Nothing makes a room quite like a big, bold piece of art — and nothing makes a room look frumpy quite like a lonely, undersized print floating in a big expanse of white wall. But the problem, as you probably know, is that big pieces of art come with big price tags. What's a designer on a budget to do? Read on.
1. Engineering prints.
There's a reason you keep seeing these oversized photographic prints all over the internet: they look great, and they're super cheap. Go to a print shop with a photo you like, and ask for an engineering print (they're also known as architectural prints, or blueprints). You'll pay as little as $8 for a 36" by 48" print. The downside is that the quality won't be as high as a traditional photographic print — but the upside is that because of this, the image resolution won't matter as much. Joni at Lay Baby Lay made a set of inexpensive hanger bars for her large-scale print (pictured above): you can find the DIY here.
2. Get a big poster mounted on foamcore for a professional look.
Now that you're not in college anymore, having posters tacked up on the walls can seem a little sophmoric. But there's a great way to get posters to look classy: take them to a copy shop and have them mounted on foamcore boards. The prices for this will vary depending on where you live, but they should run you about $40-50 for a 36" by 36" print — much less than a framed artwork of the same size.
3. Turn an interesting piece of fabric into an artwork.
Take an interesting piece of fabric and stretch it on stretcher bars, like an artist canvas, for an inexpensive, professional-looking wall hanging. You can buy stretcher bars in different sizes at art supply shops — and if you're having trouble finding a fabric you like, Textile Arts has a great selection of Marimekko prints (like 'Tuuli', the one pictured above). Find instructions for how to stretch a canvas here.
4. Try wallpaper.
These days, it's not hard to find wallpapers that are worthy of being framed and displayed like artwork. You can hang a piece on a wall (use double sided tape if you want to be able to take it down later) and add molding to create a frame. Bam — instant oversized artwork.
5. Hang a blanket or rug.
Vintage quilts or rugs (like this boucherouite rug spotted on Bolig) often have great color and texture, and hanging one on the wall is a great way to instantly elevate your space — without breaking the bank.