Wallet Friendly Art that Really Makes a Statement

I love a beautiful collection of art in a home. It adds so much interest and gives so much insight into the kind of person a home owner is. Whether it’s modern abstract paintings, traditional oil still lifes, pop art photography…I could go on and on. I’ve been in so many houses (my husband’s a realtor) with breathtaking artwork…the kind it takes a lifetime to collect…and almost a lifetime to afford. But let’s face it, I’m not filling my house with artwork that costs as much as my car anytime soon. The true value of art is in the eye of the beholder. For me, it’s the ultimate accessory in a home and I’ve found a way to do a little “collecting” of my own without comprising my paycheck. Here are a few tips (and photos) I have to share.

1. Vintage/Antique/Hand-me-Downs: I’m lucky on this one as my mother-in-law owned an antique store at one point and her storage house is full of great finds. She’s always showing up with something new (but very old) for us to use in our home like this…

If you aren’t lucky enough to have some great vintage/antique pieces in the family, go find some of your own. Check out what’s hanging out in our bedroom…

I discovered these two antique ceiling tiles from a pile o’ crap in the back room of the antique store just down the street. I paid $15 a piece for them and they fit perfect on this wall. Now to you, these may not be “art”, but to me they are. Someone designed them, someone made them, and the “well loved” look of them as I like to call fits in just perfectly with our taste and decor.

2. Etsy: Etsy.com is another great place to find original artwork from paintings to drawings to mixed media as well as vintage prints of anything from birds to botanicals to primitive cars. Which is what you see here.

I purchased these vintage car prints on Etsy and had them custom framed to go above our sofa. They are one of my favorite finds. It’s easy to search by category or just type in what you’re looking for and whether it’s handmade or vintage. The inventory is simply limitless and your chances of finding something you like are high. And for the most part, prices are great because your are typically purchasing directly from the artist and not paying any kind of gallery fees.

3. DIY: A theme you’ll hear alot on this blog is “do it yourself”! I recently starting photographing again for the first time in a long time. I got some great shots of local landmarks in our town (I’m a sucker for vintage theatre signs) and turned it into this… (excused the blurry photo please)

I found a frame that matched beautifully with the wine rack below and great linen matting and saw it as an opportunity to showcase some of my own (amateur) work. Most of our guests are surprised to learn it’s something I did myself. It’s not hard for anyone to take a camera our and get some great shots…so the next time you’ve got a wall to fill, look to yourself for a little inspiration. (Shameless self-promotion…you can check out some of my photography at www.photonest.etsy.com )

4. Local Art Festivals: This is another great way to purchase art without paying a gallery fee. We just recently had an local art festival in our neighborhood park where I purchased this.

It’s a charcoal and pencil sketch on recycled burlap mounted to a salvaged cabinet door. How’s that for eco-friendly? I bought it from a local artist for less than $100 and part of the proceeds went to benefit a local non-profit. So I helped someone else and I helped my bare wall at the same time. I actually just relocated this piece above the desk in our guest room to make way for the new artwork I purchased for our dining room. I will post photos once they are hung!

So that’s it, loyal readers, those are my tips for filling your home will beautiful art and banishing bare walls forever without squandering your unborn child’s college fund! Let me know if I can ever suggest local sources in Birmingham for you as I spend alot of Saturday’s scavenging for new, unique pieces for my home!

~Katie

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Updating a Sofa

So we all know the easy “inside the box” ways to update a piece of seating furniture- throw some new accent pillows on it, a throw, or the ultimate…have it recovered. And since I just finished having a loveseat recovered for almost the same amount as the piece actually cost me, I will NOT be doing that again anytime soon. Don’t get me wrong- I would reupholster almost everything in my house if I had the skill, but I’m done paying someone else to do it. Anyway, I have a point, I really do…You see, I’m not a big fan of our sofa. It was purchased for me by my parents when I got my first apartment after college and it served it’s purpose well, but now…not so much my cup of tea. It’s small, not the most comfortable thing in the world, it’s microfiber, and I HATE the feet. I know…it’s a wierd thing to hate, but I truly do. The more you read this blog, the more you’ll find that I love just about anything from Restoration Hardware, especially the English Roll Arm Upholstery Collection and I am OBSESSED with this sofa. But since I was just complaing about paying to reupholster a loveseat, you can rightfully assume I won’t be purchasing it anytime soon.

One of the things I love most about the RH sofa is the feet and I’ve decided that is my GENIUS solution to updating my sofa with a new look. The feet on mine currently look like this…
They are very casual, which is really ok for the vibe of my living room, but they are short and the sofa sits lower to the ground than any other piece in the room. And I just plain don’t like them. So I’m going to replace them (they just screw right off…it’s that easy) with these:
Not necessarily formal, but a little dressier than what I currently have. They’ll lift the sofa higher from the floor and add a little architectural interest. They come unfinished to I can stain them to match my coffee table perfectly. I’m very excited about this project as it doesn’t seem as though it will be too difficult but I am confident it will make a huge difference. The feet are priced well and won’t be too expensive of a project either. And every time I lust for that RH sofa, I can look at my new feet and be content….for the time being.
I love The Nester‘s mantra that “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” I’m a total believer in that. These may not be the feet my sofa came with, but with a little effort, they will be beautiful in our home. I will update you once the feet are here and I’ve finished the project with a step by step “how I did it” in case you want to take on a similar project in your home.
~Katie