How I Used These 15 Clever Ways To Have Wall Art On A Budget
Updated: May 24
A house turns into a home when the sum total of the personalities of its residents comes together. It takes shape and form in the interiors, the furniture, the knick knacks and most importantly the art the resident chooses to adorn the home with. When a home begins to reflect what the owner is like and mirrors their personality, art’s done its job.
However, the right art can be elusive, complex or vague to wrap your head around, and often expensive. It’s no wonder that it’s considered an investment. Not everyone can afford a Hussein or even a classic recreation, but everyone can have a bit of art that speaks to their personality.
I’m someone who believes that a house without art is just a bunch of walls and ceilings. It lacks aesthetics, a personality and a soul. But I’m also not someone who’d shell out a month’s salary on an art piece. But you can’t tell that looking at my home. Art permeates every corner, surface and wall of my house. And guess what? I’m not broke yet so trust me when I say this, the art of doing art on a budget is an art itself. So let me help you with a detailed guide of places how to get art for your home on a budget that I have personally used in my own homes.
1. Framed digital art: Take printout of your digital photos
This is the hack of the century. In this era of great smartphone cameras and ever click-happy fingers, everyone has a few digital photos that have major art potential. These could be your own candid moments, your dog's aww-worthy clicks, or simply all those travel pictures. Select the best of them within a theme, get them printed out and voila your personal gallery art! Here's a gallery of some of my travel pictures from back in the day.
2. Create digital art on Canva and AI softwares like Dal.e and frame them
Even before the days when AI would cough up beautiful works of art on a single command, I was quite into the idea of creating my own versions of digital art on tools like Canva and then getting them arranged into a theme and into a wall gallery. Here's the result of those in my house that to this day serves as the focal point of attention in the house.
3. Use childhood drawings
When it comes to art, there's no limit to what's considered arty. The doodles and scrappings of "drawings" you did as a toddler can be worth their weight in gold. So dig em up, get 'em framed, hang them as art.
4. Print out marketing materials
Sometimes marketing materials themselves can be works of art. Remember those vintage Coke and Campbell soup posters you keep seeing around? yah, those are ads from the 60s. Everyone has a favourite ad from the old.
5. Go to your local exhibitions
Not everyone can afford art from a gallery, but everyone can visit their local art market and exhibitions and pick up a few local artists' work for a fraction of the cost. Sometimes art that's sourced from diverse and indigenous sources is the best art.
6. Street artists
When traveling, especially in Europe and other tourist hotpots, you must've seen artists on the sidewalks selling and sometimes even live-painting an artwork, which is usually a painting of the scenery in front of them or of a popular landmark of that city. Not only is this kind of art sometimes very reasonable for the skill involved, it's also exclusive and you'll never have a piece like that elsewhere. Go buy a piece and support the artist as well as adorn your place with a unique, han-painted artpiece.
7. Travel souvenirs as wall art
Not all wall art has to be conventional paintings, sketches or drawings. Even souvenirs can make great wall art. Got a nice boomerang from Australia or that piece of metallic grid that you couldn't figure out what to do with? Hang it up! All's fair in love and art. Here's an inspired hanging I made from all the shells I filch from the beaches on my travels.
8. Experiment with textured art
For a departure from conventional paintings, try textured art in mixed media. It's a new art form, and one that's really famous on Instagram is on materials like cement, POP and paint and textured with various techniques like forking and dabbing with a cloth etc. Check out this piece of painting that I created for my own home using just 2 materials: White POP and some acrylic paints.
9. Use scrap materials
As long as you do it neatly and with a theme in mind, pieces of scrap and other household junk can make for some interesting wall art. Like this "painting" I conjectured from some throwaway prescription glasses.
10. Use carpets as wall art
Carpets can not only used to adorn your floors, but also walls. Decorate large walls with interesting carpets and hide those oil stains and scratches in the process.
11. Use product packaging as art
Now this one, I'm really proud of. I used the shopping bag of an art store as art itself. I simply cut out of the design on the bag in a square and got it framed.
12. Use hanging plants
You know what's better than using pictures of plants as paintings? Plants as hanging art! These days you don't have to limit keeping indoor plants on the ground. Use interesting hangers and get that breath of freshness of plants into your walls. In fact, plants can also be used as part of gallery walls.
13. Use mirror frames as wall art
This one's a classic. Other than of course being used to let you know if you have lipstick on your teeth, mirrors can serve as purely ornamental pieces in your home decor stack. On last count, I had 8 different mirrors on my wall used purely as decor! Here's one.
14. Use picture ledges to keep artwork of a similar theme together
This one belongs in this post because it's not so much about the art itself being on a budget but rather the idea of not having to drill individual holes and nails for every artwork, but rather having one picture ledge (like this one from IKEA) and just tossing all the similar themed artwork/pictures together.