14 Super Cheap Ideas for Bringing Art into your Home!

By Amy

I love having Art in my home.  Each piece brings something fun, or cool, or beautiful or interesting, which hopefully cancels out the toys strewn across the living room and the cheerios crunched into the carpet.  But art and photography in a home don't just add beauty and interest, they personalize it and tell the story of the the people who call it home.  In the words of a home blogger that I love, Julia of "Chris Loves Julia: "Art warms a home."  Amen, sistah. 

The only problem?  Art can be dang spendy.  If I had money coming out my ears, I'd buy incredible art.  Like, Van Gogh originals, baby!  And Norman Rockwell, I love him!  (Oh, I'd also buy a hot tub and a million ice cream sandwiches...)  My other fav home blogger, Mandy of "Vintage Revivals" recently brought up this very dilemma that vexes me so: "If I have said it once, I’ve said it 1000 times. Art is hard. Art is either expensive, or so mainstream everyone knows that you bought it at Target." But since I'm a (very) part-time art teacher, and my husband is a full-time grad student, and we've got little son to provide for...the fancy art will have to wait.

Till then I go cheap, free, and DIY!  And, I know, I know--as an art teacher I hear all the time: "But, but, but, I can't even draw a STICK PERSON!"  Hey.  Here's a secret: You can have super cool art in your home, on a frugal, DIY budget, that do not require any artistic talent.  Believe it, for it is true.  I'm bringing you 13 ways to do so.

Oh, and...Feel free to share/pin/like if you find these ideas helpful. *Wink wink*  :)  And...don't forget to share your ideas in the comments, too!

Here they are...drumrolllllll.....

13 Ways to Bring Art into Your Home that require zero artistic ability!  (Shhhhhh...here's the secret: use the crap you already have!  :)

1. Frame cards and postcards that you love.
Cards and postcards are either free (sent to you) or cheap (you bought).  Use them as art!   My sister gave me the most classy/charming card ever which she bought in an art museum's gift shop.  I mean, it caters to my obsession with globes!  (I started collecting them in middle school, way before they were trendy, thank you very much. ha!)  I wanted to display it somehow, so I cut along the fold so that I could show both the inside and outside and put it into a frame we got as a wedding gift and...voila: super cute art that was free for me!

I've even framed a few really beautiful Christmas cards as part of my Christmas decor.

A lot of times you can find small prints or postcards of famous works of art that you love--you'll pay $4 versus 4 million.  Framing beautiful or quirky postcards showing places you've visited will stir up happy memories from your trip every time you walk past them! 

2. Notes/letters
Old letters from a great-grandparent, the closing words and signature from a lovenote (probably for a bedroom since it's so personal).  I love old cursive writing; it's beautiful enough to be art! :)  Handwriting is so unique to every person, so it's very personal way to remember a loved one who's passed away.

3. Use natural objects as "sculpture".
Don't have the moola for fancy sculptures, statues, or pottery?  Use nature as art! 

4. Frame little sentimental objects 
A beautiful little treasured object can be art!  Frame it and hang it on your wall!  I love this peacock feather that I've had since I was little.  I recently framed it!  Another idea: instruments are beautiful; why not hang them on your wall?  We bought hangers specifically made for guitars, and my husband loves having them handy on the wall.  He plays them a lot more often then when they were jammed in their cases under our bed!

5. Pressed Flowers
Press some flowers to remember a place you love, your wedding day, a field of wildflowers next to the home you grew up in (I was spoiled that I grew up with wide open spaces all around me), etc.  Botanical prints are fun too!  (This is SO much better than a vase of dead, dried flowers...I don't know much about feng shui, but dead flowers in vases have got to just KILL the chi in a home.)  

6. Display momentos from an important event/location
Wedding, baby blessing/christening, graduation, etc.  I love this idea.  There are other objects besides flowers that you could use to remember a special occasion.  I saw a baby blessing dress framed and hung in a little girl's bedroom...so cute!  I had friends who framed each side of their wedding invitation and hung them in their dining room (it was a freakin cool announcement, peeps.)  Do you have doilies made from your great grandma, but you're thinking...Yeah, probably not on my couch.  Frame it with a bright color behind it, to make it more modern and young looking!  Also, maps: there are a million cool ways to frame/display maps!

