I have lived in my 1879 Victorian for about 3 and a half years. I have to be honest, I have very little on my walls. Maybe it’s because of my incredible ability to overthink things. Maybe it’s “option overload” from working as an Interior Designer. Or maybe it’s where my frugality comes in strong.
The truth is…It’s a little bit of all those things.
But this year I made a resolution to try my best to actually get things finished in the areas of my house where I am so close to the finish line. This large “live in” renovation lifestyle isn’t for the faint of heart. We’ve worked hard on so many areas in our home and the finishing touches for many spaces require art work. Naturally as a designer, I have expensive taste in art and I love a variety of different styles. But like most American moms I’m trying to create a welcoming home without breaking the bank (on every single wall). Below are a four ideas for dressing up blank walls that I have either already implemented in my own home or plan to introduce in the near future.
Pages From A Book
I recently did, in fact, get some art work up in my daughters room. It was an easy project and its inspiration was just as simple. A vintage Golden Book was all I needed to (literally) start telling a story on her wall. I framed four pages from Richard Scarry’s Naughty Bunny. A tale of a bunny who bothered his parents all day long only to end up promising sweetly to be better behaved tomorrow. This story is exactly what years 2 through 4 have been like with my oldest. I couldn’t pass up the adorable illustrations and had to laugh at the story line (because somedays as a mom if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry). And now after we’ve tucked her in and read whatever book she picked out, we finish the day reading the story on the wall above her bed. Then we say prayers under the covers. So even if your nursery or big kids room is all set for now, consider framing a page or two from a book to hang where you have a blank space. It could be a few pages from your favorite book of poems, tattered pages from a well loved and falling apart bible, complete with notes and highlights, or even a funny comic book page. Aside from a child’s room, the bathroom might just be the next best spot for readable art.
If you (or a friend) have a projector, a piece of paper, and a pencil you can create your own silhouette cameo to frame and hang. There is something so classic about a black silhouette of a loved ones profile on white paper. I have one of my Grandma that she had done in Walt Disney World in 1966. For years it hung in her bedroom above my Grandpa’s dresser and now after her passing, it’s found a home with me. If you don’t trust your own tracing and cutting skills, you can get personalized silhouettes through Essie Griffin. You can find her on Instagram @afamilyprintshop. She’s a Mama, a homemaker, and silhouette artist.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… The best thing for your walls will always be real art work. Paintings that have been painted by someone you know or that have a subject matter that you love are really the way to make your house feel like home. I am lucky to have a few artists in my own family. I was gifted a few from one of my Dad’s cousins. Jimmy was an art teacher for years on the Oregon coast. I have three ocean scenes painted by him. Although I really only had the opportunity to spend time with him once, I know that the times my Dad spent with Jimmy in his youth were part of his best childhood memories. When I look at these paintings I feel a strong connection to those in my family who went before me. I am reminded how my Great Grandmother’s creative and resourceful spirit filtered down through her children and to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Many of us in the family are artists.
If you don’t have access to artwork created by friends and family, start with estate sales and Facebook Marketplace. Sometimes the most beautiful art is hiding in someone’s attic or basement. I was able to obtain a large mountain landscape for $25 from a young couple who just bought a new house. The painting was simply left behind by the previous owner. Most importantly, even though saving money and being resourceful is key during these times of record inflation, if there’s an artist whom you love and their work speaks to your soul, remember that it’s ok to splurge and support them. Their business relies on everyday people willing to make the investment. An investment in a piece of art that brings a smile to your face for years is money well spent.
Fabric and Sewing Collage
Remember back in the day how we would cut up magazines and newspapers and make collages? Well what if you did that again but made a collage out of fabric. These fabric pieces could actually come together to create a bigger picture. If you are already a sewer and have a big box of scrap fabrics and ribbons then you are more than halfway there. If crafting without directions isn’t your thing, then take a look at WattleandLoop.com. You can purchase a slow stitching kit and make your own fabric art. It’s a great way to get the kids involved in a hands-on art project. Traditional embroidery and needle point are two other options for making art using sewing skills. The best part is if you are the artist you can make it as modern or traditional as you like. So, whether you choose a kit or DIY it completely, this textured and layered art will really stand out.
I hope these ideas inspired you to fill up your walls with meaningful imagery. And as always, keep up the good work Mamas. Homemaking is hard, but you where made for this 🙂