Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Affordable Art by Guest Blogger Stephanie

Raising a family has its challenges...we all know that. Creating an attractive living space for all to enjoy, while raising this family? Also a challenge. With my youngest child unloading everything within her reach (that's up to 2' off the ground) within minutes, I've quickly realized that if I want my living space to look somewhat put together, I should focus on adorning the walls {totally out of her reach!} with beautiful {and affordable} art. No one will notice the toys dotting the carpet, or the unloaded bookcase if you have something pretty on your walls :) Well, at least not immediately...

"Art" can be used fairly loosely here. When I say "art", I mean a pretty black and white photograph of your family, or a printed post card with a lovely painting on the front and the ultimate...a piece of bonified original art. I read once in Domino magazine to never underestimate the power of a professionally cut mat and frame. I understand now, first hand, that this is true. Frame anything, anything! and it will change the entire look of your room.

So, while you save up for that Picasso sketch, consider some of these "affordable art" options to beautify your own living space:

1. Exotic Paper

This one is fairly simple making it the perfect project for just about everyone. I assure you, even non-crafty types can wrap their heads (and hands) around this project. If you live near a Paper Source...lucky, lucky you. If not, check out their website. They carry a large selection of exotic papers from Italy, Japan, Thailand, etc. All you need to do is choose one or two sheets (depending on the size of your frames) and cut them to size. Perhaps try framing two complimentary styles, as this talented gal did below:

To glam it up a little use quality, sturdy frames. I like the simple Wood Gallery Frames from Pottery Barn. You can find those online, in their stores, and often on Ebay too.

2. Greeting Cards

When visiting Northern California one time, we stopped at one of our favorite artisan creameries in a little town called Point Reyes Station. Inside the creamery was a little gift shop featuring goods created by local artists. My eyes were immediately drawn to a set of 4 large blank greeting cards featuring some beautiful renditions of local scenery...printed up nicely on good quality paper. The set cost about $10.

I came home from the trip (remembering what I'd recently read in Domino) and challenged myself to create my own piece of "affordable art". I bought two Wood Gallery Frames and then promptly ditched the mats that came with the frames, opting for a professionally cut mat with more "gallery appeal". I was so pleased with the results and the changed look they gave to my living area. I became hooked. I'm a total sucker for a good deal :)

3. Original Art

We all know this is ultimate...and guess what? It is not out-of-reach for anyone. Let me expound a little...

Do you know about a fabulous website called Etsy? Well, if you don't, get thee hence immediately. It's amazing, it's addicting, and most of all, it's a one-stop shop for affordable, original art. That's right, for mere pennies you can be the proud owner of a first-rate painting, photograph, or drawing.

I recently discovered the work of Chad Wys. Not only do I love his overall style, I love his overall pricing too. He really strives to bring original art to everyone. His paintings start at $6. You heard me right...$6! Granted it's only a few square inches in size but it's original, it's beautiful, and with a nice oversized mat, it'll look straight out of an art gallery, without the art gallery mark up. Click here to view the painting below:

Those who reside in or near Salt Lake can also enjoy a local artist named Jodi Steen. She sells original paintings for under $100 here, many of them in the $50 to $80 range. I bought one and display it on my mantle. I love that I have one original painting (be it small) in my home and that it only cost me $80.


  1. This weekend I actually bought a sheet of heavy weight wrapping paper at a little boutique to frame for Stella's room, it's such an easy and inexpensive way to spruce up a room. Another good one to frame is fabric. I am loving all the art ideas.

  2. Where did you get that lovely little mini display on the mantle (the stainless steel/silver one)? That's just what I've been looking for but didn't know it until I saw it :)


  3. I LOVE these ideas! We moved into our new house 2 years ago...we STILL have fairly bare walls. I have thousands of great pictures of my kids, etc...but my walls are bare. I even have a vaulted ceiling in my living room. It needs some serious TLC. I may give myself a new 1 month deadline to get some stuff up there. Thanks for these great options. :)

  4. Maureen, I found it at a local gallery/framing store called Evergreen. It ran about $12. I can't find a brand name on it anywhere so perhaps google "small" "pewter" "easel" or something like that?

  5. Where do you go to get your mat cut. Is it pricey?

  6. I get my mats cut at Reuels (not glam) or at Evergreen Art & Framing (more glam). I find everything is less expensive at Reuels, but have an idea of what you want before walking in there. Don't expect any expert design advice from them :) Although they are very, very nice!

  7. I think Michaels will cut matte for around $6 as well. Like Steph said they probably aren't going to give a lot of design advice, but if you know what you want it would work well.

  8. This was such a great post and topic!I used the exotic paper in a poster frame to glam up my bathroom. Another source I know of this the website < blackpeacockstudios.com > They combine original painting with hand-silk screening to create one-of-a-kind affordable art. So you can get a 20"x 20" gallery-wrapped canvas for only $119! I have one hanging above my kitchen table right now. Very sweet.

  9. loved this post. thanks soooo much from one very design-challenged mom

  10. Maureen, I hope you see this. I saw a similar easel in the PB Kids catalog on sale. It is called the Asymmetrical Easel or something. Priced at about $11.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...