Decorating on the cheap: artwork for pennies

  I tend to be rather fickle when it comes to my decorating.  I like what I like and I’m not going to follow a trend to decide how to “dress” my dining room, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to change the style and color palette of my home all the time.

  Because I know that, without fail, I’m going to want to throw everything out and start from scratch some time in the near future, I do my best to keep my decorating inexpensive.  One of the best ways I’ve found to do this is to scrimp on artwork.
Rethink your magazines:
  This picture came from a magazine.  It’s in a little bit of rough shape because it was hung in a bathroom in one of our previous places, but I still love it.  Keep in mind, if you’re afraid something looks too obviously magazine-y, you can always give it a tea bath to give it a little more texture.  Just be sure to be careful, magazine pages tear easily when they’re wet!
  I didn’t pay anything for the art in this picture.  My parents had a complimentary subscription to Good Housekeeping, so they sent it my way.  Good Housekeeping was celebrating 100 years, or 125 years or something and they included a vintage cover in every issue that year.  I pulled all 12 covers out, saved them and then picked my favorite 4.  This picture gets changed with the seasons.
Save your calendars:
  Calendars are expensive!  And typically we buy calendars that have images we like and that work with our decor, so why not make use of those pictures once the year is over?
  This framed print from an old calendar may not make the cut when I finish redecorating the bedroom, but only because it is too small for the wall I want it on.  I love the colors and I’m trying to find something similar that’s 4 times the size.
Go Online:
  If you have a decent quality photo printer, the internet can be your best friend.  If you don’t, then I guess you’re stuck waiting for one of the photo-printers at Office Max to introduce you.  Not as awesome as being able to print it out yourself, but still not a terrible situation.
  There are way too many sites where you can get high quality, royalty free images for me to try and list them all, but my personal favorite is Vintage Printables.
  This print in my office cracks me up every time I see it.  Honestly, what polar bear doesn’t need mittens?
  About half the artwork in my house right now is stuff I’ve printed off and framed.
Other hints:
  Matting is your friend.  A nice thick mat can take something from looking, well, like you ripped it out of a magazine, to a genuine piece of artwork.  Mats can also be incredibly useful for blocking out a portion of a page that has text on it.
  Invest in frames, not what goes inside of them.  Same idea here, if what surrounds the art looks nice, people are a lot less likely to question the print.
  Don’t be afraid to experiment.  You’re not sinking a lot of dough into this, so feel free to try 3 different pictures in one frame before you decide on one.
  Look for cheap picture books.  Most dollar stores have a section with kids books in them.  While they may not have the most clever story lines, these can be an incredible place to find beautiful, coordinating artwork for grouping once it’s framed.
  Spray paint can make all the difference.  My bright red frame above is a dollar store frame.  My home printed artwork in it before looked kind of blah.  Most of my accessories in my office are lipstick red, so I decided to paint the frames to match.  Now they pop!
  Think outside of the box.  Don’t write off every day items as artwork.  One of my favorite framed pieces is an old, hand-sketched floor plan of our first house.  Find something unusual with interesting lines.  Who says that the instruction manual from your circular saw can’t be art?

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