Free Art Wall Templates and Free Art Too?

Hi Everyone,

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.


artfully walls - gorgeous art wall - original art prints

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.



Ashley Chapman on instagram beautiful contemporary art wall and sectional

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.


Ashley Chapman on instagram beautiful contemporary art wall and sectional

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. :]

West Elm white art frame set for an art wall

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.


West Elm art gallery wall 3

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.


West Elm art gallery wall 4 bedroom

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.


free art wall - art gallery walls for different rooms

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!


61 Responses

  1. Well, Miss Laurel. I’m a LITTLE late to this party (mea maxima culpa; I never EVER delete your posts -no matter how long they’ve languished in my inbox. Rather I save them for the caprices of “me” time, which reserve themselves in very selfish fashion), but I have to say your shares here are golden. ChaosAndWonder is ….chaotic and wonder-full. I shall purchase from her/him, excellent art notwithstanding, for the reason that her business name is the very title of my life. Brava, brava, Laurel.

  2. hi Back to a couple of articles before about the seagrass. I felt like I was the one you were talking about and then saw my name mentioned in the comments.

    interesting! I had a sisal years ago and it was horrible to keep clean. We had a puppy and I thought I had kept up with her accidents until a few months later there were little yellow spots everywhere. yuck.

    With seagrass it never stained. anything at all. But you might be right. It might have just been some cheap sisal. After all it was a long time ago and I didn’t buy upgraded sisal.

    Now I feel awful about this. Talking everyone out of ordering something that doesn’t stain!!!!!!! omg!!!!! Give me a gun, please.

    Thanks for the lesson. I am going to be writing about seagrass in a few months and will mention this correction.



    1. Hi Joni,

      First of all, I’m so honored to see you here! And I mean that with all sincerity. Second of all, EVERYONE, I mean every designer (including you, of course) I’ve ever talked to and many chimed in on facebook as well, concur that sisal sucks and stay far, far away! However, this Pueblo weave is a different animal, I guess than its cousin, Boucle. haha.

      But, no matter. I too, love seagrass and have done dozens of those rugs for clients and as you say, they do not stain and will hold up well, unless there’s a big seagrass chewing dog around.

  3. I am an artist who sells prints of my work and original art as well. My belief is that Art should have personal meaning to the homeowner in some way.

  4. Such a great post. I love that you make design accessible to regular folk. I also love that this is crafty, creative and fun. Besides, if you don’t spend a ton on it you can change it up more often. A huge thanks to readers that posted links. I am gaga over the Biodiversity library!

  5. Oh, dear. I’ve already spent way too much time looking at all the links you and your dear readers have posted, and I’ve barely scratched the surface! This is dangerous 🙂 But, I LOVE this post, Laurel. I’m getting inspiration for re-doing our guest room and Christmas gift ideas, as well! Thank you (and everyone who has commented) for such great resources.

  6. I love your art wall posts! I have made one in a hallway and one in a family room following your advice. I spent about $350, but that includes black and white canvas prints of family photos.

    I had many frames and got some more frames from thrift stores.

    Another inexpensive way to get art prints for small frames is postcards.

  7. Lovely post, as always. I can’t wait to check the links for goodies!

    One very inexpensive framing technique I use is the $3 black-edged document frames from Walmart. They are 8.5×11”. I put a piece of neutral cardstock from Michael’s in the frames and then use a roll of adhesive photo corners, also from Michael’s, to mount snapshot sized photography I’ve done. To hang in an evenly spaced manner, I use a printer paper template with the corresponding frame nailhole marked on each sheet. Arrange papers in the positions you’d like your frames to be, nail the papers to the wall, pull papers off and replace with the framed pictures. For me it’s been an easy, inexpensive way to elevate images I already had.

    Sort of off subject and also a bit of a splurge, but if anyone needs to “hide” a TV in plain sight and add height to a room, I’ve had tremendous luck with the Petrichor tapestry from Anthropologie hung behind the TV, which sits on a vintage sideboard. The tapestry even covers my hideous antenna and wires.

  8. Oh yeah, I remember the last time this subject came around, and I weighed in that my mother was an artist.

    The thing is, artists choose to sell prints of their originals. And it can pay the bills for them if they sell enough of them.

    I LOVE a mix or original paintings and prints. Plus, even the relatively unknown artists I follow, sell prints of originals that have sold. Some of their work is so wonderful that I’d hate to forgo the print just because I couldn’t have the original.

