Whether your style is minimal and sleek, with one bold piece dominating your home space, or you prefer an eclectic mix of prints, artwork and canvas on your wall – art is a very subjective point of discussion.
Since we moved house and unwrapped the art we brought with us, I’ve realised that I am definitely a maximalist when it comes to the pictures I put on the walls. There is no way around it – I love clusters and groups of things altogether.
But I am also sentimental, meaning a lot of our old stuff isn’t probably what I would choose now, but I love it, so it’s staying and working with the new.
And while I love art and would LOVE to be able to splash out on original works, I don’t have that kind of money.
So here are five brilliantly affordable places I have found art for my own home.
1: JUNK SHOPS
What’s that saying? One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Here’s another saying, lock me in a junk shop for an hour and I will find something to buy.
Charity shops, vintage stores, thrift shops, antiques barns – anywhere that sells old stuff, head straight for the pictures. If nothing else, you might find a cheap bargain with an amazing frame you can re-use. The two little pictures above didn’t look much stacked up with lots of other things, but give them some space and they shine. The fact they are in a pair adds to the impact.
I’m a sucker for any kind of floral picture and this slightly twee oil painting in a dark wood frame will look modern and cool once I’ve hung it with a group of different prints. The beauty is all in the mix of art.
And these LOVE letters caused me to slam the brakes on while driving past a junk shop in Harwich, Essex. They were in the window and I, well, LOVED them. The shop owner suggested they may have been from a Beatles exhibition, but a reader got in touch on Instagram and said they were from an old window display in Accessorize! Grouped together on our staircase, they give real impact and goes to show the beauty of shopping somewhere a bit different.
2: GIFT SHOPS
I have two children who both have a way better social life than me. Therefore, I now own a wrapping paper and card drawer. But looking for wrapping paper holds another useful purpose. Over the years I have found countless gorgeous sheets that are WAY too nice to destroy with sticky tape and poor folding – so I bulk-buy cheap and hang them up as art.
The selection above are some of my most recent purchases – picked up on a weekend’s trip to the Cotswolds at the , cost £1.75-£2.75 each. Check out places like , and independent card shops who might have an in with a local artist.
3: YOUR OWN CAMERA
I know what it’s like. We live in a world of digital images and are overwhelmed by how many we have. And how on earth can we get them in some semblance of order so as our children will have SOMETHING to remember us by when we’ve gone?! Speaking of children, if you have any – or indeed animals you’re particularly fond of – you will feel four times as overwhelmed by the number of images you’ve taken of them on your phone, your camera, your Aunty Doris’s Facebook images etc etc
But you’re bound to have a whole stash of digital images bouncing around within your iCloud or Flickr account, or even on social media, that you absolutely love and want to save for posterity.
My tip is to have a regular folder clearance – let’s not be sentimental, you don’t need 45 similar versions of a particular event, so delete, or back-up and put into folders. I have a ‘TO PRINT’ file on my desktop so anything particularly lovely that I’d like to frame goes in there.
If you have access to Photoshop, you can sharpen, play around with the colour or fix blemishes on your images before getting it framed. Or try the VSCO app on your mobile phone, which does similar.
I recently found (does what it says on the tin) and had these images (above) framed. You upload your image onto their website, then go through the process of choosing the frame you’d like – and there is quite a choice. It does that clever thing of showing you exactly how your image will look in whichever frame and mount you choose.
This is a TREASURE TROVE if you don’t mind a scroll. There are digital downloads, there’s original watercolour artists, there’s sketchy stuff, you can find crafty folk who will create a bespoke design for you – and there are lots and lots of monochrome, typographical prints.
It was scrolling through that led me to , and it was instant love. My husband tends to leave me to it when it comes to the house decor, but for some reason (TUH!), he wanted to be involved in the artwork selections. ‘I Carried A Watermelon’ was vetoed (really sulked over that one), but we both LOVED ‘Rapper’s Delight.’
Shop owner Honey was so helpful sorting out the right size for me, sent the image digitally and I sent it to The Picture Frame Company again to be framed.
I also favourited , who do really cool retro film posters (if you’re a Wes Anderson or Star Wars fan, you’ll love them!) And also check out – their cacti prints would look brilliant in a cluster and they also have very cute animal heads that would be perfect for kids bedrooms.
5: PRINT CLUB LONDON
is my online happy place. I love checking out the new art, I love the whole idea behind it – the workshop, the limited editions and the group of artists available on there.
It’s obviously the most expensive of my choices here, but compared to lots of art sites out there it is incredibly good value and offers a really exciting mix of styles. Plus, investing a bit of money in a fantastic picture that will cheer you up every day is worth it in my book!
I’m a big fan of Dave Buonaguidi and own , which I just need to frame. But I have also just ordered (with profits going to The Samaritans) because it will be our new family check-list!
Have you found any art gems? Please share if you have!