I Switched Around the Art in My Home to Save Money — Here’s Why I Love It

published May 17, 2023
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Gallery wall in art filled living space.
Credit: Erin Derby

It’s easy to associate a design upgrade with a big shopping trip. There are seemingly constant discounts available, either in-store or from your phone, and saving a few dollars here and there when adding something new to your space can feel like a win. But spending no money at all — and still feeling like your surroundings are updated — is the ultimate victory. 

Recently, while enjoying a warm spring day after a long winter, I decided that my living room could use a change as reinvigorating as this new season. I was focused specifically on sourcing new art, and my first instinct was to look for pieces online. As I browsed, though, I realized I liked the artwork I already had more than what was available to buy. 

So, I went in a different direction: I “shopped” for art that was already in my possession. It turned out to be an extremely cheap shopping spree.

Credit: Sydney Wingfield

To get started, I took all of my living room’s artwork down and placed everything on the floor. As I looked them over, I acted as if they were pieces I’d never seen before: I noticed how their colors and shapes blended together, what I liked or didn’t like about the details, and what seemed to be a running theme through them all. This helped me view my art in a new light, and I felt excited about the pieces once again.

I placed notes on which pieces I liked as-is, and which could be slightly changed for a noticeable impact. A few frames were the same size but of varying styles, so I switched around the art in them to make them feel different. I also grouped like-minded pieces together, rather than having them complement each other from opposite sides of the room. Doing this made me appreciate their similar textures and finishes, and gave me a clearer insight into my taste. It’s easy to buy something you like on impulse, without understanding what draws you to it!

Credit: Sydney Wingfield

Lastly, I moved around art I had on shelves, either by placing them in new spots or arranging them in an unfamiliar configuration. It may seem too simple to be true, but doing these incremental shifts created a new environment I was excited to spend time in again. Plus, it kept my budget in check, which is always a good thing.

If you’re eager to swap around artwork without having to break the bank, take a moment to figure out what your new vision is. Look at your art as if it’s brand-new, and then play around with the various shapes, sizes, and styles in a fresh layout. Don’t rush this activity, as it may take time to figure out a plan you can stick with for a while, and don’t be afraid to trash or donate what no longer works for you

As it turns out, you may have never needed new art after all — you likely just needed a new perspective on what you already own.