  9. Love gallery walls!
    I am a watercolor artist so of course I appreciate originals but they are expensive.
    I find that mixing paintings (being originals or not) with other things like old postcards, photos, small pieces of cloth (like embroidery or lace), pressed feathers and leafs, kids paintings (which are originals, BTW!), old signs or plates, can make a sort of collage art wall without having to spend a lot. Just collecting framable o hangable stuff.
    Just having fun!
    Love your post Laurel!

    1. Hi Carolina,

      My two favorite pieces of art were made by my younger son when he was in elementary school. He had a lot of help, but they are incredibly charming and meaningful.

  10. thanks, Laurel. This is one of your most interesting posts/comments yet!
    who knew? It would be so nice if the artist who complained – thanked you for the publicity.
    The resources are incredible … & why not ‘high-low’ in art…as well as fashion ?
    There’s so much beauty in the world – lucky & grateful us…

  11. Fabulous suggestions and resources – both from you and your readers, Laurel. Thanks so much. (I read Jesi’s comment. Wow. I’m kind of speechless.)

    While we’re on the subject of art, I’m sure you saw that incident at Sotheby’s when Banksy’s Girl With a Balloon was shredded when the gavel went down. (How in the world did he do that?)

  12. Hi Laurel,

    I also wanted to mention that there are some incredible vintage posters out there, although not considered traditional art, are very beautiful. I am thinking now of Alphonse Mucha, who did world fair posters, among many things. A gal I know had a giant sized poster framed and it was so colorful and dramatic that it has me rethinking the entire direction of decorating my house. I would NEVER had thought to do this until I saw it in person and saw how wonderful and dramatic it could be. I am not tech savvy or I would post a link, but I don’t even think it would do it any justice anyway.

    Thanks again for a good post. I ordered art on etsy and wasn’t really pleased, helps to see things in person. Art is a tough subject….very subjective. Love your framing suggestions. Hope you are staying nice and warm In NY.

  13. Laurel, you’ve written a LOT of wonderful, helpful posts, but this one tops them all! I may have to quit my job to find the time to look at all these incredible photos and play with them on my walls, website, cards, etc. What a treasure trove! And more from readers! Just WOW!

    1. Thank you so much Anne. I’m always thinking as I’m working on a post. “oh, I hope someone likes this!” I never know for sure and wince a little when I hit “publish.” Plus, I’m my own editor for better or worse. haha. So, I try to take a step back and I’ll find myself thinking. “Oh, Laurel, take that entire paragraph out; you can’t say that!”

      But, this is one post where the comments truly enhance the post in the best way possible! I love that because it’s like you guys are helping me out! And believe me. I need all of the help I can get!

  14. Laurel, I think this is going to be one of my favorite posts. I can’t wait to check outs the links for the free or inexpensive prints. Until today, I never saw the email from that rather unhappy artist. Wow. That’s all I can say. I pity her. There is humor and joy in the midst of all circumstances if we would but see. I
    think it is a blessing that we live in age where anyone can obtain and enjoy beautiful prints. This has not always been true. My giclée prints have brought me so much joy over the years. The only original art we own is from an artist my husband likes in Maine who made (she is passed on now) affordable watercolors. I would like to have more original art, but for us (and I suspect lots of people) other home furnishing items are bigger priorities in the budget. My top priorities for extra income the last several years have been quality,comfortable, and beautiful furniture and the same for lighting. And of course, paying off those pesky student loans.

  15. We have all kinds of art in our home – very expensive commissioned portraits, expensive originals, inexpensive vintage, and $1 postcards that we framed in $5 frames from HobbyLobby. In other words, just because you like/need inexpensive art doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate originals. The two are not mutually exclusive.

  16. I just looked up my local museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, because I have bought prints there before and knew they are using a digital printing system to produce them. Today I found out that the MFAH is part of something called 1000Museums, which is a website where you can look up prints by artist, style, exhibition, museum, etc. A medium sized print (paper 16X20) seems to run around $45 not including postage. Of course, you can also visit your museum’s gift shop and not pay postage! However, the selection on this site is amazing.

    Here is one selection for you from MFAH:

    I think it is better to build a gateway to loving art on your walls, no matter the price, and then maybe people will end up buying original art from an artist maybe at a local show or event, once they build up confidence in their personal style.

    Oh and there are also original artists who sell on ebay and etsy, and some of them are very reasonable.

