If you assume you can't afford to deck the walls in your apartment, you may just need to think outside the art gallery. Craft supply stores, thrift shops and your own closet seem like unlikely places to find wall decor, but all it takes to transform common objects into art is a fresh frame of mind—and some inexpensive frames.
A handmade textile is a work of art whether you hang it on the wall or not, so go ahead and put a favorite fabric in a frame. The block-printed fabric above was handmade in India and can be bought on Loomology, or you can DIY your own by choosing a fabric and displaying it in a lucite frame.
Don't throw away last year's calendar—repurpose the pages into 12 pieces of free art. Choose calendar pages with beautiful designs, like the Rifle Paper Co. illustrations above from The Creativity Exchange, found via BHG.
Kate received the framed scarf above as a gift, but the idea is inspiring us to DIY our own. Use a scarf you already own, or search for colorful silk scarves at a local thrift store.
If you find a wallpaper pattern you love but don't want to pay for enough rolls to cover an entire room, buy just enough to fill a large frame. The blue palm print above comes from House of Hackney and was featured in Homes & Gardens and found on Desire to Inspire. For the easiest way to frame the panel, watch our video tutorial.
Myriam and Sebastian report that their proudest DIY was framing all of the art in their Montreal rental, including the set of flags resting on a high shelf in their living room. Whether you decide to display a series of small nautical flags or one large national flag, this unexpected art can be used for both gallery walls and big statement pieces.
Album art may not have originally been designed to hang up on a wall, but once you see their potential, you'll never want to take them down. If you already own the records, pair them with a 12-by-12-inch frame, such as the one above from Urban Outfitters, or craft your own following the how-to on Instructables.
Once architectural blueprints are done serving a practical function, you can still keep them around for decorative reasons. In Chris and Erin's farmhouse in Massachusetts, two framed blueprints bring color to the downstairs living room.
When One Kings Lane asked designer and framing expert Elizabeth Pyne for help with a gallery wall, she recommended filling out a small collection of original New Yorker covers with reproductions and covers from other magazines. By using coordinated frames, Elizabeth built a sophisticated, grown-up take on the dorm room wall adorned with magazine clippings.
A triptych of hand-marbled wrapping paper is an impressive display in this living room by House & Garden, and each sheet costs less than 10 bucks. To make your own, search the papers for sale at Paper Source, Rifle Paper Co. and Norman's Printery.
While maps are a relatively popular alternative to traditional wall decor, this Scandinavian apartment from Stadshem featured on Decordots takes it one step further by combining different map styles, such as political maps, physical maps and subway maps.
For all of these unexpected artworks, frames are what elevate the everyday finds into wall decor. To make an affordable display, search our favorite sources for inexpensive frames.