I get asked about this all the time. It's a tough one, but beautiful artwork is not only affordable, but can be CREATED for almost next to nothing. I beg of you: Please don't buy "art" at places like Home Goods or Kohls. You will end up with THE most generic pieces and how many paintings can you really stand of coffee cups or quotes like, "Live, Love, Laugh?" Yes, for the occasional mirror or something, great; but let's stay away from the "fine art" these big box retailers offer. Here are a few different ways to accessorize your home with artwork that not only enhances your house, but also expresses who you are (which is really the point anyway).
1. Make art. By far, THE most affordable way to decorate your home. Go to Michael's Craft Store, buy the largest canvas you can afford, some oil paints and a few brushes. Paint the damn thing. I'm not going to tell you what to paint or HOW but the less you think about it the better.
Now if the mere idea of this totally overwhelms you, then ask your kid to do it. Just your average 2 or 3 year old will do. I guarantee they will come up with something cool (do it outside, please, or put a huge sheet down. I didn't say this was mess-free). If you don't have a kid and can't fathom the idea of painting something on canvas, move to #2.
2. Frame cool stuff. It's not that hard to find frame worthy things. For instance, a beautiful decorative throw pillow case like this one from Crate & Barrel. And no, you don't frame the pillow, just the case (geez). They are usually sold separately anyway. This look tends to look better when done in 2's or 3's. Either double the same one or do 3 complementing patterns/prints in a series. The only trick is finding the right size frame.
Another cool thing to frame is place mats - try to find something really textural and interesting or with a graphic print. I have 2 of these hanging in my living room and it probably cost me $25 per piece including frame and place mat. You could also make this work with beautiful paper. Go to your local paper shop and find something you love and make it work!!! So much better than those Home Goods swirls and yucky floral bouquets.
3. Hang cool baskets, plates, woven trays or other unique items on the wall.
I love hanging baskets. They are textural and give a nice relaxed look. Plus, they are so easy and light to hang! Just hammer in a few small nails right into the basket weave. Also, you can find large ones that really fill a space well, or do them in a series. Good for kitchen/dining spaces.
4. Estate Sales. Estate sales are good for a few things. One of them is art work. And not even necessarily the art, but the frames. Framing nowadays is SO expensive. We scored this canvas piece at an Estate Sale and it's been a favorite for years.
5. Go to Etsy. Etsy is one of the best places to find artwork for cheap, whether it's canvas or prints. Case in point this beautiful shop, Lola Donaghue. The colors here are mesmerizing.
6. Affordable art from Society 6. Big selection of urban prints like this one.
When all else fails, go to IKEA. A good mantra for life. So now what excuses do you have to leave your poor walls barren and beige?? No need to spend thousands or even hundreds. Put some heart into it and see what you come up with. xo