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Green Rookie: Wall Art on the Cheap

8/7/2009 3:41:20 PM

Tags: green rookie, green decor, etsy, wall art, frames, art, photos, magazines

For the year and a half I’ve lived in my house, I’ve left a few walls woefully unadorned. So, the past month or so (admittedly, in preparation for a visit from my family), I’ve been on a mission to add a few decorative touches to my walls—without spending a ton of cash or snagging a cart full of personality-less items from big box stores.

Here’s what I’m using:

Old frames

I scored a stack of sturdy wooden frames in various shapes and sizes from a secondhand store—they cost a few dollars at most, a small fraction of what I would have paid for even a couple of new ones.

All of the frames were in good condition but had slightly different wood hues. I could have left them as they were for a display with character, but instead I chose to paint them all white.

I am, however, leaving some of the original artwork from the frames in place, including two old silhouettes on linen and a wacky painting of a rather petulant-looking child.

painter frames
Painting secondhand store frames was easy and didn’t cost a penny, thanks to white, no-VOC semigloss paint left over from an earlier painting project. Photo By Julie Collins.

Travel finds

My parents have stopped buying random souvenirs when they travel and instead look for small pieces of art that represent the places they’ve visited and support local artists. That’s why I’m framing a colorful little painting they bought for me from a street artist they met on their travels in South America. Next to it, I’ll display some postcard-size paintings I bought at my favorite sites in Florence.

travel art
Framing postcards and small paintings from your travels is an inexpensive way to support local artists and display pieces that have a story. Photo By Julie Collins.

Etsy art 

I love Etsy and all the great creations you can find on the site from independent artists who are passionate about their craft. I scored a terrific print (about blogging and tea, two of my favorite things!) from Made By Girl for my office for $9.50 and another wonderful drawing of spoons by evajuliet for my kitchen for less than $20.

Want to be even greener with your Etsy purchases? Buy from local artists on the site to reduce the miles your new artwork has to be shipped.

etsy art
This print, created by artist Made By Girl, was purchased from Etsy and is displayed in a frame from a secondhand store. Photo By Julie Collins.

Botanical prints

I’m still on the lookout for the perfect old calendar or book, but as soon as I find it I’m going to cut out my favorite pages from it to fit in some of my freshly painted frames. The entire projects costs pennies compared to the price you’d pay for a framed and matted botanical print at many stores.

Old covers

I recently hung two The Saturday Evening Post covers in my office and have been on the lookout for more when I stop at my favorite secondhand shops. If magazines aren’t your thing, what about framing album or book covers instead?

magazine cover art
Vintage magazine or album covers add personality. If you spend time digging through stacks at antique stores and flea markets, you can find some real gems. Photo By Julie Collins.

Movie posters

I’ll admit, the movie posters we found recently aren’t necessarily for my favorite movies. But that’s because we’re going to hang them in the basement, which is my honey’s domain. Inexpensive movie posters (check with your local theater to see if they have any laying around, and you might get them for free) are easy to find and cost very little to display.

Personal photos

I’m no pro, but I love taking photographs. I’ve decided a few of my favorites are frame-worthy, so I’m going to order prints of them online (for less than a dollar each) to frame in our bathroom.

What other inexpensive art options do you display? Please share!



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