Decorating with Your Own Art


Maybe you don’t have the budget to buy lots of well-recognized art for your walls, or perhaps you’re just the artistic type who would rather try to decorate your house on your own. Whatever the case, there are lots of options available for the woman who wants to spice up her pad with her original artwork, and even if you think you’re not an artist, you might surprise yourself at just how much you can do.

Photographs are a fantastically easy starting point from which you can head down a variety of artistic roads. One of my favorite things to do is to take an old, grainy snapshot portrait, perhaps of a young nephew playing on the beach or of two teenagers holding hands, scan it in at the absolute highest resolution possible (i.e. make it really gigantic), and then crop it down so that only a small part of the photo remains. When you’re done, you’ll have a big ultra close-up photo of just a smile, or just two hands intertwined, or whatever. You can then send away for a large print of your cropped photo (there are lots of online print services that will make single large prints for very little cost), and when it arrives you’ll be shocked at how cool it looks to have these extreme larger-than-life snippets of scenes on your wall. People will want to examine them in detail, and wonder at the bigger context behind the details.

Another fun photo project is to take a high-resolution photo (you’ll have to experiment with which one works best, try a few different ones), use your photo editing application to crop it into a perfect square, and then cut the square photo into 9 equal parts (three rows of three, as it were). Save each of the little square sections as a separate file, and upload those to be printed on 12-inch (30-cm) square paper. When the prints arrive, arrange them in the correct order on the wall, with an inch or two of space between all the sections. When you stand back, it creates a fantastic windowed effect. You can do this with whatever kind of photo you want, but in my experience it works best with black-and-white pictures, especially if the frames you choose for the prints have a simple black border. It makes a very striking and dramatic impression, especially the first time people see it.

If photography’s not really your idea of decor, there are plenty of other things you can do. Sketches or drawings can of course be fantastic, but if you’re not that great at visual art, you can opt for something a little more structured, involving the manipulation of wall color. Stencils kind of have a bad reputation because historically they have been excruciatingly cute and curly, but these days most craft stores carry an array of stencils with geometric or abstract shapes. You can also buy sheets of plastic and make your own stencils, if you have a particular type of shape in mind. It doesn’t have to look cheesy or “craftsy,” and in fact, if you spend some time planning your design, you can make a fantastically complex feature wall that will amaze people when they see it. I have seen everything from checkerboard patterns to ornate forests of painted paisley, and they always stand out as being fresh and original.

Decorating your home can be expensive, but you can help keep costs down by doing the wall accents yourself. Not only will you save money, but in the end you’ll have a house reflective of your personal style, full of art you created with your own hands. You’ll never have to worry about having the same boring prints that everyone else has, and every time you see your work, you’ll be reminded of how you put your creativity to good use, which is a wonderful feeling.

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