Home Improvement: Artwork

Now that your walls are painted, let’s take them one step further. If you’re a minimalist and prefer the old addage of “less is more” then it’s perfectly fine to leave your wall artwork free. There’s something to be said for “white (or colored) space”. But adding a touch of art here and there definitely adds charm to any room. Whether original, screen printed, hand drawn, hand sewn, or made by a child, art is unique and speaks differently to each of us.

Today we’ll talk about Purchased ARTWORK.
If you’re joining us for the first time, check out our HOME IMPROVEMENT series for previous posts.

After painting Lucy’s room (you can see her entire Room Makeover HERE), I set out to find just the right art for her walls. I planned to make something myself but I also wanted to wrangle in other’s creativity. Sometimes I get stuck in the same creative mind-set so it’s nice to see art through different eyes.

I picked artwork from two different sites. When I saw the images, I immediately fell in love and knew they’d be perfect in Lucy’s room.

First up…. I heart California and I heart Texas printed images. Lucy has spent 3/4 of her life in Calif and 1/4 in Texas. So the 8×10 images are really perfect. Hung in white IKEA frames, they welcome you as you walk into the room.
and they come from the very cool graphic design shop:
q.a. DESIGN has a simple, colorful, and clever take on the U.S. The shop is filled with maps from various states, with a simple heart over the state capitol (or your favorite city). How cool would it be to decorate an entire bedroom with all these colorful maps?
Wonder if you’re on the map? Click over and check.

We’ve flown back and forth from Texas to California now and Lucy’s starting to understand map geography and what it means when states are far away from each other. She easily recognizes both state shapes and loves to call out their names when she sees it. So aside from being cool, cute, and full of stripes, the art is educational as well.
Since I had already chosen Lucy’s room colors, I asked Jenna if she would customize my maps to match the room and she was very accommodating. We even went back and forth a few times to find just the right shade of yellow. Many thanks Jenna. You were a pleasure to work with!
Jenna also does custom design work for blogs. You’ll find her impressive portfolio on the q.a. blog.
Next up….London Paper Cut Map.
In the back corner you’ll spot a very clever city map printed in gray and white.
Lucy’s never been to London but the artwork was too cool to pass up and the colors worked perfect for the room. So I framed it in a very lightweight plastic frame from IKEA, spray painted black.
The print would look much nicer in a higher-quality frame. But I’ve spent most of my life in earthquake-ridden California and it doesn’t seem right to hang a heavy object over someone’s head. If the art were ever to fall off the wall, I can rest easier knowing it’s lightweight and less of a hazard to my sleeping beauty.
This fabulous map comes from the charming shop:
Everything they do is marvelous and their SHOP selection is growing all the time.

The London map above is created by a very intricate process called Mat Cutting. Julie starts with a blank mat sheet, creates her design concept, and then (pain-stakingly) cuts out all those little pieces from the mat. If you’ve ever cut with a craft knife, you know the patience it requires.

When she’s done, prints are created from the paper cuts. The designs are clever and colorful. And you’ll find prints for a few cities around the world (in a few colors for each):
Famille Summberbelle’s latest is a World Map. Totally cool. It would look great in a boy’s room or a family living room area.
And if maps aren’t your thing, the shop has a variety of other artwork too. Family Trees, Learn for Fun prints, ribbon tape……
even party decor!
Fammille Summerbelle was very easy to work with. My print showed up safe and sound all the way from London and was wrapped up pretty with a bow and postcard. Doesn’t get better than that!
Okay, now that I’ve shared my art finds let’s talk about picking artwork for YOU.

When looking for ART, here are some things to think about:
* Who hangs out in this room? Is it a bedroom for one person or is it a room where the whole family will be spending time. Choose something that fits the group majority.
* Is it age appropriate? It’s fun to decorate a baby’s room with young images and educational artwork. If you want the room to grown with your child, however, find art that will still work for them a few years down the road.
* Will the artwork need framing? Most online art is sold in standard sizes, similar to frame sizes in the store. However, if you find something unusual, it may need a custom-size frame or a custom-cut mat. Mat cutting isn’t too difficult to do on your own but framing is usually done by a professional and can be pricey.
* Prints vs. Original art. Original artwork can be costly because……it’s original! And there’s nothing wrong with paying a pretty penny for that. I fully support it! Most artists, however, create prints from their original work and sell these prints in their shop for a fraction of the cost. They are often printed on high quality paper and shipped in sturdy envelopes.
* Art vs. Decal. There’s a growing trend toward decal artwork for the home. These are large images made of vinyl that you can stick directly on to your walls and remove whenever you need to (without leaving sticky residue). Many online shops carry a variety of images. You’ll find some here, here, and here.

Of course, where do you find interesting art?
Sites like Big Cartel and etsy make it easy for you to type in a word search and browse the incredible art available from thousands of shops. Be specific or vague with your keywords and see what pops up, such as “owl print” vs “kids art”. Or add a color to your search, “yellow kitchen art” and you’ll find a variety of lovely images.

A few online art shops I like:
Oh Dier
Art O Crat
Laura Amiss
darling clementine
Art and Philanthropy
Type Posters
Pop Pop Portraits
Studio Mela
Robert Ryan
Grace Hester Designs
Sarah Jane Studios
Persimmon and Pink
Famille Summerbelle
q.a. Designs

Of course there are TONS of other inspirational art shops. So if you have a favorite, add it to the comments and I’ll check it out!

And we haven’t even touched on creating artwork yourself. But we’ll save that for another post…
Until then, happy art shopping!

  1. Would LoVE to order a print or two for the states we’ve left a bit of our heart in. Any way to contact Jenna?

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