Ideas for Inexpensive Art

Art is always something that I struggle with. It’s essential to how a room looks and feels, but it can be expensive and difficult to pick.  Lately we’ve been furnishing a lot of houses – our Farmhouse, the Porch House flip, and the Bryant House Airbnb – so I’ve been on the hunt for inexpensive art with high impact.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to invest in original art, but in the meantime, I’ve come up with a few easy ways to get great looking art in our homes for very little investment.
The Grit and Polish - Inexpensive Art Collage 2

ONE // DIY Botanical Art

This is something I first tried this summer and am totally obsessed with.  Botanical art is easy to create and it adds greenery to a room, which doesn’t need watering (thus, you can’t kill it ;)! To create a botanical, you need to pick leaves/flowers/weeds and then press them in a book for a week or until they are dry.  I framed mine in simple clip frames on top of thick, watercolor paper.  I love how you can customize botanicals for your own home by picking local greenery or things that have special significance. For instance, when Daphne was born, I picked sweet peas out of our yard at the Farmhouse, where she was born.

TWO // Framed Etsy Art

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but I love to buy prints from artists on Etsy and frame them in inexpensive frames.  A few of my go-to artists are Clare Elsaesser and Lisa Golightly and I buy my frames from IKEA or Target in white, black, or brass.  You really can’t go wrong with this formula.

THREE // Clipboard Art

Clipboards can make for very inexpensive frames.  At the Farmhouse, we clipped alphabet cards onto small clipboards and hung them for a large display.  I bought our cards on Etsy, but you could also find postcards, photos (think Instamax/Polaroid style), prints, or really just about anything else to hang on a clipboard.

FOUR // Online Image Gallery Print

Over the years, we have hung tons of photos from Costco’s free image galleries.  Their prints are really reasonably priced ($2 for an 8″x10″ up to $10 for a 20″x30″).  And though I haven’t tried it yet, I’ll likely buy a $15 print from Jenny’s Print Shop and print it at Costco as well.  Ashley also pointed me in the direction of free images from MET Museum and the Audubon, which I’m eager to try out.

FIVE // Vintage mirrors

Vintage mirrors are a wonderful way to bring in a large hanging for relatively little dollars.  I pick up my vintage mirrors at antique stores, Craigslist, and even my parent’s giveaway pile.

SIX // Historical House Photos

I love finding historical photos of our homes.  We’ve found some from the local archives and also gotten some from previous owners.  They are such a fun ‘conversational piece’ so I like hanging them where guests can see.

Do you have any more ideas for inexpensive art?  I’d love to hear them!

xoxo

-Cathy

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9 Comments

Comments

  1. Would you mind sharing where the bunny print on blue background can be found? Thanks!

    • it’s a 1903 magazine cover by Frank S. Guild. I found it on Costco’s image gallery but unfortunately they don’t appear to have it anymore. Google “Frank S Guild” and you’ll find the image elsewhere

  2. I love all the inexpensive downloadable art that exists now. I’ve had really great luck at thrift stores for original oil painting and other great art. I also like to find magazine pages to frame. I have some really beutiful prints that I’ve cut out of Vogue magazine and framed in vintage 8×10 gold frames for $2 from thrift stores.

  3. LOVE this post! Exactly what I needed in my life!

  4. I love this post. The archive photos is a favourite. Our town’s archives were an unexpected treasure trove. I found the general store where my husband worked as a teenager with a horse and buggy parked out front and a blacksmith shop that’s still standing in our local town. I would add don’t neglect your famiy’s archives. I had two historic family photos–one of my great grandfather driving a team of horses pulling a logging sleigh and one of my husband’s great grandfather hitching up a team of horses to pull a hay wagon. The similar subject matter of our four images tells a really meaningful personal story.

    I think also think beyond pictures or paintings for art. The mirror is a great example. I’ve also used vintage hats and enamelware basins as art.

    BTW, I bought the alphabet cards after seeing them on your blog. They arrived this week, and I’m so excited to put them up in our new nursery!

  5. I love that Costco art link, what a gold mine! Thanks for the round up.
    One of my other favorites is hanging pretty fabric around a wood frame (like a stretched canvas), and putting wrapping paper in a frame. Good way to fill up a space with pattern.

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