Affordable Original Art -- 6 ways to jumpstart your collection

Have you ever wanted to own original art but thought that art collecting was only for the rich and famous?  Many people think that buying original art is too expensive, but I disagree!

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I like to promote the acquisition of original art for home design.  You've got to start looking locally in your area, researching the type of art that inspires you, or even venture to create your own!

Here are 6 ways to curate a beautiful art collection in your own home...

Check your area for galleries featuring local artists.  Often times they are called 'artist studios', and some areas even have what's called 'open studios', where art is displayed in private residences.  Prices are usually very affordable and you may even have a chance to meet the artist at one of the venues, which would be wonderful!

Special Bonus:  Some galleries let you 'rent' the art for a period of time to see if you really, really love it in your home!

In San Francisco, we have the Museum of Modern Art Artists Gallery (which is located at Fort Mason and not in the museum downtown), where artists are carefully vetted before their work is selected -- and the prices are amazing!

Flea markets are an awesome way to find vintage art, and integrate it into your collection.  Look for similar colors and hues and create a gallery wall with your finds.


You might be shaking your head at this one, but I recently scored an awesome original painting by one of my favorite artists, Michelle Armas, on Craigslist in San Francisco for a FRACTION of the price.  

To search on craigslist, type in 'original art' in the search area and then click 'gallery view' - so that all the photos come up and you can search quickly by what catches your eye!  

(This is the Michelle Armas painting that I scored on Craigslist!)

4.  ETSY has become one of my top choices when sourcing affordable art for my clients.  The easy way to search, is to type in the genre (abstract, figurative, impressionist, etc.) and then add in the color and size for which you are looking.

5.  DIY 
Choose colors that you love (or create a color scheme using color theory) and then go for it. :)

(This is a little series of paintings that I've been working on.....)

This, my friends, I could do for hours!  Google, Pinterest, Houzz, Blogs....the list goes on and on, in terms of ways to search for original art.  What inspires you?  Color, concept, history, shapes, animals, light, landscape, culture.........the ideas are endless!

Personally, I'm a huge mid-century modern fan, and my favorite gallery is Lost Art Salon in San Francisco.  They have a FABULOUS website, here

As luck would have it for my readers, Serena & Lily curates much of their art collection from my friends at Lost Art Salon, so you can view more beautiful images, here.

I hope this has inspired you to find art that you love!

Before and After - Reupholstery makes such a difference

For all you Manuel Canovas (designer fabric) lovers, here's a another 'before and after'....

And, I'm putting the 'after photo' first, because it's so pretty....

This chair was a sad sight when I picked it up from an estate sale. 

The original chair had a button detail on the arm rest, but I changed it to a pleated edge.

 The backside looks pretty sweet as well.....

This chair would look so cute in a girl's bedroom!