This happens every year, but all of a sudden, it’s Thanksgiving and then the year is over. Right?
And, it’s been a while, but one of my favorite topics is putting together a really cool art wall.
The only problem is that unless you’ve been collecting for a while or have an artist in the family or something like that, it can get quite expensive.
Plus, with the holidays upon us, perhaps you’re wanting a relatively quick fix that will have maximum impact.
The last time I discussed an art wall, I had spent an entire day creating what I thought was a really cool template. And I linked to one of my favorite sources for decorative art– Artfully Walls.
And sure enough, someone felt the need to slap me around a little for doing so. You can read what she said here if you like.
Alas, it will probably happen again, today, because every time I discuss art, it does; even when I put up a little note such as this. But, for the one or two of you who can’t stop yourselves, please reconsider if you would like someone to talk to you in that manner.
Going around shaming people for something you disagree with is not cool. It’s fine to disagree; it’s not fine to shame.
shaming = flaming and it’s not allowed on this blog.
Thank you. End of sermon.
This is all supposed to be in good fun. However, if you don’t think so, that’s okay too. I don’t expect everyone to love every post. But, as long as the majority are happy, so am I.
But, did you know that you can get art for free or nearly free?
That’s right; you can get art to make an art wall for FREE. Maybe you already know, but there are dozens of websites devoted to sharing art that you can run off your copier and then stick in a frame.
Yes, I know… and one can open up a box of instant mashed potatoes and try to convince themselves that it’s real food and healthy. But some people who have nothing, would be grateful to have that much. And someone who’s printing free art off the of the internet may not have the funds to purchase original art and have it framed, no matter how reasonable.
If you’re an artist, of any kind, I fully understand. I’m the girl who waited on tables for eight years in Manhattan while I was hoping to get “my big break” in show biz. Ha! You didn’t know that I was a movie star in my youth? Here’s 11 more things you don’t know about me and a big film that I had a bit part in.
But, getting back to our topic about getting a free or super reasonable art wall could be for a lot of reasons. Maybe you want to create a little art wall for your nursery, young child’s room, rec room or vacation home. Or, maybe you’ve hit some hard times but want to create some beauty and cheer for yourself. Another reason might be that you’re just starting out after college and just don’t have the funds.
You may be scratching your head wondering why people are giving art away. Don’t they need to earn a living?
Yes, they definitely do, but please don’t worry about them. They’re earning a damned good living, while appearing to “give away the store.” They’re earning it through advertising and affiliate links on their websites. If you would like to learn more about this, please consider purchasing my blogging guide. It is also exceedingly helpful for anyone who would like to have a stronger internet presence. I’ve been getting the most wonderful feedback, now that it came out for over six months ago. Many people who’ve purchased it, and done the work are now reaping the rewards.
Oh sorry. It’s so easy to go off on tangents.
What reminded me about this option to create a reasonably priced art wall, is this recent post about Laura’s charming music room. Some of her art, she said, was a digital download.
So, where do we get this free art to make an art wall? Lots of sources. Please note that while some of it is free, most of these sites also have prints for sale, but the costs are quite low.
Here are some of my favorite sources for free or nearly free digital, downloadable art.
The first three sources are sister companies and are actually not free but most are only about $6.00 a download. But some come in a series and it can come to as a little as a dollar or so per print.
Chaos and Wonder Design – Quite an extraordinary collection of prints. You have to see it, to understand.
Apartment 37 – Modern art and quite good, too.
Digital Graphic Goods – Gorgeous botanical prints!
The Graphics Fairy – She has free and premium downloads
Little Gold Pixel – Lots and lots to see here. Also has free and premium downloads
While the art is free (or nearly free), of course you’ll still have to pay for the special archival, acid-free paper and copier ink, etc.
And if you don’t have a professional copier, to get the best quality print, I would take it to a place that will charge you for the service. But it’s still going to be relatively inexpensive. Of course, you can try it at home first. But, of course, you’ll need to put it on the best quality setting.
What about the frames, Laurel? Isn’t that expensive?
Oh yes. Custom framing is wildly expensive. I’m sure that most of us have stories of the $50.00 flea market/thrift shop find that cost $600.00 to have framed. Here’s mine.
My Vilhelm Hammershøi masterpiece– long before I knew who he was or that I loved his work!
And no, silly. It’s not a real Hammershøi. At least I don’t think so. ;]
But, we are not going to put our free or nearly free print in a $600.00 frame– or even a $200.00 frame. Nothing like that. How does under $20.00 sound for a simple frame with a mat and glass?
I looked all over and one of the best deals I found is at West Elm. They have sets of eclectic frames (in terms of size) that are that low price-point, but still look quite nice.
This grouping called Build a Wall Gallery Art Sets comes in sets of 6, 8, 10, and 15 frames. The latter is on sale for only $238.00. I believe that you can also purchase them individually.
In addition, the frames come in some other finishes which you could mix and match. But for today, I’m just sticking with the white. I think it’s such a fresh, modern look.
Love this classic contemporary living room which I found by Ashley Chapman on instagram.
She says that the sectional is also from West Elm and is very comfy and the fabric is holding up well.
I am not sure if these are the frames from West Elm or not in this art wall. They look larger, some of them. But she says in her comments that the art is from Minted which is another fabulous source.
What I did for today is I took the 15 piece set and made a few 4 different configurations for different situations
What’s funny, (but not really) is that every time I think, I’m going to make a bunch of art wall templates for you and it’s going to be so easy.
Not, what Laurel?
It’s not easy to make an art wall template. But hey, when did that ever stop me. :]
This first grouping, above, could go on a long wall by itself, maybe with wainscoting underneath. The size of the art is in scale. The dimensions are on the West Elm website.
How I did this is I took a piece of graph paper and uploaded it to a picmonkey board. I made four squares equal one square foot, otherwise, the pieces would be too tiny to work with. The reason you don’t see the grid now, is I slipped in a layer of blue behind the art.
This art wall could also go over a sofa in a room with at least a nine-foot ceiling. Or a large buffet or console table.
I find that art should probably start about 6″-8″ above whatever the piece of furniture or moulding is below it. If the ceiling is super-high or there’s some other compelling reason, then it is fine to start a little higher. But if it starts more than a foot or so above, I think that it starts to feel disconnected. Your eye will be the best judge in these situations.
This wall is about 36″ wide. It could be the end of a hall or it could be between two windows, or two doorways. It is reminiscent of one of my favorite art walls in this post from nearly five years ago! I borrowed her idea of incorporating the light switch so that it’s barely noticeable amongst the art.
Usually, I do not like the art to go above the height of the doorway or windows in the room. And even if there’s no crown moulding, I would leave at least a foot of breathing room above the highest images.
Here, I turned it 90 degrees. This would be too long for most sofas, (unless a sectional) but you could also leave off the two on the end. A few years ago, I did an art wall for a client and we put up something similar to this over a nine foot buffet in small hall, just off the front door. We only had room for the two rows, but it turned out very nicely.
I like this idea I had for incorporating eight of the 15 piece set in a bedroom. I believe that the frames can be ordered individually, as well.
A question that sometimes crops up is if it’s okay to cover up part of the art with a lamp? I think it depends on the art and it depends on the lamp. I usually don’t mind it. But some might feel differently about that.
I made a graphic below, incorporating the other art gallery wall I made over a year ago, using art from Artfully Walls.
please pin me to pinterest for reference!
Well, that’s all for today.
***There’s only another week to get the newly updated Laurel’s Rolodex at the current price which includes 70 new listings.
And please check out the latest sales in the hot sales and also the fully stocked holiday shop!