Artworks For Your Home: Budget-friendly Bright Ideas

No home is complete without some kind of art, even if it's only posters and mass-produced reproductions to brighten bare walls. It's possible to buy art inexpensively if you know how, or to create your own stylish and decorative design pieces.

Auctions, markets and car boot sales, art fairs and student art exhibitions are all good places to pick up artworks that won't break the bank. Original prints are especially good buys. Printmakers will run off a numbered series of prints from the same plate. The later in the process the print is made, the less the value, since the plates tend to deteriorate with use. Because they are produced as multiples (in limited editions), rather than as singular pieces, prints cost a fraction of unique artworks such as paintings and you may end up with a good investment to boot. If not, as long as you like what you have, you haven't lost anything.

On the same principle, student art shows can be a good place to pick up paintings or other pieces (sculpture, multimedia works) for the home. You may have to wade through a lot of experimental, wannabe avant garde pieces to get there, but you could also find just what you need. And, if the young artist in question goes on to greater things, again you will have made a sound financial investment. The same goes for studio pottery. A good vase can be functional as well as visual.

If you aren't looking for up-to-the minute contemporary artworks, the walls of all auction houses are covered with reproductions and even original artworks. Discerning buyers regularly pick up bargains that at most require a new frame to make them pleasing home décor additions.

Alternatives to purchasing art include objets trouve* (found objects), colourful children's art and your own creations. Even if you have no art training, you are probably perfectly able to produce decorator's pieces, if not works of art. Found objects can be absolutely anything of interesting form, texture or other quality. Marvellously gnarled driftwood is one example, but such objects could include man-made items, such as pieces of interestingly mangled metal or plastic. Everyday objects interestingly and creatively arranged can also make arresting décor.

If you have children, you may have their efforts magnetically pinned to your refrigerator. That may be the best place for it but children sometimes produce colourful and unusual paintings that have the flavour of naïve or contemporary art that can be striking in a suitable frame.

DIY art is not as challenging as it sounds. People often criticise contemporary art, joking that 'I could do that'. There's often more to an artwork than just how easy it is to make, but if you see something you like in a magazine or book then why not replicate it (more or less)? Another possibility is to check out wallpaper catalogues. Wallpaper manufacturers are now producing panels specifically to use as wall accents, where they work as the equivalent of abstract paintings. Photographs are another decorating idea to consider. In the age of digital cameras and Photoshop, you can take, tweak and print pleasing photographs to block mount or frame.

Art is no longer the domain of the connoisseur and the line between Art with a capital 'a' and fun decorative craft pieces is finer than ever before. With a bit of imagination and a small capital outlay, you can personalize your home and fill it with stylish visual interest.

author: Anne Solomon

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