Cheap art: 9 tips on how to decorate without breaking the bank

Everyone wants to have pretty things on their walls but most people don’t have the money to buy expensive works of art. This lack of funds does not have to mean that you can’t own nice, original art to display in your house.

Here are 9 tips that I live by in order to decorate without breaking the bank.

1. Buy drawings instead of paintings

Drawings are much cheaper to produce then paintings, so the price tag goes accordingly. Some artists specialize in drawing, while others will sell sketches and preparation studies that were done for future artworks.

Where to find some on the Internet: numerous Etsy shops like Old Passion, Amelia Herbertson and Teva Gallery. The Untapped Cities Shop on Society 6.

Where to find some in person: Decorating stores, Art Galleries (In Montreal: Galleries at the Belgo Building)

Etsy drawing poster

2. Buy silkscreen printings and posters

Much like drawings, silkscreen printings and posters are usually very affordable. Artists and photographers often sell poster format copies of their art and will also give different choices in terms of paper quality. If you are ready to sacrifice a bit of image quality, you can find gorgeous posters for 20-30$.
Where to find some on the Internet: Etsy, Society 6(Victor Vercesi, David Fleck), Dan Stiles, AllPosters

Where to find some in person: Decorating Stores, Art Galleries, Frame and Poster stores (In Montreal: Buk & Nola, À l’affiche, Montréal Images)

Art Print by Pascal Normand for Rustique Design
Art Print by Pascal Normand For Rustique Design

Anna Bond Framed print

Art Print by Anna Bond for Rifle Paper Co.
Banksy maid poster
Maid sweeping by Banksy. Poster found at Montréal Images.

Vargas girl poster in my kitchen

Vargas girl poster in my kitchen, found on

3. Frame scrapbooking paper

Just go to your local scrapbooking or art supply store and find some paper with designs, colors and textures you like. Cut it, frame it, hang it and voila!
Where to find on the Internet: A Cherry on top
Where to find in person: Art supply shops (In Montreal, Omer DeSerres)

Framed scrapbooking paper art blue Framed Scrapbooking paper art flowers

Framed scrapbooking paper art gray

4. Do it yourself

I know what you are saying:

‘But I don’t have the skills, time or patience.’

Well, that’s why I did a series of posts called Easy crafts for lazy people. These take less than 1 hour and cost less than 15$ to make:

Find the tutorial for these DIY kitchen magnets here.
DIY bleach fabric art
Find the tutorial here for this bleached fabric wall art here.
DIY Map framed art Paris
I haven’t posted the DIY for this map art on here yet but I will do it soon!

5. Ask for it as a gift

We all know someone who’s creative and has that drawing or painting hobby going on. For your birthday, Christmas or your housewarming party, let them know that you’d like a piece of theirs as a gift. It’s not expensive, they’ll enjoy making it and will love to see it displayed at your place. Plus, it’s unique.

If you don’t have a crafty friend, you can also ask a few friends and relatives to come together  to buy a bigger, more expensive piece you’ve been eyeing and can’t afford to buy by yourself.
New York City Family Portrait
Hélène Plourde

6. Find good quality stickers

Easy to install, versatile, simple to remove. This is especially good for those of you who are renting and can’t put holes in the wall.

Where to find them on the Internet: Etsy has plenty of great shops like My Wall Stickers or DecalsArt

Where to find them in person: I got mine from Ikea. In Montreal, Omer DeSerres sells some too.
IKEA keith haring stickers

7. Thrift or scavenge through sales and ‘As is’ sections in stores

Patience is key here. Take your time and don’t get discouraged if it takes a while to find something. Always be on the lookout, even when you are shopping for something else. You never know when you’ll find that funky poster, that pretty frame, that gorgeous vintage metal platter.

Where to find them in person: The title says it all: thrift stores, sales, ‘As is’ sections. In Montreal: Urban Outfitters, FripePrix Renaissance, Value Village/Village des Valeurs, Salvation Army/Armée du Salut, Marché aux puces Saint-Michel, Montreal Mega Reuse Center.
Table top as art work on wall

Thrift store art work finds

8. Print at home

Using Picasa, you can print out a large poster.

Here are the steps to follow:
How to print a poster with Picasa

I printed the pages and used Mod Podge to glue them onto an old poster. I’m planning on framing it eventually because the paper has curled a bit. I still think it looks good and since I couldn’t find the image I wanted as a poster, I’m happy with the result!
DIY home printed movie poster Charlie Chaplin Modern Times
Framed travel pictures printed at home

Here’s a photo I took in Istanbul, printed at home and framed in a dollar-store frame. Total cost? Less than 3$

9. Frame or display vinyl records

Vinyl records were great not only for the sound quality, but because they provided a large sized canvas on which to display visuals that created a visual environment to go along with the music. Today, their popularity has reemerged and artists are once again releasing albums in that format. You can buy the new ones, or find some vintage ones at thrift stores. I also got lots of them from my father and my grandparents.

Where to find them in person in Montreal: Francophonies, Marché aux puces Saint-Michel.

Vinyl record as art

I always love to see what other people are doing to decorate their dwellings without spending loads of money so if you guys have any more tips and ideas, feel free to share them!

4 thoughts on “Cheap art: 9 tips on how to decorate without breaking the bank

    1. lapetitelea Post author

      Thank you for visiting my blog! I don’t understand Italian (even though my grandfather was from Como) but I will still come to visit your blog to see your tutorials.

  1. Chloé

    I really like your blog, this is a very inspiring post! I love Rustique Design and the posters really aren’t that expensive!
    By the way, I’m from Montreal too! 🙂


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