Art for the Apt

Written by: Meryl

It’s hard to believe but in the last two years I have moved four times (ugh). We moved from Colorado back to the east coast in the fall of 2013, stayed for a few months in CT (with some friends parents), a year in Brooklyn, moved back out to an apartment in the burbs for about 7 months, and now we live in Chicago! What this has meant is that despite a short stint at my parents house in two years I have attempted to decorate 3 apartments. As we “matured” and we have moved away from hand me down furniture and Ikea dominated design I have found that it is challenging to strike the fine balance in a home where things are still affordable but look styled and complete. One of the best ways I have found to combat this issue is through using art. When I first started to think about what to put on our walls I was totally overwhelmed, should I invest in a really great piece that makes a statement? Do I have a few grand lying around to just do that? Sadly, no. So I was forced to get creative. Here are the tricks I have picked up to find (and frame!) great art in my home for a fair price and a sophisticated style that you don’t mind rotating out if your taste or design of your home changes!

  1. Consignment Shops: Home Consignment shops have some of the most affordable classic art there is. Looking for a hunting scene for your husband’s office? They will have it. Want some coral/botanical prints for your bathroom- guaranteed to be there. The additional upside to buying this style of art at consignment shops vs flipping through botanical prints at the flea market is that they are already framed, and usually with a custom frame job. I have two go to places in CT: Consign It and United Housewreckers and am really looking forward to discovering some new hidden gems in Chicago.
    nate-berkus
  2. Independent Custom Stationery Companies: I know this sounds crazy but so many of these talented stationery/invitation designers are beautiful illustrators and artists to boot! I recently discovered Our Heiday and bought three of Patricia Shen’s houseplant prints for our bedroom. I framed them with a simple white frame and am in love with the triptych we now have over our bed! My dear friend Lana Effron of Lana’s Shop who is also a successful stationery and invitation designer (who has been featured in Martha Stewart Weddings and many other venerable sites for her impressive and beautiful creations) also has a painting section you can order prints from or draw inspiration for a custom print from Lana herself! lana
  3. West Elm: No, I am not suggesting that you buy one of the run of the mill prints that they offer at West Elm but I am suggested you check out the artists behind some of their featured art. Many of them are doing a lot of cool stuff like Jenny Kiker of Living Pattern.IMG_7246
  4. Homemade Art: Yes, it is true- the girl who cannot paint her own nails has paintings of her own creation hanging in her apartment. With a glass of wine and a little inspiration from the latest trends in botanics or colors you can easily watercolor your way into an AI Freeman frame and call it art! It is a great way to get the exact colors you want to pull from your space onto your walls. See pics below but don’t judge too harshly- as I mentioned there was wine involved…  FullSizeRender (54)
  5. It’s all about the framing: Whenever I am traveling I always seem to come home with at least one print or photo that is worth framing. Typically I would wait until it was a special occasion and get it custom framed at the tune of around $300. This can be a great way to go about it and make sure you have the exact right look. However it is pricy and there are other options. AI Friedman has by far the largest selection of frame sizes and styles in a physical store, they also have a variety of pre-cut mats so you can create a more custom look. I am also obsessed with Framebridge– a new startup that will custom frame any of your favorite frameables for $39-149 depending on size.corner


Once I got started I found there are endless ways to find beautiful images to hang on your walls. I would love to hear how you have perfected your latest gallery wall or reading nook! 

One response

  1. Love this! And I know Jenny of Living Pattern! She lives around the corner from us in West Palm Beach and I recently purchased one of her original watercolors—she’s SO talented!

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