Spice Up
Your Walls

Welcome to Decorating Diva, where every week we share fresh, fun ways to update your home and spice up your living space! If you have walls that are screaming for some form of art, but you’re not sure you can afford a new painting, fear not. There are several simple and stylish ways to add art on a budget and give your home a whole new look in the process.

Decorating Diva

Photo wall

1Frame some fabric

We love the idea of giving new life to a colorful piece of fabric simply by popping it into a frame. Put almost anything behind glass and it takes on a completely different look. Take a look around your home for anything you no longer wear that's made from a fabric or pattern you love. Cut it to match the size of your frame and use glue or double-sided tape to adhere it to the frame's hard board back. If you don't have anything worth framing hanging around the house, check out fabric stores for swatches that catch your eye, or head to a thrift or vintage store to see if you can find something you like there.

Inspiration: Silk scarves in color-block patterns or with a 1960s or '70s feel are a great choice..

2Get the kids involved

If you have kids, chances are they bring home a lot of creative projects. Instead of relegating their creations to a desk drawer because you've run out of space on the fridge, choose the ones you like best (or better yet, let the kids choose), frame them and find a spot on the wall to showcase your little Picasso's work.

3Display pretty plates

Pretty painted plates in interesting designs make a simple and stylish addition to your wall décor. Garage sales can be a gold mine of interesting plates, and look in other, nontraditional places -- we found this beautiful peacock plate at Urban Outfitters for only $6. To give a smaller plate more depth you can attach it to a larger plate or create an eye-catching look using a white plate attached to something bright (white on red or royal blue works well). To hang your plates you can use disc hangers or wire plate hangers (available at most hardware or craft supply stores).

4Scour thrift stores

Thrift stores are often packed with a plethora of possible options for covering your walls with something attention-grabbing. This isn't where you go looking for that long-lost Van Gogh, but you can find framed landscapes, interesting portraits or sketches, and framed prints and posters all for under $10. The trick is to be patient – you might have to hit a few stores before you find something you want to take home and hang on the wall – and keep an open mind. Art is whatever you want it to be and there are no rules.

5Show off vintage jewelry

If you have a piece of heirloom jewelry you never wear, show it off by putting it into a frame. Get a shadow box (deeper than a regular frame), open it up and attach some felt to the backboard. Cover that with a piece of silk or linen, carefully lay your jewelry on top and pin into place. Then simply pop the frame and glass back on and hang in a spot where your newest piece of DIY art will get noticed. This works particularly well with statement necklaces featuring chunky stones or pearls.

6Create a photo wall

A gallery wall featuring several of your favorite photos – travel photos make for a particularly striking option – is a fun way to fill a large blank space. Choose the snapshots that mean the most to you or that stand out, and print them at home or get them professionally printed. Having two or three different sizes is a good idea if you want to create some added interest and depth. Find frames for your photos and hang them mosaic-style in a large enough space that each photo has breathing room.

Before you start hanging, lay each framed photo on newsprint or cardboard, trace around each piece and cut them out. Now you can tape the shapes onto the wall to get a sense of where you want to hang each photo before you begin.

7Shop emerging artists

You may not be able to afford the latest and greatest artists who have taken the art world by storm, but you can probably afford those that are more up-and-coming. Art schools usually have sales at the end of the school year as a way for students to show off their work, or you can go to galleries in your neighbourhood to see if any are featuring emerging artists. There is so much art out there that what you buy doesn't have to be expensive – it only has to make a positive impression on you and suit your aesthetic.

8Borrow or rent art

Do you have friends who are artists? If so, they often have more work than they have space to exhibit it -- so why not offer your wall as a temporary home for some of their older work or anything not currently in a gallery? We know several artists who regularly depend on friends with space on their walls to house larger pieces, and it's a great way to get fabulous art for free. Sure, you can't keep it, but you will be able to enjoy it for as long as it needs a good home. You can also rent fine art from various organizations including Art Rent & Lease and Patou Fine Art & Design.

Home how-to

How to create fabric wall art

Helen Fawcett, owner of Whiz Bang Fabrics in San Francisco, shows us how to make funky fabric wall art.

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