Creating Budget Artwork for Your Home – It’s Easier than You Might Think

By Donovan Gauvreau in Art Business Advice > General Art Advice

The economy may not be in great shape, but that shouldn’t stop you from sprucing up your home or apartment to make it look like a million bucks. And, believe it or not, you can do it all on a meager budget.

Budget artwork and decorations are usually simple to make—all you have to do is take things you already have, or things you find here and there, and turn them into art.

Before you get started though, it’s a good idea to pick a style that suits your taste. Whether you like colonial, contemporary, country, French provincial or traditional; opting for a particular style will make it easier for you to choose colors, subject matter, and frames for your artwork.

With that in mind, here are a few ways to embellish your home and make it look chic without breaking the bank:

Garage and yard sale finds

The first places you will want to check out are garage sales or yard sales. Yes, people are getting rid of their stuff, but you may find some gems hidden amongst the junk.

For example, when you find a set of old dishes, you can break them and create mosaic artwork, decorative frames, or even a new kitchen or bathroom backsplash.

Just put the dishes in a thick plastic bag and smash them into various, tile-size pieces with a hammer. Then, prepare your surface, arrange the newly-formed tiles in the desired pattern, let it dry, and apply grout. Voilà!

If you come across any old trunks, hard suitcases, or barrels, bring them home, clean them up and use them as artistic coffee tables, storage spaces, or even extra seating, depending on the style you have in mind.

Flowers, leaves, and other natural objects

Another place to look for low-cost artwork is Mother Nature herself.

All you need is a frame or a shadowbox and you can produce a masterpiece with just about anything you find. Press some flowers and leaves, then arrange them over a sheet of colored paper to create botanical prints for every season.

If you’re near the beach, even better—opportunities abound. Shells are the obvious choice, of course, and once again it takes little effort and no cost.

New and old photographs

Another easy options for creating budget artwork is by utilizing photographs. You can use old family photos, or take new pictures of your favorite things and frame them in sets, or even design a beautiful collage.

Depending on the style of décor you have chosen, you may want the pictures printed in black and white, sepia, or color. Try experimenting with the different settings on the camera, or with photo editing software like Photoshop or GIMP.

Other places to get photos are from old calendars, magazines, or postcards.

Book covers and board games

Don’t forget the kids’ room. Choose a few of their favorite children’s books (the ones you read over and over again), remove their jackets and frame them.

Another idea is to take a favorite board game and put it in a shadow box. To create a 2D effect, glue the game pieces and/or cards directly onto the game board.

And that’s just the beginning. . .

There are countless ways to create budget artwork for your home. All it takes is a little time and creativity. Look around and see what you can come up with!

Donovan Gauvreau is an art historian and art therapy speaker. You can read more of his articles at


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