When you're on the hunt for affordable art, some of the best sources to scout are the galleries and thrift stores right in your neighborhood. But if you don't live near a thriving art scene, or just prefer armchair shopping to gallery hopping, these online photo-focused print shops make buying art a snap.
Why photography? As a general rule, inexpensive, yet high-quality photography prints tend to be easier to find than affordable, masterful paintings. Luckily, the look of photography is fresh and modern, and photo prints mix well with illustrations, typography and other forms of art. As believers that art should be accessible to everyone—and that you don't have to be rich to support the arts!—we've rounded up some favorite sources that make buying art approachable, no matter if you're a first-time buyer or a seasoned collector.
Best for: Kids' rooms and nurseries
The scoop: Photographer Sharon Montrose's oeuvre is full of images of foxes, bunnies and wolf pups so innocent and charming, they almost don't appear to be real. These adorable farm or forest creatures feel right at home in a child's room or playroom, but they can also take a more sophisticated slant when hung on a richly-colored wall (such as Benjamin Moore's Caldwell Green, above).
Best for: Music lovers
The scoop: Originally a source for limited-edition photos of famous rock-'n'-rollers, Sonic Editions now sells photo prints of musicians from a wide variety of genres, as well as vintage Hollywood celebs. This is where you head when you want to build the most epic Kate Bush, Diana Ross and Dolly Parton gallery wall the world has ever seen.
Best for: Nature enthusiasts
The scoop: Inspired by the Eames' mantra, "Create the best for the most for the least," photographer Debbie Carlos offers up her beautiful images, printed using architectural print methods, at accessible prices (from $45). To get a glimpse inside the artist's life, check out her home tour here, and see how her art shines in Kate Arend's home, above, featured on The Everygirl.
Best for: Charitable collectors
The scoop: For those who want to feel good about their art purchases, Paper Collective combines art collecting with sustainability and philanthropy. Not only is all of the art certified as eco-friendly with a seal awarded by the Danish government, but 10% of each purchase is donated to an organization of the artist's choosing. The site collaborates with trendy, minimalist artists and designers, including Form Us With Love, the Swedish design firm behind the pinecone print above ($45), spotted on the blog Hviit.
Best for: Photography purists
The scoop: From masters like Helmut Newton to newcomers on the photography scene, Lumas has a diverse selection at a wide range of prices. If you fall in love with a work but can't afford the full-size version, check out the selection of mini 12-by-16-inch masterpieces ($119), including Wolfgang Uhlig's Sea #9, shown above in the Kreo Holiday Home.
Best for: Everyone!
The scoop: Following the motto, "It's Art for Everyone," 20x200's curated collection caters to both serious collectors and first-time art buyers, with prices starting at just $24. Founder Jen Bekman strives to make art unfussy and approachable, while producing high-quality prints at all price levels. When you need to take a break from all the art-browsing, check out the site's blog, which features emerging artists and awesome events.
Best for: Homes with beachy vibes
The scoop: Aerial photography is soaring in popularity right now, but if you aren't ready to spring on a piece by Gray Malin, look to up-and-comer Claudia Chloe, who also snaps her best shots while dangling out of a helicopter. Having grown up on the Jersey Shore, her prints capture the spirit of the coast. Prices start at $27 for an 8-by-10-inch print.
Best for: Scandi-loving minimalists
Cost: $ (plus $ for international shipping)
The scoop: This Australian shop is devoted to all things Scandi-style, including monochrome, statement-making art. We're particularly excited that Norsu is the exclusive international retailer of prints by photographer Vee Speers, whose beautifully eery portraits are both iconic and surprisingly affordable. The print of the girl with the crow (shown above) is just $59, plus international shipping.
Best for: Quirky collectors
The scoop: After working together in the magazine industry, Shana Faust and Alexa Mulvihill (along with their feline consultant Felix) put their styling and art directing skills to work on their own collection of original photographs. Edition 1 captures the essence of everyday items—think, vintage combs, shirt collars and colored pencils—and turns them into works of art. Fans of thrifting will love curating a gallery wall of these beautiful, time-worn collectibles.
Best for: The young, broke and fabulous
The scoop: If you live in NYC, swing by this LES shop on Essex Street to scope out their affordable prints, fabric wall hangings, sculptures, art books and objects created by young local artists. If you're not in the area, you can still find a selection of the store's photo prints in their online shop, including edgy NSFW options to shake up that blank wall in your apartment.
Best for: Scandinavian-bohemian homes (find the ultimate example here)
The scoop: An LA-based photographer whose stunning shots of interiors and architecture we've admired for years, Tessa Neustadt now has an online shop full of beaches and sunshine-washed landscapes. If you're on the lookout for art with that "ethereal glow," look no further.
Best for: Art novices
The scoop: When Joanna Goddard of Cup of Jo made over her sister Lucy's home (find the entire tear-jerking transformation here), I fell in love with the beautifully printed photos in her dining room, above, from Eventide Collective. Because almost all of the site's prints seem to play so nicely together, you can select almost any combination of pieces to build a cohesive collection. You really can't go wrong.
Best for: Outdoorsy types/nature lovers
The scoop: The photography prints found at Mammoth & Co. are the types of works you'd expect to find in an urban cabin apartment: Wild animals, closeups of tree bark, and snow-capped mountain ranges abound. The print displayed above the couch in the Brooklyn apartment above is by Troy Moth.
Best for: DIY enthusiasts and Instagrammers
The scoop: Ideal for artsy types with an Instagram account full of wall-worthy shots, Parabo Press will print your original photos in a variety of formats. Choose from fine art prints on thick archival paper, hip single-color risograph prints, and the best-looking color engineering prints we've seen (evidence above), all priced at $30 or less.