How to decorate your pad on the cheap

By: September 20, 2016

Quickly transform your apartment with cheap art

Beautiful art doesn’t have to be expensive — if, that is, you’re creative. And as a student, you can’t exactly be throwing money away on pricey pieces. So, you don’t have much of a choice but to become a thrifty art buyer. To start on the right path, try these three inexpensive art hacks:

Noodle #1 (blue)

Noodle #1 (blue) $40.00

Buy from up-and-coming artists the one-percent don’t know yet

If you’re going to conquer the world of inexpensive art, why not support local businesses and artists in the process? If you’re not a connoisseur, my unsung-artist pick of the week is Kathryn MacNaughton (or “KMAC”), a Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist who’s worked on projects for Penguin and HBC, and was recently featured as one of Elle Canada’s “5 Canadian artists you need to know.” Here’s my pick of hers, a $40-dollar gem resting on the mantel in my living room.




The First Peony

The First Peony $52

Buy cut-rate prints instead of costly originals

Going for prints rather than original artwork is the easiest way to slash your art budget. But there are thousands of graphic designers and illustrators to choose from online, all hawking prints of their best work. So let me narrow things down for you.

Hop on over to the websites of these three artists, whose prints fit every budget and modern artistic taste: Jasmine Dowling, Stephanie Sterjovski Designs and The Aestate. As you’re browsing, consider where you’ll hang the print. If it’s for a large, open living room, you may want a poster-size print. If it’s for a hallway, you may want a series of three smaller ones, especially if you like an artist’s themed collection. Here’s one of my all-time favourites from Dowling, which is perfect for the home or workspace.


Pineapple (Ebony)

Pineapple (Ebony) $5 (8.5 × 11 sample) or $190 (30 ft. roll)

Don’t underestimate the power of a wall decal

Did you ever expect wallpaper to make a comeback? Me neither. But the truth is, a well-selected and expertly applied wall decal can brighten up any room, not to mention make a dramatic statement. It’s a big commitment, though, so start small.

Try self-adhesive, removable wallpaper from designers who sell on Etsy, like Livettes. This is a great solution for renters, too. Your only job? Peel and stick.

For an even easier wallpaper hack, purchase a single panel of your favourite design and have it framed in the size of your choice — a perfect project for the DIY-er in all of us. My number-one pick comes from Rifle Paper Co., and it features metallic gold pine- apples, soft pink flowers and dark green leaves.

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