Hello, welcome back. After a brief hiatus to recover from the content marathon that was the Christmas period, we’re back. I wanted to start off 2021 with a post I’ve been meaning to write for a few years now. I get asked a lot over on Instagram where some of the prints and artwork that hang on my walls are from, so I thought I’d put everything in one place and also offer up some suggestions on where you can find affordable art.
Affordable is of course different to each of us. For me (and for the purposes of this blog) that largely sits below £150, although more often than not here, it sits below £50 too. The artwork in my flat is a real mix of investment pieces from brands like King & McGaw and much more inexpensive ways of approaching art; like magazine covers, postcards and actually in some cases my own photography.
If you follow me over on Instagram you might know that when it comes to gallery walls and artwork I’m not all that precious. It moves around a lot, particularly in my bedroom. I always feel like your walls should be an eclectic mix of things that reflects your life. As such you’ll find some of my gallery walls have Polaroids from weddings, photos from my travels, covers carefully removed from vintage magazines and in the case of my dining room, even a beer coaster I loved the design off from a bar in Rome. I say anything goes, so long as you make it well thought out.
So if you’re on the look out for some affordable artwork for your walls, where to look?
Check out eBay for listings of vintage postcards – I have several of Newcastle on my hall walls. Framed up they look amazing. You can literally find all sorts here for next to no money.
Whilst most of our galleries might be sadly closed for now their online stores aren’t. The V&A, Royal Academy, Tate and Design Museum’s stores are fully stocked with some amazing prints, often at really great prices.
Look at magazines or books; eBay is a treasure trove of vintage issues of Vogue. Far cheaper than buying a print, simply scalpel off the cover and use it in the frame. In the past I’ve hunted out the cover from the month a friend was born and had it framed up. My flat has all sorts of magazine covers framed – during 2020 I order Vogue covers from around the world. I’m not sure it’s a year we’ll all want to remember, but it’s an interesting way of keeping a record of things I find.
As ever, Etsy is your friend. There are some amazing artists out there, all selling their work via the platform. Think outside the box, look at some of the incredible Lino Prints that are being produced. Each one will differ in someway due to the method of production, but they’re wonderfully graphic whilst still being unique.
Look for greetings cards you love or even wrapping papers in an amazing print. Add a custom mount (maybe even go extreme and make it a really wide one) and it can look fantastic. I used a sheet of wrapping paper for one of the frames in my bedroom, you can see that below. Try Wrap Magazine for a great selection.
And if you’re look for more ideas, below you’ll find a selection of art prints from artists big and small, along with a few links to the pieces I’m often asked about.
One of the questions I’m asked the most is where is the Picasso print from. Whilst it’s framed by hand for John Lewis & Partners, the piece is actually made by King & McGaw. It’s incredible quality, with the most beautiful double frame. It’s a huge piece and one I’ll undoubtedly have for years to come. It’s at the top of the pricing here, £199, but for the scale and the fact it’s so beautifully framed? Amazing value.
The piece beside it in this picture is by an artist called Michelle Collins and is from King & McGaw itself. You can find that piece, Into The Light, here.
Frames don’t have to cost the earth for sure, though if truth be told, I don’t tend to use IKEA for my frames. Look, I know they’re the go-to for any people, but for me they’re always just a bit too chunky and a bit too plastic looking. If I was wanting a black frame then I might well go to IKEA, but the wooden effect ones… I just feel like look a little cheap. You can now get hold of incredibly affordable oak frames from sites like Desenio (great if you’re wanting a big frame and don’t want to spend a fortune, but be warned they’re not the most robust construction) or H&M Home, who offer a multitude of frames in various colours.
Before Christmas I happened up a solid oak frame on the Matalan website and was quite frankly amazed. It’s solid oak… and £4? That frame features in several shots here. I purchased in bulk and as presents actually framed some photographs I’d taken of my family in these, ordering a custom cut mount to make everything look sleek and professional.
I prefer a thinner frame in general, rather than anything too bulky. Nowadays most frames come with acrylic in them rather than glass, greatly cutting down the weight. Realistically this means you’re able to use Command strips to hang your frames rather than hammering in nails; perfect for those who find it hard to fully commit.
In my eyes a picture isn’t framed without a mount. I like the distance between the frame and the artwork itself, even when it’s a huge poster sized one. Where possible I would always advise buying a frame bigger than you need so you can include a mount. I order all the mounts in my pictures from here. You can choose the colour, paper style and even the way the window is cut. If you plan on using irregular shaped items in your frames (like polaroid pictures, photobooth strips or even tickets) his is a really inexpensive way of making things look well thought out and professional. You just pop in the measurements of the item itself, and the frame, and it’ll create the mount you’ll need for it.
Creating A Gallery Wall.
A few years back I did a post on exactly how I go about creating a gallery wall, you can find that post here. It’s still relevant and it’s still how I do it! I arrange things on the floor, draw round each frame on wrapping paper, or brown paper, and play around with taping them to the wall until it all looks right.