s easy to fall into the mindset that art is too expensive and to wait until you’re in better financial place to dress up your walls. I’m not saying it’s not but it doesn’t always have to be. Being that I recently assembled my little art collection on a limited budget, I had to get creative when it came to finding pieces I loved and could afford.
THRIFT STORE FINDS
I have found a bunch of fun pieces of art at my local thrift stores for insanely affordable prices. The most I have ever paid for a piece of art in my thrifting history is $75 for a big, beautiful chartreuse velvet couch my roomie and I lovingly referred to as Bea. You may not like every piece, but there is usually a large selection of donated artwork priced decently. You will find floral still lifes, framed posters and so much more. You can also find empty frames to use with your personal creations. All in all, thrift stores are always a good place to hit up first if you're looking for something specific and on a strict budget.
GARAGE AND ESTATE SALES
Chances are you live relatively close to some form of garage or estate sale. I like to check out the local Craigslist “garage sale” ads under for sale. While you may not have great luck at a garage sale, you will more likely find an assortment of art at an estate sale, though that doesn’t mean I haven’t found some art I adore at local garage sales. I went to pick up a tv console listed under the free section on craigslist and when I pulled up the lady who had given it away was setting up a garage sale. I looked through her different goods and found a stack of still life paintings and found one I was drawn to. It was a simple still life of lovely pink apples, or what I thought was apples, when my boyfriend pointed out, much to my delight, they were, in fact, pink donuts. That painting hangs right by my side of the bed and not only I love it because of donuts (a lot) I love it because it was the first piece of art my boyfriend and I both were immediately drawn too and bought (a whopping $25).
Gotta love Etsy and supporting artists trying to make a name for themselves. A great thing of Etsy is that you can any type of art you can think of. I stumbled upon an artist who I have followed for years now, and I still dream of buying one of her busts one day. There are artists from all backgrounds who sell their originals and prints for varying costs. I’ve seen small prints for as little as $10 and originals for thousands. There’s something for everyone on Etsy, so if you're prettying up your walls on a budget, it is a great source.
What’s that you say? You don't know how to draw? A stick figure is all you can do? Well, can you tie a knot? Cut out shapes? Glue something to another something? If so, you are a born crafter and can create some amazing pieces of art to hang in your home. Just because you are not an artiste that doesn’t mean you can crank out some art you'd like to hang in your house. If you go on Pinterest, you will find a whole lot of ideas for making your craft-art. Right now textiles are so hot and ultimately easy to do for a starter. There are so many ways to go about creating your DIY art; the first step is just to jump in and find a project that speaks to you (and your budget).
To me, prints are such a broad, vague term for art. Whenever a classmate of mine asks where they can get their prints created, I usually ask “what kind of prints?” There are so many ways to find and get prints of all different mediums; they are an excellent way to fill your home with art. Most of the art in my house is either my creations or...you guessed it, prints. I only have about two originals created by an artist other than myself in my home, and I love each of my prints as if they were original as I think they all have their little character.
LOCAL ART SHOWS FOR EMERGING ARTISTS
People underestimate how much we need art and how prevalent it is. If you live in a town with more than 25 people, then chances are there is some form of art even going on near you, right under your nose, without even realizing it. I have participated twice in an event called Raw Artist that feature new and emerging artists and one show usually features at minimum 15 artists of all mediums. The last show I did had probably 30-45 artists on two floors and 400 people come. As an artist, I recommend other new artists to use this to dip your toe into the world of showing your art. As a patron of art, I recommend you look if there is an upcoming show in the future and buy a ticket in support of artist (they have to sell a certain amount of tickets or cover it themselves so support local artists!!) Every time I have gone it has been a blast, and I usually walk out with buying something beautiful and affordable to hang on my walls.
Right now, in my favorite cafe, there is a saturated, geometric painting of the skyline of Seattle on the mantel for $245 and I am debating with myself if I should walk in and buy it. The artist is Amber Leaders, and I’ve recently discovered her work from going in to pick up my favorite Artist’s Duet drink (it has espresso, espresso and oh, more espresso). I love the simple shapes and contrast she uses in each of her pieces and even want to get your teapot pieces as well. I believe in the success this artist will have, whatever that may be. Plus, $245 is extremely affordable for an original, good sized painting. And being that I believe in this artist's future, it's also an investment plus its reinforcing that what this artist is creating is beautiful. That in itself is a priceless feeling.
I LOVE engineer prints. They are 4ft by 3ft and come out looking so amazing. They print in grayscale, so I like to get an idea and convert the photo I am going to have printed up for art. I think they just look cool, plus at $20 you just can’t go wrong. You can also get engineer prints done in color as well, so it’s just to each their own. With an engineer print, you're getting a huge space to cover, and it looks cool ta-boot. But Parabo.press has taken it to the next level of awesome by offering a whole bunch of unusual and fantastic print options, I mean, they're printing on glass now!
PIY or Print It Yourself art is another category you can find on Etsy but deserves a special mention of its own. True, you can find downloadable art all over the web, but again, Etsy is my first spot to hit when I am looking for immediate art. PIY is great because you typically are purchasing the file at a reduced price. Just from searching for PIY in Etsy’s search function I found a watercolor portrait I love and would put in my home for $8. The prices are varied, but you have to take into account the cost of printing. When I purchase my PIY art, I usually will take it to a local print center and have it printed on a larger size and just better quality overall. Office Depot has a pretty good copy center usually (for posters and such) that is affordable. I’ve had heavy duty posters printed up for work, and it's always affordable. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to get your a large piece of art for under $50.
If you go to eBay right now and search for prints you are going to find a whole lot of vintage prints, some framed and some unframed, but all of them are reasonably priced. The best deal I saw was a set of two Victorian girl prints in beautiful vintage frames for $30 plus $10 for shipping so essentially $20 per peice of art and an easy way to fill your home with vintage prints quickly. You can even narrow it down and look for something you are hoping to find specifically. I have a love affair with vintage botanical anatomy prints. I think they are beautiful and scientific and I love when science merges with art. If you’re a nature lover like me and always looking for affordable art you love, do yourself a favor and search for botanical prints on eBay. You will find a plethora of art at a price your wallet will love.