As someone who studied history, I have an immense appreciation for art and culture. While I love to gaze at large paintings and peruse art galleries, the prices for such treasured items are (to say the least) well out of my price range. However, that hasn’t stopped me from filling my home with several beautiful pieces of art. So, how do I do it? Check out my tips and tricks below.
1. Reuse and Recycle
One of my favorite pieces of art is a drawing of two little lovebirds sitting on a tree, which I framed in an inexpensive picture frame. The image actually came from a friend’s wedding invitation. I simply cut off their names, which were on the bottom of the invite and kept the image on the top. It’s a cute little reminder to always tell my husband I love him.
2. Shop College Students’ Art
College students who are enrolled in art classes can certainly have immense talent. One of my favorite sculptural purchases came from a tent sale at a college. A class of ceramic students decided to sell some of their items for charity, and I picked up a gorgeous two-toned handmade bowl for my mother for mother’s day. You can also take a class and learn how to make these items yourself!
3. Learn Photography
Many people overlook photography, but it is certainly a serious art form that can tremendously transform your home. Invest in a quality camera or simply use trial and error with the one you already have. You’d be surprised how many good shots you can get when you have beautiful scenery and a ton of natural light. Blow up your favorite pictures at your local drugstore for a few dollars.
4. Shop Etsy
Etsy.com is an incredibly community of artisans that sell jewelry, antiques, and incredible art. While there are definitely some expensive sellers on the site, many of them are quite affordable. Plus, you are supporting small businesses while you search for gifts for yourself or your family.
5. Scope Out Thrift Stores
One of my husband’s favorite pieces of art in our home is a print of a massive vintage map that I scored in its original frame at a Goodwill for $20.00. It certainly fits in with his style, and I hope he can hang it in his office someday when we upgrade to a larger space.
6. Go To Auctions & Stay Until The End
I used to work as an assistant at an auction house back in my grad school days, and I was always amazed at the great prices at the end of the sale. Most people went to the auction for a specific item and left once they got it. Others simply got tired and left. Essentially, just a few people were left at the end of each show, and I was constantly amazed that quality art pieces went for as low as $20.00 every. single. time.
You can barter on Craigslist or in your local newspaper. Essentially you can offer up some of your talents whether it be electrical work, carpentry, or a great haircut and offer to trade that for a piece of art. You never know when a local photographer or artist is looking for your services but doesn’t have the cash to pay for it.
Over the years, once you frequent garage sales and auctions and then purchase art for your spouse as gifts, you can certainly grow your collection to include many quality pieces that you can enjoy for a lifetime.
Do you have any other tips for inexpensive ways to build an art collection? If so, I’d love to hear about it!
photo by qthomasbower