When it comes to building an art collection for your home, what is the first type of art that comes to mind? A painted canvas, a print or maybe a cool ceramic piece? where do you buy your art A big store, gallery or Etsy?
When you buy art are you trying to fill a blank wall or get something you love?
I have to admit I brought certain pieces of art into our house just because I was tired of staring at a blank wall! It took me a bit to realize that it’s okay to wait until I find the perfect piece.
In this post I want to share some ways I love collecting art for my home. Hopefully it will inspire you to look for different ways to build your own art collection!
Turn personal items/memorabilia into art
In college, my favorite art history teacher once said, “Art is whatever the artist calls art.” I think that statement applies to what I consider art as well. This statement has always attracted me and it changed my view of what counts as art.
To me, art can be small or even mundane, but when you put it in a frame it can become something very special. An example of this is a small framed flower in my bedroom. When I was on a trip, my daughter (who was just a toddler at the time) picked a little flower and gave it to me.
I loved it so much but wasn’t sure where to put it so I put it in my iPhone case (between the phone and the case). I found it about a month later and it was pressed perfectly.
I got a tiny frame and put the pressed flower in it. A lot of people wouldn’t be interested in this little dried flower, but every time I look at it, I’m reminded of the sweet memory my daughter gave me.
Personal pieces can be displayed in your home to remind you of people you love or a memory you shared with someone. Maybe you have a leftover ticket from a really great concert you went to, or a piece of nature you took on a hike.
Whatever it is, try to think of small and simple things that you can turn into art. Something that tells YOUR story and makes YOU happy every time you see it.
Buy art from artists you know
I firmly believe in supporting creative friends. Buy their art, exhibit it and encourage them in their creative journey. The beautiful weaving in the photo above is done by my talented friend Rachel Denbow.
Another example of getting art through someone you know is to have a child you know make something. This can be a niece, a nephew, your friend’s child, or even your own child. Children have an amazing way of seeing the world and transfer it to canvas or paper.
I adore this kids picture frame that Laura made.
When the Covid lockdown first took place in early 2020, I was at home a lot with my children. For a week we spent their lunch breaks watching art class videos on YouTube Lunch doodles with Mo Willems. My kids loved gathering together while watching Mo’s art class. It was a ray of hope in an unknown time.
I had a large canvas that I had textured in the garage and after we finished an hour my then first grader asked if he could paint on the blank canvas.
I found some bottles (almost empty!) of acrylic paint in the garage and he started painting. He worked a few hours and came back to it a few times during the week before saying it was done.
The painting is a reminder of our time at home during lockdown and the art classes my kids so enjoyed. It didn’t take much planning or materials but I will always love this precious painting that feels like a time capsule and reminder of 2020.
Shop for used paintings
I took several painting classes in college and tried my best to be reasonably decent, but I have to admit I’m a terrible painter! I think that’s why I’m so drawn to paintings.
Their beauty can come from the colors and composition, but also from the complexity of the painting itself. My favorite places to find original paintings are antique malls and thrift stores. They usually have an abundance of paintings.
My only personal criterion when buying a painting is love at first sight! If you want it to hang in your home then you must love it! eBay, EBTH, Etsy, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace are other excellent resources for finding paintings.
I also love putting original paintings in my kids’ rooms so they can appreciate them too!
Once, while my husband and I were house hunting, we saw a house online and he wanted to check it out, but I wasn’t that interested. As I took a closer look at the listing, I noticed that the listing images contained wonderful artwork and paintings.
We looked at the house with our agent but my secret reason was just to see the art! The owners, a sweet man and his wife (both 90), lived in the house and have been collecting art all their lives. Her story was amazing and her collection was beautiful.
Well… we bought the house and some of their art! I was a little nervous asking about purchasing the art (not to offend) but was so excited when the agent said the couple were thrilled that we were interested and it actually helped them bond shrink.
I would go to their house and they would take me from room to room telling me about each piece and how they acquired it. It was special that they let me into their lives and sold me some of their prized possessions.
Here is my favorite picture hanging in our bedroom. I have others scattered throughout our home and I can’t help but smile when I see their paintings and think of this sweet couple.
Collect individual items to create an art collection
My uncle is a great interior designer. He lives a few hours away, but every time I walk into his house it’s like stepping into an art museum.
Paintings cover all his walls and are stacked one on top of the other and he has the finest collections of objects and trinkets he has collected over the years. Every end table and coffee table in their home is adorned with something collectible and special.
He always has a story behind every piece and I love listening when he tells me about it. He loves paperweights and has a great collection of the beautiful glass balls.
When I was little, I was fascinated by the intricacy and beauty of his paperweights. I only started collecting paperweights last year (thanks to him).
They are tiny crystal balls with intricate patterns inside. There are detailed ones that are quite complicated to make and the process is really amazing!
Here’s a little video of how a certain kind is made, and here’s a paperweight that I can’t understand the work of! He is unbelievable! The amount of creativity and time that goes into making these little pieces of glass is nothing short of amazing.
If you study the history and different manufacturers of paperweights, you’ll quickly realize that they can be very expensive.
I don’t have any expensive or rare ones, but maybe one day I’ll stumble upon one at a thrift or antique store. I always keep my eyes open for them! At the moment I’m enjoying expanding my collection by browsing eBay and Etsy.
Another collection I have is this white ceramic set. I wanted to keep this china stall filled with simple yet beautiful pieces. I decided all white pottery was the way to go.
I’ve enjoyed making collections like this because it keeps my eyes open and I’m always looking to add a piece to the collection. All pieces (except one) are from Goodwill or flea markets.
It’s so much fun looking for art for your home. I hope you enjoy reading my personal favorite tips and have fun art hunting! -Janae
PS Check out my post Tips for Framing Unique Art for more ideas!