10 Ideas for Frugal – and Beautiful – Art

Let’s face it. While having plain walls might qualify as “simple,” it doesn’t necessarily equal beautiful. Having art on your walls is an easy way to add beauty and interest, and it doesn’t have to be expensive at all!

Here are 10 ideas for inexpensive but beautiful art that your family will love:

1. Framed photos.

Having pictures of your children, friends and extended family on your walls is a great way to not only decorate but also celebrate the people you love. I’m partial towards black and white photos, but the type of photo you choose is not important. Choose pictures you love, and you can’t go wrong!

2. Children’s artwork.

Frame your children’s artwork and hang it on the wall. Not only will they be proud to see their work displayed, but their simple and colorful art will add a splash of beauty to any room.

3. Repaint an existing piece.

A couple of months ago, Meredith from Like Merchant Ships shared the story of the worst Craigslist purchase she ever made – a large gaudy painting that she realized immediately would not be suitable for her husband’s office like she had originally thought. Eventually, she came up with this idea to repaint it – or more specifically, let her four-year-old paint it – and the end result was a painting that they were happy to hang in their home.

4. Putty and paint a piece of plywood.

My husband has made a lot of the art in our home using this method. He simply takes a piece of wood, cuts it to the right size for the space and spreads thick layers of putty over it in a 3-D pattern or design (such as crisscross strokes). Once it’s dry, he paints it, and the result is always beautiful.

5. Use artist canvas and make your own paintings.

Along those same lines, you could simply buy and paint your own canvases. Use one large one or several smaller ones grouped together. The best part is you can choose colors that you know will complement your decor without having to search for a picture or painting that has those colors in it.

6. Frame pictures from calendars or picture books.

Another very inexpensive option (especially if you wait until the end of the year to purchase the calendars) is to buy a calendar or picture book with illustrations or photos that you love and that fit your decor. We don’t keep the dust covers on children’s books, and these would be great to frame as well.

7. Hang a rug or blanket.

Art doesn’t have to mean paintings or photos, of course. Try hanging a rug or blanket on a large wall to bring warmth and coziness into a room. Whether it’s a matching crib quilt in a nursery or a vintage rug, textiles will add beauty and interest to your walls.

8. Ask travel agencies or movie theaters for old posters and maps.

If you’re decorating a den, a school room, a theater room or some other themed room, using large posters and maps is a great way to add interesting and unique art to the walls. Just remember that you may have to be patient as you wait to find the perfect one!

9. Paint a mural on the wall.

Even if you don’t consider yourself exceptionally talented, painting a wall mural is a fun project that can transform a room. The two most common methods for painting a wall mural are to either use a transparent outline and a projector to trace the design on the wall or to use the grid method to paint the mural section-by-section. Read more about both methods here.

10. Check thrift shops.

Of course, if you really want “real” art, you can always keep your eye out in thrift shops and at yard sales for a piece that fits your decor as well. The key to decorating simply is to have patience as you search for the right pieces!

Do you have any unique art in your home that you love?