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Decorating: How to Make Your Walls Works of Art

woman with bun examining wall art

Once upon a time, in a dorm room far far away, decorating was simple. We bought a few posters, tacked or taped them up and then taped up snapshots of our friends wherever there was a blank patch. Sure, some people put more effort into it, but for the most part, that was how we did things. And we kept decorating that way even after we graduated.

Then somewhere along the way, having posters tacked up on the walls started to feel tacky. The need for frames got stronger. Coordination took on an unprecedented importance. And, most importantly, we felt the need for our decor choices to reflect not just what music we listened to and which actors we lusted after, but what kind of people we were overall.

And that’s where we got tripped up. How on earth do we use wall art to convey that we are happy people with refined taste and a passion for elegance? How do we illustrate that we eschew the status quo and go our own way?

There are a lot of ways to decorate your walls to reflect your innermost self. It might not feel that way now, but keep reading.

Step One: What Kind of Space Do You Have?

Do you have a lot of large, blank walls that will need to be filled, or is your floorplan more open? What are the dimensions of the space? What is its square footage? Both of these details are important because they will play the biggest roles in your decorating choices–more so than even your budget (we’ll get to that in a minute).

For example, if you have a large open space, you might get further making use of murals instead of using smaller pieces the way you would if the square footage was small.

What’s Your Budget?

Figure out how much you have to spend before you start shopping for prints and other decorations. Don’t worry if your budget is extremely limited, we’ll help you with that soon. The reason you need a number now is to keep you from going overboard. It’s easy to get caught up in a decorating frenzy. Minding a budget will keep you from having to eat ramen for a month and from creating a space so filled with decorative clutter that you start to feel claustrophobic if you spend more than five minutes within it.

What is Your Color Scheme?

This is also important to decide before you start looking for decorative items. It’s good to decide on a few basic colors early on so that, as you decorate and build your home’s feel, you can create a cohesive look. A set color scheme also makes it physically easier for your eyes to look around your home. When there are too many clashing or competing colors, our eyes get stressed out. This color scheme isn’t just important for your walls. It is also important for your linens, your furniture, etc.

Saving Money

If you don’t have a ton of money to spend on prints and wall art, don’t fret! There are quite a few things that you can do to decorate without spending much at all. Here are a few tips:

Use your own photos.

Everybody knows the basics of this one. Print out your own photos, put them in frames and hang them or place them strategically around the room. Your home becomes a tribute to your work and life, which is good!

Another way to use your own photos is to plug the image into Photoshop or another image editor and playing around with it. Many of these programs have filters and tools that you can use to make a photo look like a painting, a pencil sketch, etc. Play around with the image, print it on canvas (you can do this relatively cheaply online) or use linen printer paper to add texture before you frame and viola! Art!

Hunt for Frames

You’ve probably heard that you can often find great and cheap frames at your local thrift shops. This is true! Another great place to find cheap frames is an art supply store. Most art supply stores offer professional framing, sure, but they will also often sell basic cheap frames that you can paint or decorate however you want. Ikea is another option.

And make no mistake: frames are not optional on prints or photos. The only things you can get away without framing are actual paintings on canvas and murals. Otherwise, frame it up!

See? Decorating and filling your walls doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Use these tips to help you get started and don’t forget to have fun!

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