Top Ten Ideas for Frugal Wall Art

It’s true that a fresh coat of paint can add a special touch to a sterile, white wall. But then what?

Wall art can provide the extra personality that a room needs, but collections of framed art and photographs can quickly become expensive. Here’s a variety of options to help brighten different rooms in your home without straining your budget!

Support Local Artists

Local artists can provide your home with original artwork at a fraction of the cost of more well-known artists, and they often display their work at Farmer’s Markets, community gatherings or bazaars around town. If larger pieces are too expensive, choose smaller ones that will fit with complimentary works you already have. Another option is to choose prints of original paintings, which are more economical than the paintings themselves.


Posters provide a lot of personality with a little cost. I decided to decorate my office with my collection of Snoopy paraphernalia, including this poster of Snoopy as “Joe Cool.”

Framing a poster with a pre-made frame costs less than twenty dollars, making it an affordable option for personalizing your room decor. If you have a room with a certain theme, choose and prominently feature posters that enhance that theme and your subsequent enjoyment.

Your Kids’ Art Gallery

My kids bring home a variety of art projects during the school year, and creating an art gallery on an expanse of wall shows everyone how proud I am of their creations.

Look around local thrift stores or craft stores for cheap but durable frames and use them for your favorite pieces of art from the school year. If you’d like to explore art over the summer break, introduce your kids to different methods, materials and mediums, for example collage, patterns, watercolor, clay, and oil pastels. Use different kinds and colors of paper and frame the works of art. Hang these at your child’s eye level, rotating the pieces every couple of weeks or with the seasons.

Scrapbook Squares

A friend of mine created an elegant and economical piece of art that now occupies one of her dining room walls, and it was really simple to create. Choose a variety of 12″x12″ scrapbook sheets that compliment the theme or decor of your room. Adhere each one of these to 12″x12″ pieces of styrofoam and let them set. Attach 1″ ribbon to the outside edges of the square in a desired color, and the squares are ready to hang. I’ve seen these squares in arrangements of nine, but you can be as creative as you want!


When my husband and I got married, my grandmother’s gift to us was a handmade wedding-ring quilt. We’ve been married fifteen years, and to this day I’ve not been able to use the quilt on a bed. However, I am proud to display this work of art on a wide wall, where I can appreciate it on a daily basis. Another option, especially for a nursery, is to hang the hand-made baby blankets you receive when your child is born as wall decorations.

Children’s Books

Books shelved in different patterns and directions make colorful and interesting art displays. Children’s picture books are filled with timeless stories and beautiful illustrations. Repurpose old shelving or find cheap shelves at a local thrift store and paint them. Hang them on the wall at your kids’ eye level, and display the picture books. At this height, they will be easy to access and everyone can appreciate the artwork inside of them without having to tear out any pages


Use the first letter of your family’s last name, and search out different formats of that letter in a variety of stores. I have found wooden, metal and paper-mache letters that are easily hung in a collection or added to an existing collection of wall art. Framed or mounted scrapbook paper cut into your desired letter would also work.

Visual Growth Chart

This is by far my favorite wall art collection. Repurposing or buying frames at a local thrift store, I create a visual growth chart of my kids using pictures of them as they’ve grown over the years. Included for each child is a picture of them during the first month, first year and one picture during each year after that. An easy way to start is to use extra school portraits and build the collection from there. Friends, family and your kids will get a kick out of this display!


Travel brochures, posters and ticket stubs make great wall art, especially when partnered with a low-cost world map. Hang the map on the wall, and use push pins to mark where you’ve been. Hang the souvenirs around the map, and connect the souvenirs and push pins with pieces of string, making an interactive piece of art.


Decopauge is fun and limited only by our creativity. You can use it with a variety of materials, including stretched canvas, scrapbook paper, glass jars and pressed flowers. Use these materials with a clear-drying adhesive like modpodge to create a variety of artistic pieces to display!

Wall art is a fun, inexpensive way to tastefully and frugally decorate your home!

Kelly Wilson is a busy mother, freelance writer and author of Live Cheap and Free! Strategies to Thrive in Tough Economic Times. You can read more about her and how to save money at

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