    And finally, consider signing up for a class! There is an art style for everyone, from drawing to collage, that will allow you to express your creativity. That’s one way to get some art on your walls–ok, not the quick way!

    P.S. 1000Museums has a feature on the order page where you can “see in a room” but it looks like you are seeing it in a museum–literally, bench and blank wall! They could use an “art wall” feature too.

  17. Taint your slapper-arounder’s comments wherein lies wisdom, Laurel, it’s your response! “Most beautiful paintings you’ve ever seen”? Well…, for some maybe… just not my cuppa tea.(In my 80 years, I’ve been known in my circle of influence as one who (in my reality, out of necessity) ‘decorates on a shoestring’. My more affluent friends called on me for (free) help…everyone is into spending less, you know. Besides, to me the fun of having an idea is in giving it away (in sharing). Art walls were a forte’…I’ll bet I may have even met your measurement criteria. You go girl! Novices, monetarily challenged, affluent, young, old, etc. …we ALL appreciate your sharing heart!

  18. Oh my achin’ heart! I can’t wait to scour all the links in your post and in the comments. My favorite template is the bedroom wall. Yummo! I’m hoping to address the two story open stairwell in our front entrance with a collection of white framed art. It is causing me serious heartburn and you’ve provided some great starting points. One of my favorite posts ever.

  19. Laurel
    A little off the subnect but do you know what the Blue color is on the wall. Perfect color for my wall. thank you

    1. Hi Jacqueline,

      Do you mean the colors on my boards? That is hex code #003855. But, this is what I always say when you see a color that you like in a photo or on your computer. You need to find THAT color and then try it in a sample on a separate board taped flat against the wall and then move it around and look in different lights.

  20. Hi Laurel,

    I trained and worked as an artist for many years and now work as a decorator/house painter/ furniture restorer/finisher……. much better income 🙂 However, I have never stopped being an artist- I just use my skills in a different way now. I read the response from your previous post. It is never a good thing when an artist is resentful as that attitude permeates your whole being. Reality is people only have so much money and it is their right to spend it as they wish.

    Buying original art is often not part of the budget, unfortunate as that may be for the many wonderful artists out there. That said, people should not discount ever owning original work. It’s a slow process. So making art walls with inexpensive prints is a great idea as people discover what they like and don’t like. Plus it educates everyone as they check out all these great website resources.

    Then as time goes on, and finances permit, they may find themselves one day in front of an exquisite piece of art that is within their price range, and the beginnings of a collection as some of those inexpensive prints come down and get replaced with original ones. I personally own quite a few lithographs as they are often less expensive forms of art due to them being a limited run and the artist can earn a much better income from a single image. My home only has original art now but I began with many prints. Also people can check out thrift stores for great inexpensive frames.

    On another note but similar topic, one of the reasons I love your blog is because you always bring us readers back to the art world to see the beauty of colours and interiors from the past. So, indeed you do support art!

    1. Hi Margaret,

      What a beautiful comment! Indeed I support all of the arts. I was president for three years of our high school’s extra-curricular “Arts Alive” parent-run group to enrich the lives of the students and the community as a whole. One of the things I love about Artfully Walls and Minted is that the work IS original art that has been turned into high-quality prints.

      I forgot this, but one time, for a client, I had an old book I had gotten at the Strand Book Store in New York City, for five bucks. It was filled with gorgeous architectural drawings from the 18th century. I took four of them and already had some beautiful ready-made gold frames from an art supply store of all places. That one was a lot of fun.

  21. I’m trying to create a wall gallery to surround a 50 inch flat screen, with a door on the same wall-I have temporarily given up, as there are easier projects left to complete first- I think I need to photoshop like you have and approximate sizes -if I can figure that our! Or use painters tape to block it out.

  22. Tried to post a few extra resources and it must have been too long as it didn’t work! So here are some thoughts.
    I love botanical prints but can’t afford the originals. In any case, many of those for sale are the result of vendors taking apart old books and then selling the prints separately, a practice of which I disapprove. So I go to the libraries which offer high-resolution images to print, which protects the actual book. For these, the Missouri Botanic Garden site is good, and several European universities/libraries have put up their flower books (e.g. Wageningen, Karlsruhe). Not to mention the British Museum. Provided the images are not used for commercial purposes, there are few restrictions on use, although the BM restricts the size you’re allowed to print.

