Giving Your Home a Soul: 8 Alternatives to Expensive Wall Art

Most of the wall art that homeowners and renters hang in their homes is chosen because the items either hold personal meaning or look nice and match an interior design theme. The art sometimes also serves to provide people with inspiration, motivation or comfort. A beautiful piece of wall art on a clean wall can even make someone feel like they’ve added a bit of control and order to a life that seems entirely out of control and constantly in flux.

You don’t need to buy expensive wall art though to gain any of these benefits. The following eight alternatives can look like luxury art installations, but don’t force you to go over your budget or into deep debt:

1. Complex Patterns

The fact is that you can make your home look like you paid an expensive interior designer to decorate it with nothing more than complex patterns on the walls created with simple tools. For example, you can create stunning, colorful mosaics with glossy and matte house paints and stencils. You can also create patterns similar to the mosaics found in Classical locations around the Mediterranean like Greece and Rome with small, medium and large glass, ceramic or wood tiles and pebbles. For example, you might make your mosaics look like past abstracts, animals, landscapes or people. If you rent your home, consider installing easy-to-remove stickers instead. You can pick stickers that allow you to create patterns sticker-by-sticker or entire panels that already have the designs printed on them.

2. Framed Pieces

Another simple option only requires that you use pictures frames to make it look like you carefully chose each piece in the frames for a bare wall. The process is simple: place whatever artwork or photographs that you prefer in the frames and then design an art gallery wall by installing them in creative ways. For example, you might stack frames so that a dozen or more frames are a single piece of art connected with a slight overlap at the corners. You might stagger individual framed pieces side-by-side or diagonally. If you love history, you might use large frames to hold copies of historical documents and maps and devote a wall to one large piece surrounded by smaller ones. Of course, if you want to display collectibles or travel souvenirs, you should consider using the same methods with framed collector display boxes. To keep costs low, check thrift stores and classified ads for free and inexpensive old and new frames.

3. Canvas Prints

Some people don’t consider their homes beautiful without one or more canvas prints on their walls, especially in the dining and living rooms. Thrift stores and flea markets, classified ads and social media yard sale groups can help you find free and low-cost ones. If you want personalized canvas prints, check out online options. Several companies allow you to upload artwork, photographs and other images to make high quality canvas prints. You can choose to frame the print or leave the sides bare. If you want multiple framed prints, consider some of the previously-mentioned positioning options for framed pieces. Also, you can make a statement with unframed canvas. For example, you might order several small canvas prints that feature a piece of a larger picture like a puzzle and then place the prints side-by-side with or without space between them on the wall. Some companies also offer peel and stick canvas prints, which means that you can decorate a wall with a pre-designed or custom canvas print sticker.

4. Decorative Textiles

In the past, humans decorated with textiles to improve the appearance of dreary wood or stone walls and to help keep their homes warm. Tapestries are one of the most well-known forms of decorative textiles. That said, you don’t have to invest in huge expensive decorative wall fabrics. When decorating with fabrics, you might hang embroidered linens still in their handheld looms, a patchwork quilt that features complex or interesting patterns and stitches, lace doilies or antique embroidered silk or other fine linen handkerchiefs in frames. Additionally, consider hanging inexpensive rugs on your walls. For example, you can find inexpensive Oriental rugs at thrift stores and auctions and replicas at modern budget-friendly home supply stores. These pieces feature vibrant and complex color schemes and patterns in a wide range of styles with different iconography, including flowers, shapes and animals. They also typically feature border-style art in their designs that look like frames, which means that you can create a framed look on a wall with textile without investing in an actual frame.

5. Vintage Pieces

Vintage pieces are anything considered classic by modern standards that haven’t yet been placed in an antique category. Whether you own vintage pieces passed down by relatives or not, you can make a wall a window to the past with interesting classics without spending a lot of money. For example, you might decorate a wall with vintage tin or wooden signs or license plates found at a flea market. If you love to cook, you might decorate a kitchen wall with painted or printed glass or ceramic lids or plates. Many thrift shops sell dishware for less than a dollar per piece. Vintage mirrors have also made a comeback. It doesn’t matter if an old mirror has some dark spots or edge wear. How you present it on your wall and the context based on the total interior design for a room is all that matters. Choose one mirror as a centerpiece surrounded by other items or fill an entire wall with mirrors. Keep in mind that some people complete a vintage wall by hanging their favorite vintage jewelry or old calendar photographs as artwork.

6. Handmade Crafts

What better way is there to personalize a room and show your appreciation of hand-crafted items than with a wall display? For example, you might hang personal or family crafts, including children’s artwork, yarn and macrame pieces or paintings. Even cardboard and paper can provide you with the means to create stylish wall decorations, including quilled artwork, banners, garlands and large flowers. If you love handmade crafts from other cultures, you might devote an entire wall to crafts from around the world or a particular culture. Another option: find some old wood-framed windows, paint the glass with paint to look like stained glass panes and then hang them on the walls. If you would rather show off advanced craft skills, consider glueing glass beads and pieces or other small items like pennies, seashells, bottle caps or anything you find fascinating to the windows. Some people even affix vintage and antique clear glass or crystal candy dish bowls and lids and dessert plates to old windows to create textured glass surfaces.

7. Shelf Displays

Shelves can act like artwork just like frames and any other items you display on the wall. Shelf displays include standalone shelves, shelving units and single and multiple cubby-hole options. The key to making these displays look amazing is the presentation. For example, you might put a non-framed, open-backed unit in the shape of a hashtag or a cubby-hole display on a wall, paint each square of the wall behind it with different colors and then only place some items on the shelves so that the colors seem to pop out from behind. You might use flowered, linen wallpaper behind the unit to make the room look more traditional instead of geometric and modern. If you like floating shelves, you might hang a single long shelf in a horizontal line across the centre of a wall or stack or stagger several shelves up to the wall. Some people create shelves out-out of their favorite books and hide the mounting hardware inside each book. You can also find special visible shelf mounting hardware that looks like scrolled iron or ancient corbels. With any of these options, you might hang photographs, jewelry, crafts or any other small hanging artwork off the bottom of the shelves as extra personal touches

8. Wall Gardens

Lastly, homes feel more airy, luxurious and welcoming with plants everywhere. Even if you have a black thumb instead of a green one, you can add the look of real plants to your walls in ways that make it look like you spent a fortune on interior design. For example, you might place plants in planters on shelves on the wall or hang mini terrariums from ceiling hooks in front of a wall. Some people mount planters directly onto a wall staggered or in horizontal rows from the floor to the ceiling so that their walls seem completely overgrown with plants. If you love growing plants, a vertical wall garden can serve a double purpose: you can use it to grow vegetables and herbs. With a garden, you save money on grocery bills and guarantee that you and your family eat healthier than ever. To make the wall look truly extravagant, consider adding other decorative elements like a framed stone mosaic, mirrors or a wall-mountable mini fountain to the wall in the spaces between the plants.

The world already has a lot of large mansions and apartments filled with expensive artwork. Those who own this art have to pay a lot of money to ensure and secure their property. As shown, you can give your home a piece of your soul effortlessly and in high-end style without all that hassle and expense. You only need to know your preferences, find a few items that match your room theme goals and approach the project with a creative spirit and an open mind.

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