There are certain things that are sorely lacking in my home. One of those things is art… framed art for the walls. Original or unique pieces of art is a big area that I have overlooked in decorating my home in years past. We’ve focused so much on fixing rooms, buying large pieces of furniture and using hand-me-downs, family pieces or gifts to accessorize… finishing a room was never given much thought. Art is a huge part of finishing a room and that is why art is at the top of my “Must-Have” List for 2013.
We are a family with a lot of furniture… furniture, dishes, china and silver have been handed down through our family for generations. I’m exceedingly grateful for that, but I find it a curious that artwork is not something my family has in abundance. Maybe that’s why it’s always been an afterthought in my decorating? I’ve realized though, through reading beautiful blogs and pinning gorgeous pictures, that art helps make a room feel cozy, helps finish a space and makes a house feel “homey”.
Now, obviously, it’s not in the budget for me to go out and commission a work of art for each room in our house. In fact, my big original art purchase for our home this year will be Jack’s portrait. I had James’ done when he was 5 and have a wonderful portrait artist who will work on Jack’s later in the year. Most of my pennies will be saved for this purchase. I am hoping to find a few original art pieces in my hunting… at yard sales, estate sales and flea markets.
In the meantime, I’ve been looking through my own treasure trove to find easy and inexpensive ways to add art to my spaces.
I always have frames lying around… we all know that by now. I have a hard time turning away from a pretty frame with an even prettier price tag. Long, long ago I found this wood frame at a thrift store for pennies. It had nothing inside it; it was just the frame and had some chips and dents in its surface. I couldn’t resist and brought it home. Not long after, I was extricating a different frame from the art that had come with it and realized that I really loved the original watercolor that was within it. It wasn’t by anyone important and was probably just a hobby piece by some individual, but I loved it and hated the idea of throwing it away. I decided to marry my old, gold, thrift store frame with the watercolor print. I trimmed it down to size, inserted it into the frame and created a backing with foam core. But, it still needed something…. It just didn’t stand out on my wall and didn’t work with the other accessories. I gave the frame a couple of coats of Real Milk Paint in Lamp Black, distressed it to show some gold back through, waxed it and hung it back up. It’s a small change, but it made my inexpensive piece of art perfect for its little nook.
If you read my blog, you know how much my grandmother meant to me (if you want to know more about her, check here). She taught school for many, many years in the 1950′s and 1960′s and never threw anything away. I received all her old teaching materials from my mom and have had so much fun looking through all the vintage prints. I’ve tried to use some of them as art in my home and was able to do so with the botanical prints in my master closet.
Some of my favorite prints from her supplies are these vintage bird prints. I love the vivid colors and detailed drawings and knew as soon as I saw them that I wanted to use them in our family room.
The prints were oddly sized and would have required custom frames and mats, which would make them very expensive. One custom frame can cost an obscene amount of money… six custom ones definitely weren’t happening! On one of my last trips to Goodwill, I came upon 6 cheap, black plastic frames still in their packaging. Only $2 at Walmart, but they were $1 at the Goodwill store.
While they weren’t the color I wanted for the bird prints, they had the simple look I needed. I brought them home, took them apart, primed them and then applied one of my favorite products right now… Liquid Leaf. It’s an easy way to give instant bling to boring!
A couple of coats and my cheap black frames looked more like simple brass frames. The warm gold color was a perfect complement to the colors of the prints. Trimming the prints down to 8×10 size, they fit easily inside and add great color to the wall.
One of my favorite projects… inexpensive and unique art for my home with a story to tell!
With a whole house to fill, I still have a lot of work to do. These projects have shown me that art really is important in decorating your home. Do you have any secret sources for great art without breaking the bank?