7. Patterns on Scarves/Fabric/Piece of wallpaper/Scrapbooking paper
Do you have a big space that needs some major color, but you can't go buy some massive painting?  Frame or cover a canvas with a cool scarf or some sweet fabric!  This is such an easy way to add big color and impact without actually painting a wall a bright color.  You can change the whole mood of the room!

8. Kids Art
It's so sweet to keep a few of your kid's drawing and paintings that you love the most, and frame them!  They will feel so proud. :)

9. Programs and Playbills
Programs from a recital, play, Broadway musical, art museum, church program...they often have cool pictures that you can cut out!  In my Hayden's room is a beautiful, gentle picture of Jesus that I ripped out a a church program and kept in my scriptures for years.  It makes me so happy to have it in my son's room!

10. Records/posters
Oh, if only my husband let me hang records on our walls!  He thinks they look too "college dorm."  Someday, when I we have our own house and I commandeer one of the rooms to become my "art studio" then all my cool records are going up!  Records cost like fity cents at thrift stores, and there are SO many cool record covers with sweet, graphic, vintage-y designs.  And, IKEA has the perfect black frames made specifically for framing records!  Not so college dorm-y once they are framed.  They make super fun art, especially for a den or theater room.  Posters too, are fun!  There are grown-up and kids versions, and posterized frames to keep them safe and classier looking.

10.  Stencil sayings you love!  
Do you have some family saying or joke?  Stencil it on a canvas!  You could also use your own handwriting, or ask someone you know who has cool handwriting to write out sayings or lyrics that you love.  It's fun to have some unexpected quote or phrase to get people laughing.  Many people use vinyl too for putting a quote directly on your wall. 

11. Bulletin Boards Arranged Nicely.  
 You can change it so easily!  Rotate out pics after a while.  (Great for a kid's room...they can put up their own "art" and treasures" without putting a bunch of holes in the wall.  You can also hang a clothesline in a kid's room with clothepins for an easily changed display.

12. Illustrations from a book or a book's dust jacket
Check to see if your local library has a book sale, and buy old children's books with pics that you love to frame and hang. I like to cut pics out of the dust jackets (the paper covers on hardback books, that bug the heck out of me, so I just take them off.)  I've gotten lots of pretty, color pics that way!

13. Letters
Typography is an art form, and letters are a trendy way to liven up your space.  You can display a letter by itself, or form words.  Letters are cheap at the craft store--a little spray paint does wonders!

14. Pics from Shirts
I totally bought a pj shirt from Walmart that had an awesome picture on the front...then the next week, I went back and bought another one! Then, I had one to wear, and one to frame! haha!

A couple other tips: Check out Etsy for very decent pricing on super cool prints or downloads you can print yourself. (It's nice way to support artists who are just starting out!) As well as "art" that you hang, look for funky little nicknacks at thrift stores for a little fun and quirkiness.  Every body has different tolerance levels for nick nacks, so figure out what works for you.  Display several little pics together, so they don't look dinky on the wall. 

Now that I've taught you how to be a big time hoarder of every cute card/book jacket/drawing produced by your children/concert program, go ahead and designate a file or cardboard box for paper stuff that you love.  Then, even if you're like me and you haven't had a daughter, you can still collect compulsively for her adorable nursery till she is born.  (Watch, I'll have alll boys.) *UPDATE, hahaha!!! Spoiler alert, I totally DID have all boys!

My parting words: Anything that's meaningful to you can be displayed.  And, don't be afraid to embrace the style that YOU love!  Classy, modern, fun, traditional, a mix of everything, quirky...it's your home.  So hang what YOU love.  Even if others might think it's weird.  They're your walls, so be a weirdy if you want to!!  (If you're married, you know that there usually is some amount of compromise with your spouse...my husband occasionally says, "I really hate that." and I respect it cause most the time, he stays out of the way of my decor obsession.) 

Well, that's a wrap!  I hope you enjoy finding ways to display what you and your family loves; it will take your home from a generic space to a cozy, happy reflection of you!!  

Blank walls be banished! 

Which ideas stood out to you?  Have you already tried some of these?  Tell us about it!  Also, we'd love to hear any other ideas for bringing art into a home.  Thanks! :)