  23. Dear Laurel,
    I’m a fiend for botanical prints. I’ve found that a good source is the Missouri Botanical Library’s digital resource (which may be the Biodiversity Heritage Library in another guise):
    You have to browse authors, and you can find a lot of eighteenth and nineteenth-century works here. From the same library is the rare books department. For citrus prints in black & white (Ferrari, 1646):
    For older stuff, German museum sites are very good, for instance Karlsruhe if you’re into tulips:
    Another place for tulips is the Dutch university of Wageningen, for the tulip book of P. Cos: rooting around the internet, you can find plenty of other good sources! When I see a free download on a blog, I do a bit of research and usually find the source, for instance Volkamer (1713) and Weinmann (1737-45), both on the first source cited.
    I enjoy rooting around and finding prints for myself. So I’ve also got a good stock on my computer of Ulisse Aldrovandi and Jacob Marrel.
    All the sites mentioned have very high-quality resolution available. But please note that printing from them is strictly for non-commercial use. The same applies to the British Museum site, which has thousands of images — but you have to register and make a copyright-respecting declaration, and prints from your download are restricted as to size.
    Finally, I know this isn’t for everybody (and it’s no criticism of you, Laurel), but I also collect second-hand frames from a local charity shop, in all shapes and sizes, the only point being that a frame should be solid and have good mouldings, the colour and finish can easily be changed. Time is of the essence here: if you’re prepared to wait, you can even build up a collection of matching frames! But perhaps I’m unusually lucky in my charity shop…

    1. Hi Gilly. I see above, that you didn’t realize that the comments are moderated. Please accept my apologies. There’s supposed to be something that lets you know, but obviously, it’s missing. I’ll see if we can fix that. Thank you so much for your always wonderful comments including this one. I learn so much from you guys. Gosh, this is incredible! I can’t wait to pore over all of these sources!

  24. Hello Laurel, I hope that you are not including me among the people who get hysterical about either free or from-starving-artists art. I sometimes write about inexpensive resources because the subject at hand is budget restraints, but I don’t mean to be too dogmatic. I have obtained art and decor for free, and have also paid hefty prices for some pieces I like. Buying some cheap pieces can also allow you to splurge for that one special expensive piece.

    As with my comment about lamps, I would like to point out that old frames with ugly, damaged, or no art can be reused or taken apart to frame newer pieces. These old frames can be free or nearly so. I am sure there are many Youtube videos on reusing frames, but here is one that I came across:

    Your commenters mentioned several great sources for on-line prints, which might be generically enlarged to include many museums, colleges, archives, etc. Also, lots on on-line books include pdf files of the illustrations which can be borrowed. When doing internet searches you can specify for high-resolution images that will reproduce well. It is even possible to take photos of images in books and reproduce them. (If the images are very old, there are probably no copyright issues with them.)

  25. Wow! Jesi Pace-Berkeley does beautiful work! Which I would have never seen if you hadn’t posted her link. Hopefully she will have many well paying commissions from the bit of PR and marketing you gave her and will get her white sofa!
    My art budget leans more toward the Siegnac print that I bought at…horrors!…Walmart 15 years ago and put in a thrifted frame. It makes the sofa pop. And my husband pops everytime he sees the naked cupid in it.
    Bottom line, most of us want to buy a Michael Kors purse but there is no shame in leading a shopper to a decent Target tote if thats what they need.

  26. Hi Laurel! Just wanted to add these two links if permitted for all to share. They will absolutely blow your mind.

    The first link will take you to a .org site that is a clearinghouse of archived… well everything. The provided links will take you to publically accessible images of fine art, architecture, books, and frankly more than you can possibly imagine is available free online, all allowed for personal use by such reputable sources such as:
    The National Archive
    Library of Congress
    Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Brooklyn Museum
    Getty Institute

    This next one is my personal favorite. The Biodiversity Heritage Library is devoted to free access of biodiversity knowledge for discovery and learning, this they provide this Flickr account for all to access and download images. Get ready to flip out!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Welcome To Laurel Home!


Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

New Edition, November 2022! Get The Indispensable Guide For 100s of Home Furnishings And Interior Design Sources That Everyone Is Raving About

laurels-rolodex-final-book-cover-master 9th edition 22-23

laurel home archives


Please click the image below for more info about my rockin’ Interior Design Guides for 2023!

Laurel Home Interior Design Guides 2023
Amazon ad

please click below to check out my favorite decorating & design books

Laurel Bern's Favorite Interior Design and Decorating Books
Subscribe To The Laurel Home Blog And You Will Receive A FREE Guide Where I Share How To Get Your Paint Colors Right, The First Time.