4 Ways To Get Great Art For Your Home Without Breaking The Bank

Today we welcome back our Tuesday contributor, Catherine Alford!

I really love to collect art. My husband and I always try to bring a little something home every time we travel. It’s such a fun way to remind us of various adventures and memories, and we love having a lot of unique items in our home.

Of course, we’re not serious collectors standing in an art gallery and discussing the merits of certain pieces. We just like bright colors and unique images that really capture some of the places we’ve been and the people we’ve met.

If you’ve always wanted to add a little art to your home, here are some inexpensive ways you can do it:

Make It Yourself

I know, I know. We’re not all Picasso. However you’d be surprised how easy it is to make a little art. I once thought my friends wedding invitation was so cute, I cropped it and put it in a frame. It had two little love birds on it, and the graphic was great.

I’ve also put scrapbook paper behind frames and unique magazine pages that have cool images on them. Art is everywhere. Sure you could spend a few grand on a painting or you could just use your creativity and make something great.

Buy It From Street Vendors

When we backpacked through Europe as college students, my husband and I bought a pencil sketch from a street vendor in Paris. It was only $20, and we loved it. So, when we inadvertently left it on a train, we actually decided to go back and get it in a different city! It makes for a great story and a fun memory, and we love telling it when people ask us about the sketch. Street vendors can actually be pretty talented, and it’s great to help someone with their passion.

Give Back To Art Students

My mom’s favorite Mother’s Day gift from me is this ceramic bowl that I bought in college at an art student sale. It’s really unique with an usual shape and cool colors, and she puts her jewelry in it at night. It was under $10, and it benefited the art department at my school. Art is all about making others happy, so I was definitely willing to support their cause and get a great Mother’s Day gift at the same time.

Use Postcards

When you travel, you can find some great post cards. My advice is to stop at an antique store and try to find some old ones. You can create a whole collection by putting a post card of every city you’ve been to behind a frame. They cost less than $1 each most of the time so it’s a fun way to show where you’ve been. You could do the same thing with places you’ve lived or where your family is from. Either way, they can create a very inexpensive display in your home.

So, I want to hear from you. Do you like collecting art? What’s your favorite piece in your home?

Like What You See?

Join the other readers who have signed up for our email newsletter! No spam, just periodic updates to help improve your finances!

About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is a personal finance freelance writer who received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. She enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog, www.BudgetBlonde.com.


  1. Interesting post. I’ve never been a big fan of art myself though.

  2. I love street art too. In NYC, it’s easy to find some super talented street artists in touristy areas like Union Square. Some of those artists aren’t that cheap but you can generally find an up and comer who will sell you something amazing for a good deal. Plus in those situations, their overhead costs are low and there’s no gallery taking a cut so outside of materials costs, it’s all profit for the artist–something to make the purchase beneficial to both parties.

  3. great ideas! i travelled a lot in college and right after. i should go back through my travel memoribilia and frame some of the fun postcards i bought.
    — jackie @ jade and oak

  4. I have a mixture of all of the above suggestions plus some really good lithographs. It is one of the benefits of a lifetime of collecting and experiences.

  5. If you have children you can always put their artwork up. Not one ever says artwork done by kids look bad. If my wifey or I did it I am sure we would get laughed at. I like buying them from street vendors as well and you can usually get great prices. Just get a nice frame and there you go.

  6. With new technology, I love how easy and affordable it is to get photos printed onto canvas. I love the look of art on canvas and now it can be very affordable.

  7. Rita P @ Digital Spikes says:

    I have a good collection of artwork done by my kids. Some creations are really cool. I have a pin board in their room which displays their work.

  8. I’ve been wanting to collect art, but I don’t want to spend much money. I’ve been checking out Etsy, but then I get overwhelmed and wonder if what I’m paying for is overpriced. I also want an eclectic collection. I haven’t been traveling much lately, but once I find the time and money, I will definitely collect art that way. That’s a great way to remember a vacation!

Share Your Thoughts