Every decorator has a favorite task – some like to style vignettes, others thrive at furniture arrangement or creating floor plans. I love to arrange artwork – in particular, gallery walls. Gallery walls are timeless. Royalty, aristocrats and everyday folk have been displaying curated collections of art and objects on their walls for thousands of years. The desire to showcase one’s prized possessions seems to be ingrained in our DNA. As common as the gallery wall is in decorating, it can be quite tricky to assemble. Arranging the items takes a critical eye, a bit of luck and lots of trial and error. Because the process isn’t fool-proof, many simply skip the gallery wall, opting for an easier arrangement.
Because I am so passionate about gallery walls, I decided to create a mini blog series focused on their creation. The first two posts will focus on assembling a curated collection of objects worth displaying. The final post will provide helpful tips on how to arrange the objects into a cohesive and visually appealing gallery wall. An arrangement that will amaze guests and spark conversation!
The focus or anchor of any good gallery wall is artwork. Finding inexpensive prints, paintings, drawing, etc. is key to keeping your gallery wall and decor affordable. Here are some places you can buy fantastic, yet inexpensive art:
HomeGoods (or Marshalls & T.J. Maxx ) – I have been shopping at HomeGoods for years and have bought some really great pieces of art. Although the artwork is mass-produced, you can’t beat the price. Another bonus – as design trends change, you won’t feel bad about retiring artwork you bought on the cheap.
Thrift shops, flea markets and estate sales – Surprisingly, you can find some really great (and sometimes original) pieces of art while thrifting – it’s just a matter of looking past the ugly frames and matting. Need some convincing? Consider this story. I’m currently reading, “I Brake for Yard Sales,” a really great book on the virtues of decorating with thrifted pieces. Author Lara Spencer shares a really interesting story about a thrifted art purchase that ended up being authentic Picasso sketches worth a fortune! This story alone should have you running to the local Salvation Army. In addition to the possibility of scoring some famous pieces on the cheap (I know, it’s not super likely), you can find vintage posters, prints, paintings, typography, plates and signs – all of which will look killer featured in a gallery wall.
Online shops (Etsy, Mammoth & Company, 20 x 200, Society 6, Minted, Zazzle, etc.) – If inexpensive prints are what your after, then you really can’t beat online shops. In some cases, the artwork is sold in limited quantities, which is the next best thing to one-of-a-kind art.
Art fairs and markets – Supporting up- and-coming artists is really important (most famous artists started by selling their wares on the street!), which is why I love to purchase prints from art fairs and markets. It’s not everyday that you can meet the artist that created the artwork you find so fantastic, you just have to feature it in your home. Many of my favorite pieces were purchased at open air markets in Europe. They were incredibly inexpensive and in most cases, originals!
Your photo album – We all take a zillion photos on vacation, however most don’t make it off the memory card, let alone get printed. When creating your gallery wall, make sure to peruse your vacation shots for photos worth framing. Not only will your artwork be original (you took the picture after all!), printing photos is incredibly inexpensive. Even custom gallery wrapped canvases are affordable, thanks to deal sites like Groupon.
Where do you shop for inexpensive art?