Art can instantly take a room from meh to a-mazing, but art–even “affordable art”—can be expensive. Decorators have long known that there are creative ways to create wall art without a visit to a gallery or even the frame shop. Here are 9 ideas for out-of-the-box wall art that you can try in your home:
Instruments and LPs
“I love to display functional items that show off personality in an interesting way,” says Bobby Berk, the interior design expert on Netflix’s Queer Eye. “In this case the guitars create an art installation that reflects the homeowner’s personality. This is not a new idea, but I love it for a music room, a teenager’s room, or for a client that plays guitar or just loves music.”
“I’d been researching wall baskets and tinga baskets from Etsy to decorate a wall, but when you start adding them up, they can get really expensive,” says DIY Mom’s Rebekah Higgs. “Then one day I was at a restaurant wholesaler and they had tons of baskets, nacho trays, and woven bread bowls – all for $3 or $4 a piece! I ended up collecting every variation they had. To create the look, I organized them on the floor, took a photo, and then referred to it when I put them on the wall.”
In this dining room by IndigoZ, a design build firm in Westchester, New York, a collection of oversize, flat baskets hangs to one side of a window, giving the room a casual bohemian air.
“My client has an amazing collection of Charleston baskets, we selected a few to hang over the bed and a blanket she found on her travels to India,” says decorator Dakota Willimon of this Charleston bedroom. “Personal touches to make the perfect guest nook.”
Rug Shown: Samson Navy Indoor/Outdoor Rug
Jenny Vorhoff, the designer behind Studio Riga in New York, NY, hung toy airplanes as art in this boys’ bedroom. “This shared brothers’ room is such a happy place—mostly because of the brothers that sleep and play here,” she says.
Rug Shown: Hugo Hand Knotted Rug
Decorators are always using mirrors to redirect your view. “I thought mirrors would be a good way to add some interest to the wall to the kitchen,” says Gwen Hefner, the blogger behind The Makerista. “The mirrors also trick your eye to not understand that there’s a pass-through window on that wall. (It’s a dated thing, but it’s very functional.)” The majority of her mirrors were less than $20 and all were thrifted.
Minneapolis-based interior designer Lucy Penfield, used vintage tennis rackets as wall art in this guest bedroom of a summer house. They’re a wisely, unbreakable choice for a bedroom that will be used by kids. (Lucy has also hung snowshoes above the fireplace in a winter-y cottage.)
This bedroom is sophisticated—minimal even–but the sports gear as art hint’s at its teenage occupant. Jessica Durham, an interior designer and the owner of magnolia, a home design store in Roanoke, North Carolina, mounted a trio of lacrosse sticks mounted about the bed to give a nod to her fourteen year old’s interests.
Rug Shown: Milo Ivory Woven Jute/Cotton Rug
Cori & Sam, the creative couple behind STAY, a home decor line, styled this bedroom with a cluster of straw hats hanging above the bed. They’re perfectly in sync with the couples neutrals-dominated style and their salvaged wood artwork at right.
Rug Shown: Samson Navy Indoor/Outdoor Rug
To give her Harbour Island vacation home, The Coral House, an authentic beachy vibe, Chassity Evans sourced some of her home accessories from local vendors, including woven sun hats that hang on the wall of her living room. Evans even had a Harbour Island hatmaker make the raffia lampshades for the house!
Rug Shown: York Stripe Woven Cotton Rug
It’s no surprise a print and pattern designer would decide to decorate her home with graphic, wall-mounted plates in a variety of playful patterns. “I remember seeing a fun plate wall in Lisa Congdon’s home years ago and knew one day I wanted to do one in mine too… So, I started collecting random, inexpensive plates that I loved through the years,” says Melissa Wood, the designer behind Melimba. “When I saw that the circle thermostat was hung in such a random spot, I decided this would be the wall!”
Mixed-Media Gallery Walls
Rug Shown: Rhapsody Wool Woven Rug
You don’t have to have a huge collection of art or photos to create a dynamic gallery wall. In fact, it’s better if you don’t. “My (gallery wall) frames are filled with pieces that I’ve collected over the years: newspaper articles and covers of magazines that I was on as a musician, pictures of my grandparents and my parents, original art from artist friends,” says Rebekah Higgs, the designer behind the Canadian TV series DIY Mom. “I kept everything in a big folder until I was able to afford to put everything into frames to use in my gallery wall. For me, it’s a very special, sentimental collection.”
Rug Shown: Birmingham Black Indoor/Outdoor Rug
Erin Wheeler of Sunny Circle Studio, says she won’t admit to how many hours she spent tweaking the arrangement of the gallery wall in her son’s bedroom. “Lots and lots of trial and error!” she says. “I used a mix of art – some of it new, some vintage and some repurposed in different frames I had on hand. My goal was to keep the color palette generally consistent and mix in different styles for a collected look and feel.” Mixed in with the art are a pennant, a clock, and a vintage sign to keep it interesting.
“I like collecting things that aren’t something most people collect,” says interior designer Claire Brody, who says this collection of cutting boards began naturally as she found boards while vintage shopping. “I initially walked away from the pig, but then I realized I couldn’t not buy a pig cutting board,” she laughs.
For more inspiration, see:
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